Seven months for 50 plants
Dave Brandt is a regular guy who likes to grow pot.
raid and arrest
In mid-June, cops raided the Surrey home of Dave Brandt. When Dave returned home from his job working as a mechanic and welder he discovered that his house had been ransacked, and that his fifty pot plants and cultivation equipment was missing, along with a pair of remote controlled planes which he owned.
Kyle, Dave’s brother and roommate, told him that police had raided the house, pointing their guns at him as they emptied the place out.
Two days later the police showed up at Dave’s place of work, charged him with cultivation of marijuana, and arrested him. Dave explained that the cops treated him “like a murderer,” not as someone who had simply grown forbidden plants.
In cases like this the accused is normally released without bail on a promise to appear, but Dave was denied bail because the prosecution claimed he would start another grow operation. Dave spent about 5 weeks in jail before being released by a judge, but his troubles didn’t end there.
Three days after finally being released on bail, his probation officer ordered him returned to prison. This was because Dave had admitted that he had a suspicion who had ratted on his grow operation and called Crimestoppers. Dave explained to me that he valued his freedom and that he had no desire to confirm his suspicions or to confront anyone. Nevertheless, he was returned to prison.
Dave was denied legal aid since he had a job, but since he was in prison he couldn’t work and so couldn’t afford a lawyer. He defended himself, plead guilty, and in August was sentenced to four months imprisonment, on top of the three months he had already spent in prison waiting for trial. He is scheduled to be released on December 22.
Dave’s brother was also charged, sentenced to 18 months probation and 45 community hours, and forbidden to live with Dave for three months. Dave explained that his brother is a “slow learner” who can’t hold a regular job and is dependent upon Dave for support. Dave described his brother as his “best friend” and said it was a tremendous blow to know that he would be separated from him even after being released from prison.
Aside from the loss of seven months of his life and the personal violation and humiliation of being stuck in a maximum security prison with violent and sexual offenders, Dave is angry that the cops stole his remote control planes and helicopter. He’d built them himself from kits, and was proud of his collection.
The cops deny taking the planes, but Dave explained that the planes were sitting in his bedroom as he had planned on flying them after work, and that they weren’t there after his house was raided. No doubt some narc now enjoys flying them in Stanley Park.
The cops also seized all of Dave’s grow books, copies of magazines like Hempfest Times, High Times, and of course Cannabis Canada, as well as his collection of 86 pipes, many of which he had made himself.
At the going rate of $325 per prisoner per day, it has cost BC taxpayers about $60,000 to keep Dave locked up. This figure doesn’t include the tens of thousands of dollars spent on court costs and associated expenses, nor the many police hours spent investigating Dave, seizing, cataloging and destroying his property, and testifying against him in court.
Because of the arrest and the time he’s spending in jail, Dave has lost his job and been evicted from the home he was renting with his brother. Before the prohibition enforcers intruded into his life Dave was a working taxpayer who supported his dependent brother. When he is released from jail he will be homeless, unemployed, broke, and with a criminal record. His brother has had to move in with his mother for support, but Dave intends on living with his brother again as soon as possible.
a common story
Sadly, Dave’s story is a common one. There are tens of thousands of Canadians across the country who have had their lives torn apart by our nation’s vicious drug laws. Even though these laws are not evenly enforced all across Canada, they will continue to ensare and ruin decent Canadians until they are completely repealed.
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