Police Recommend Drug Trafficking Charges for B.C. Compassion Club Members

The RCMP raid – the third in a decade – came late Friday afternoon, but two members of the North Island Compassion Club deny police allegations that the Courtenay-based marijuana dispensary is a front for illegal drug dealing.

Bill Myers and Ernie Yacub, the club’s long-time manager, were arrested on the weekend and police have recommended they be charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking marijuana. Both deny the allegations, saying the club is strictly for users of medical marijuana.

“There is absolutely no illegal drug dealing going on, none, and I can verify that,” said Mr. Myers, 56. “We dispense medical marijuana to people who really need it, and both Ernie and I spend enough time with everybody to know if they’re coming in on a straight edge.”

RCMP executed a search warrant on the society’s Sixth Street headquarters around 4 p.m. Friday, arresting Mr. Yacub, Mr. Myers and two other club members who were questioned and released without charges.

Police seized several pounds of dried marijuana, as well as unspecified quantities of cookies, hashish and cash.

“We recognize there are conflicting views on the medicinal value of marijuana but it remains illegal to sell in the manner in which they were conducting business,” said Comox Valley RCMP Constable Tammy Douglas.

The investigation was triggered by complaints “from neighbours, from Crime Stoppers and from the city,” Constable Douglas said, noting that RCMP have raided the club on two previous occasions in its 10-year history.

In 2006, the club’s founder, Edith Noreen Evers, was charged when police seized and destroyed dozens of pot plants growing on her acreage in Black Creek, south of Campbell River.

Rather than plead guilty and accept a modest fine as punishment, Ms. Evers launched a lengthy legal battle and spent five months in custody before she was sentenced to time served and released last April.

Mr. Yacub, who has managed the club’s affairs for seven years, said relations with the community and the police have been trouble-free since the arrest of Ms. Evers. The club only distributes marijuana to people with applicable conditions whose diagnosis has been confirmed by a doctor, he said.

The North Island Compassion Club has retained Mill Bay lawyer Kirk Tousaw, who represented two members of the Vancouver Island Compassion Club after their 2004 arrest for marijuana trafficking.

In 2009, after dragging through the legal system for five years, the B.C. Supreme Court granted the accused in that case an unconditional discharge.

Mr. Tousaw predicted a similar result for Mr. Yacub and Mr. Myers.

“There’s almost a decade of case law now, all standing for the proposition that bona fide medical marijuana producers and distributors ought to be granted full discharge,” Mr. Tousaw said.

The North Island Compassion Club’s storefront location has been closed until further notice, but Mr. Yacub said legal troubles or not, he and other members remain determined to serve the club’s clients.

– Article from The Globe and Mail.


Compassion Club raided

Spencer Anderson, Comox Valley Echo

The North Island Compassion club, a medical marijuana group, was busted by Comox Valley RCMP last week.

On Friday, police executed a search warrant on the club’s headquarters on Sixth Street in Courtenay.

They seized several pounds of marijuana, and arrested four people. RCMP spokeswoman Const. Tammy Douglas confirmed two were charged and released on a promise to appear in court.

“Police are concerned the club has become a front for marijuana dealing,” said Douglas in a statement. “We recognize there are conflicting views on the medicinal value of marijuana but it remains illegal to sell in the manner in which they were conducting business.”

Ernie Yacub is a director for the club and claims to be one of the two persons charged.

He said the bust shook up a lot of his fellow club members, many of whom he said are already nervous when it comes to getting hold of medicinal marijuana.

“We’re talking about people who are sick in the first place, who are having all kinds of similar issues anyway, people who are afraid to talk to their doctors about marijuana … ,” said Yacub. “… So here we have a legal program where some people can access [medical marijuana]while the rest of us are criminalized, and the access is denied.”

The Compassion Club has been operating for 10 years and has been at its current location for the last seven. Before that, Yacub said the club was dispensing marijuana at the train station.

He said police were civil and respectful during the bust on Friday but added, “If there’s something they don’t like about our operation, they can talk to us, instead of coming in here and taking all our medicine…”

Yacub said the club’s members – there are 200, by his estimate – depend on the marijuana for pain relief. Yacub himself suffers from spinal stenosis.

“Imagine if the cops raided the only pharmacy in town and took everything. That’s what it is for some of our members. Many of them are already on pharmaceuticals, but they also use [marijuana], because it works.”

– Article from Canada.com.

