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Penhold pot plans may go up in smoke

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Alberta's chances of starting a multi-billion-dollar, legal dope-growing
business are about to go up in smoke, according to an Innisfail businessman
who says he will likely have to take his vision to Nova Scotia.

After months of trying to secure growing space in the unused 77,000
square-foot Cold war-era "Diefenbunker" bomb shelter near Red Deer, Loren
Wiberg is no closer to convincing the federal government officials his plan
is sound but said he has been welcomed with open arms by the owners of a
similar bunker on the East Coast.

"Our number one goal is to get the Penhold Diefenbunker but we weren't
going to put all our eggs in one bunker, so to speak," Wiberg said Friday.

Wiberg's XYZ Corp. is one of about five Canadian firms in the running for
a $5-million government contract to grow more than 1,800 kilograms of
top-quality marijuana for research and people with permission to smoke it
for medical reasons.

He claims Canada's Diefenbunkers are the best and most secure locations to
set up a hydroponic pot factories but has been told he cannot buy or lease
the Penhold bunker, south of Red Deer, which is scheduled for demolition.

"I'm really surprised there hasn't been more public outcry on this," Wiberg

"The government is looking at spending $2 million to knock it down while
I'm offering them $431,000 to buy it. It just doesn't seem like best use of
tax money."

The government has staunchly denied Wiberg's request, saying private
individuals should not own the Diefenbunker because it could be made into
an impenetrable fortress if it fell into the wrong hands, such as an outlaw
motorcycle gang.

In the meantime, Wiberg has reached an agreement with the private owners of
the Diefenbunker in Debert, N.S. to buy or lease the bunker if his company
is chosen for the contract.

However, he said he would like to remain in Alberta and set up,
"joint-ventures" with local universities and research councils to develop
new pot-based medicines and supply an estimated half-million
government-sanctioned pot smokers with weed.

"I would love to set up in this bunker. It's close to my home and I've got
people with expertise lined up and ready to go."

He said he is planning to appear before Red Deer County council on Tuesday
to contest the government's application for a development permit until the
contract is awarded at the end of December.

Newshawk: daystar1@home.com
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Contact: letters@theherald.southam.ca
Pubdate: Saturday, October 14, 2000
Author: Grady Semmens

CRRH is working to regulate and tax the sale of cannabis to adults like
alcohol, allow doctors to recommend cannabis through pharmacies and restore
the unregulated production of industrial hemp.

*Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp*
mail: CRRH ; P.O. Box 86741 ; Portland, OR 97286 USA
email: crrh@crrh.org
phone: (503) 235-4606
fax: (503) 235-0120
web: CRRH - Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp