No jail for medical marijuana grower

Kevin Martin, Calgary Sun (Canada)

Growing pot for medical marijuana crusader Grant Krieger won’t mean jail for a former Calgary man, a judge ruled today.

Justice Beth Hughes agreed with defence lawyer Adriano Iovinelli a period behind bars wasn’t necessary for Mark James Maki’s involvement with the Compassion Club.

“Mr. Maki’s motivation for these offences, while certainly against the law and misguided, were to assist the Compassion Club and it’s members,” Hughes said.

The Queen’s Bench judge said Maki’s motivation for growing two large marijuana crops wasn’t the usual greed driving most illicit cultivators.

“Financial gain and quick profit is one of the primary factors ... for deterrence and denunciation in these types of cases.”

Crown prosecutor Scott Couper had sought a jail term of just under two years because of the size of Maki’s operation and other aggravating factors.

The 577 plants seized in raids in October, 2001, and February, 2002, had a value of about $600,000 to $800,000, and a loaded sawed off shotgun was found in Maki’s home.

Couper also said at the time Maki was supplying drugs to Krieger’s foundation, there were legitimate means to get government approval to purchase and grow marijuana.

But the regulations in place at the time of Maki’s arrest forced those who needed medical marijuana to turn to illegal means to obtain it, Iovinelli said.

He noted while possessing it and growing it was permitted, the government didn’t provide a way to purchase either the drug, or seeds.

“Someone ... has to break the law — they have to get the seed and they had to purchased it from someone,” Iovinelli said of the law at the time.

Maki, 43, of Coquitlam, B.C., pleaded guilty to two charges of cultivating marijuana and one of careless storage of a firearm.

Hughes placed him in on house arrest for a year, followed by a curfew for another 12 months.