SEVEN MONTHS FOR FIFTY PLANTS IN BC
Dave Brandt is a regular guy who likes to grow pot. Because of this he’sbeen sentenced to seven months in maximum security, he’s lost his job andhis home, and the cops stole his model planes.
In mid-June, cops raided the Surrey home of Dave Brandt. When Dave returnedhome from his job working as a mechanic and welder he discovered that hishouse had been ransacked, and that his fifty pot plants and cultivationequipment was missing, along with a pair of remote controlled planes whichhe owned.
His brother told him that police had raided the house, pointing their gunsat him as they emptied the place out.
Two days later the police showed up at Dave’s place of work, charged himwith cultivation of marijuana, and arrested him. Dave explained that thecops treated him “like a murderer”, not as someone who had simply grownforbidden plants.
In cases like this the accused is normally released without bail on apromise to appear, but Dave was denied bail because the prosecution claimedhe would start another grow operation. Dave spent about 5 weeks in jailbefore being released by a judge, but his troubles didn’t end there.
Three days after finally being released on bail, his probation officerordered him returned to prison. This was because Dave had admitted that hehad a suspicion who had ratted on his grow operation and calledCrimestoppers. Dave explained to me that valued his freedom and that hehadn’t made any attempt 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 hecouldn’t work and so couldn’t afford a lawyer. He defended himself, pleadguilty, and in August was sentenced to four months imprisonment, on top ofthe three months he had already spent in prison waiting for trial. He isscheduled to be released on December 22.
Dave’s brother was also charged, sentenced to 18 months probation and 45community hours, and forbidden to live with Dave for three months. Daveexplained that his brother is a “slow learner” who can’t hold a regular joband 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 beseparated from him even after being released from prison.
Aside from the loss of seven months of his life and the personal violationand humiliation of being stuck in a maximum security prison with violentand sexual offenders, Dave is angry that the cops stole his remote controlplanes and helicopter. He’d built them himself from kits, and was proud ofhis collection.
The cops deny taking the planes, but Dave explained that the planes weresitting in his bedroom as he had planned on flying them after work, andthat they weren’t there after his house was raided. No doubt some narc madea personal seizure.
The cops also seized all of Dave’s grow books, copies of magazines likeHempfest 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 taxpayersabout $60,000 to keep Dave locked up. This figure doesn’t include the tensof thousands of dollars spent on court costs and associated expenses, northe many police hours spent investigating Dave, seizing, cataloging anddestroying his property, and testifying against him in court.
Because of the arrest and the time he’s spending in jail, Rob has lost hisjob and been evicted the home he was renting with his brother. Before theprohibition enforcers intruded into his life Dave was a working taxpayerwho supported his dependent brother. When he is released from jail he willbe homeless, unemployed, broke, and with a criminal record. His brother hashad to move in with his mother for support, but Dave wants to live with hisbrother again as soon as possible.
Sadly, Dave’s story is a common one. There are tens of thousands of peopleall across Canada who have their lives viciously torn apart by our nation’sarchaic drug laws.
To get in touch with Dave Brandt, you can leave a message with Randy Caineof The Joint in Surrey, at (604) 583-7004, or on his brother’s messagepager at (604) 252-4822.
Dana Larsen [email protected]
Editor, Cannabis Canada, “Canada’s National Magazine of Marijuana & Hemp”
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