Marijuana and magic mushroom charges against Holy Smoke hemp store owners Dustin Cantwell, Alan Middlemiss and Paul DeFelice were the city of Nelson’s last chance to shut down their store. The city’s attempt to raise their business licence fee to almost 10 times had failed, but charges against the three partners could have been grounds for the city to revoke their licence altogether.
On April 16, the three appeared in court to face music. The music was sweet. Justice Mark Takahashi ruled that the search warrant police had obtained to raid the store was invalid, condemning the arresting officers for “disregard of the Charter [of Rights and Freedoms],” and a “cavalier attitude towards the laws of arrest and search.”
“Officer Grant discovered the drugs.” wrote Takahashi in his ruling, “The determination that Grant is a reliable witness is a precondition to finding that the drugs were found ‘in plain sight’. I cannot make that determination ? the police cannot claim the benefit of good faith.”
On April 23, the charges against Cantwell, Middlemiss and DeFelice were dropped. It is believed unlikely that the prosecution will appeal the ruling. Holy Smoke’s is now trying to retrieve money and pipes stolen by police during their illegal raid.
? David Malmo-Levine can be reached care of the Holy Smoke Culture Shop.