Medical Pot Shop Owner Slams Police

Dispensary proprietor angry after RCMP seize four kilograms of marijuana intended for the sick.

Photo by Les BazsoPhoto by Les BazsoThe owner of a medical marijuana dispensary in Langley City is crying foul over a police raid which confiscated about four kilograms of weed for sick people.

Randy Caine, who once challenged the country's marijuana statutes all the way up to the Supreme Court, says helping people with chronic pain should not be a criminal offence.

"If my greatest fault was being overly helpful to sick people, is that a criminal offence?" Caine said Friday.

"I have been transparent about medical assistance with the authorities from the start. I had no idea they were this concerned. I was blindsided," said Caine.

Langley RCMP say five police officers wearing bulletproof jackets executed a search warrant on July 19 after receiving "numerous" complaints.

Cst. Jillian Roberts said up to four kilograms of marijuana was seized, as well as brownies and cookies.

She said the dispensary is not legally authorized by any authority or legislation in Canada.

Caine, meanwhile, said he has legitimacy - a licence issued by Health Canada. The country's top health regulator has issued 10,000 medical marijuana licences.

But Caine admits he was distributing to some 200 patients even though his licence only permitted two.

He justified the difference on the basis of a 2009 B.C. Supreme Court ruling from Madam Justice M. Marvyn Koenigsberg concerning a case about patients' rights.

Koenigsberg struck down a section of law which said, in effect, that if you're a designated grower, growing the drug for an authorized person, you can only grow for that single person.

Dispensary manager Carol Gwilt admitted the relevant laws are hazy.

"Medical marijuana is a grey market, but it's a necessary market," she said. "We're a small business operated as a community-based model."

Caine said his marijuana is obtained from small private growers who are not connected with the huge, illegal, gang-based trade in B.C.

He said clients come by appointment only and must have a doctor's recommendation in writing.

He was not granted a business licence by city hall for the tidy-looking premises, which are located on the second floor of a commercial building in the 20200 block of Fraser Highway. The lower entrance is secured by a coded lock.

Gwilt said the dispensary is resolved to continue servicing customers, whose diseases include cancer, AIDS and epilepsy.

"We have clients who need service in a huge way. They are suffering," said Gwilt.

Caine, 57, who was raised in nearby Surrey, said he knows the community "has a heart."

"I think this will be a defining moment about how this community takes care of its sick," said Caine.

RCMP said the investigation in continuing.

- Article from The Province.

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