Comments

17 Comments

  1. Me on

    you sir are an idiot … go smoke your ciggys & drink your beer

  2. Anonymous on

    You are the problem that occurs when people keep doing the same things and expect things to get better. If it were for you alcohol would be illegal and pot would be legal because that was the law within many peoples life time that are still alive today. This has nothing to do with criminal behaviour nor with medical issues. Those are just red herrings. Everyone who uses marijuana uses it to achieve a better over all feeling. This is their choice. Why are we allowed to choose to use destructive products such as alcohol and tobacco, which are two known products linked directly to premature death? Why does the store owner who sells cigarettes to a person dieing of cancer or alcohol to someone whom is going to drive drunk and kill some innocent victim have a legal job while the person who is dispensing cannibus that makes someone feel better is a criminal? To even the most simple minded the hypocracy screams out. Also how can it be justified that a compassion club that has been in operation for ten years is busted while the dispensary is on a growth curve opening new outlets as well as many other clubs across the province allowed to function in the exact same way that north island was? In Ontario, Quebec and the North several clubs have been shut down while others are opening in BC. This hypocracy can only lead to an extremely dangerous situation when on mass the public looses all respect and confidence in the governments ability to deliver a fair and just legal system. This will only lead to perpetuate more revenue losses for the government as the MMAR program fails miserably and organized crime takes control of our economy. It would also add a whole lot of lawyers to the EI list and I assume that there lies the problem as the legal proffession likes to look after their own. LEGALIZE IT YOU MORON.

  3. JFulPR on

    The North Island Passion Club situation is that it should be dealt with the same way any other trafficking charge would be dealt with. If a pharmacy was selling Oxycontin illegally, the police would have the right to confiscate the drugs and charge the pharmacist(s) with trafficking. Why should it be any different with marijuana?
    If police have enough evidence to warrant a search of the premises, there’s clearly reason to investigate. Prescriptions are given for a reason, to control the sale of drugs.
    If Bill Myers and Ernie Yacub have nothing to hide, the evidence will show that. The defendants state that they “can verify that no illegal drug dealing is going on.” If the allegations are proven to be false, Myers and Yacub should have their product returned to them and business should resume as usual.

  4. Anonymous on

    I don’t think it is fair for home residents to pay for a home inspection when it’s not actually needed for the right reasons. I do not agree with marijuana growers but I don’t think it is right to scam them. If police have a “feeling” that someone is growing marijuana, they should do whatever it takes to bust the growers themselves. If the police suspect something they shouldn’t wait by the curb and let others do their job. If they have enough evidence on marijuana growers then that should be enough to get a warrant and bust the growers themselves. They shouldn’t scam those individuals into using home inspector services for the wrong reasons. I feel as though this home invasion is violating civil rights. “Surrey has collected $5.3-million in fees from the inspection”, that is just wrong. It is sad that they are admitting to this act and police services should be ashamed of the way they are approaching this situation.

  5. Jeff Roach on

    If it is true that the dispensary is only being used by those who have prescriptions for medical marijuana, then it is completely unreasonable for police to press charges against the owners, and shut down their business. As long as the business is distributing the marijuana to those who are in need, there are well within their rights. However, if the police can prove that they are selling to the general public, then it can be pursued as a trafficking charge.
    Having been arrested and put through the legal process in the past, it is unfair for the police to be able to arrest and charge the business owners once again. If they were charged and released once before, a precedent should have been set, and there should be no reason for the business to be shut down for a third time.

  6. S.Ramm on

    I believe that if Mr. Myers and Mr. Yacub are innocent it will be proven during their trial. Although many people use marijuana medicinally, only a handful have a prescription from their doctor. When someone sells, or purchases marijuana without license to do so it is illegal.

    Although the defendants are licensed to sell the product, they are only supposed to be doing so to those who have a referral from their doctor.

    However, I do not believe that the RCMP should have removed all of the marijuana from the store as there are people who do actually have a prescription and the store is licensed to sell it under specific circumstances.

    I think more than likely the two men arrested will probably receive little to no repercussions.

  7. ProfessorSnapesPR on

    Chances are the alleged complaints the raid was based off of police sources which do not tend to be the most reliable and are based on suspicion.
    Of course there’s always the chance that the complaints were real, but held by people who’s political ideals are in opposition of any dispensary of marijuana.
    I feel that people need to get past seeing this as a “touchy subject” as weed is going to be distributed regardless of whether or not they raid LICENSED VENDORS of medicinal marijuana or Mexican’s basements. Just as the legalization of marijuana brings about many positive points that not all consider. All these raids serve to do is be unproductive for the Canadian economy, especially in terms of promoting an honest local business.
    Good input though RebC, I definitely agree with your final statement.

  8. RebCPublicRelations on

    I feel strongly that the police should not have raided that North Island Compassion Club. The raid was triggered by complaints from the neighborhood which then launched an investigation. There was no evidence other than allegations that the marijuana dispensary was dealing marijuana illegally. The owners of the club, Bill Myers and Ernie Yacub, were even brought in for questioning and released.
    Although this topic is a touchy subject, the law is simple; if there is no hard evidence there should be no bust. There should be no charges here unless the police can find concrete evidence that the owners were selling illegally. Until then, Myers and Yacub should be allowed to set up shop, given back their products and continue helping patients in need in the legal manner they have been practicing.

  9. Anonymous on

    ? You okay buddy?

  10. Troy Campbell on

    Lets face it no patient should have to deal with the mmar program although I am fully licenced myself I can attest to the stupidity of this program especially when its administrated by a politicial party who seeks mandatory minimums for 5 plants but at the same time if a patient such as myself has his Dr lower his prescription the medical marijuana access division wont process the application till the time of renewal which for me is in august but marijuana is scheduled higher then opiates and if you are on opiates and your Dr lowers your script from 3 40mg per day to 2 40mg per day then you are supposed to return the excess to the pharmacy or the Dr so when health canada wont even process our licences as efficently as a corner pharmacy why should we have to deal with them the truth is the power to precribe marijuana is with the DR’s if they say yes HC cannot say no so untill DR’s can issue you your script directly for marijuana and this allows you to start growing and using right away like any other script as well as be able to select from several strains at pharmacy then compassion clubs should be let go with all charges dropped.

  11. Anonymous on

    Screw you Bravo. It is terrible that the RCMP raided a compassion center.
    Furthermore, Cannabis should be free for all to grow. I will never buy cannabis. My aim is to put the real criminals out of business by refusing to pay into the illegal distribution scene.

  12. Anonymous on

    The law that allows or selects that the quality of one person’s life can be enhanced by consumption of marijuana over another person who choses to enhance the quality of their life could be a criminal and face incarceration? Or if the same government that issued a license as a medical marijuana exemption could through bureaucratic blunder fail to renew that license in due time, find that person guilty of breaking a law. It would seem that declassifying marijuana, and licensing it for legal distribution, and taxing the retail sale per gram, would just about take care of every bitch the right wing has? Would the rest of us lefty kooks agree?

  13. Dave on

    You’re just a bully among bullies. No more no less but a bully none-the-less. As you know, we will prosecute the prosecutors so if you’re not ashamed step forward and be counted for the prosecuting bully that you are!

  14. Anonymous on

    Are you familiar with the inner workings of compassion clubs? If not then don’t comment like you do.In all likelihood you are absolutely ignorant concerning both this case and the industry on Vancouver Island. Oh you’ve read 2 news articles, you must an expert on the case. Some people actually know what is going on let them do the explaining smart guy.

  15. B on

    Umm, did you actually read the articles? Neither mentions them selling marijuana to people without prescriptions. Maybe you’re aware of stories with more details on the case, but neither of the articles presented here even alleged they were selling to people without prescriptions. Also, if you’re going to take this stance, you should be aware that police frequently entrap compassion club owners. There have been multiple cases of police going to legitimate doctors, lying to get legitimate prescriptions, and then using those prescriptions to get marijuana. This is illegal, but the cops are the ones breaking the law, not the doctors or compassion clubs. When the cops set someone up like this, it’s called doctor shopping, and in the states is a felony. In all likelihood, if the cops even have any actual evidence in this case, they will call some narc who went in with a prescription obtained under false pretenses to buy marijuana. Evidence like this should never even be admitted at trial, unless it’s to show how corrupt the cops are.

  16. Anonymous on

    bravo,,,and i hope they do go to jail for a long time. I would be on their side,,the north island compassion clubs side if they were a legitimate compassion club. They were doin illegal activities by selling marijuana to people who were not in possesion of a legal perscription from a recognized doctor. They were acting as judge and jury deciding themselves who was in need of this marijuana,,,and that is why they were charged. By being so careless and unprofessional they are giving all the other compassion clubs in the area,,,,the ones who only sell to those with prescriptions,,,,a bad name. So in fact they were illegally trafficing marijuana and they should be charged to the full extent of the law.

  17. Anonymous on

    bravo,,,and i hope they do go to jail for a long time. I would be on their side,,the north island compassion clubs side if they were a legitimate compassion club. They were doin illegal activities by selling marijuana to people who were not in possesion of a legal perscription from a recognized doctor. They were acting as judge and jury deciding themselves who was in need of this marijuana,,,and that is why they were charged. By being so careless and unprofessional they are giving all the other compassion clubs in the area,,,,the ones who only sell to those with prescriptions,,,,a bad name. So in fact they were illegally trafficing marijuana and they should be charged to the full extent of the law.