CANNABIS CULTURE – Marijuana trafficking charges against eight volunteer staff members of Toronto’s CALM compassion club’s were dropped today by the Crown; but owner Neev Tapiero still faces charges.
The charges stem from an aggressive police raid on CALM’s dispensary on March 31, 2010.
CALM is one of Canada’s oldest and largest dispensaries – click here to visit their website.
Charges stayed against pot club volunteers
by Katie Daubs, Toronto Star
Trafficking charges against eight volunteer staff members of a Queen St. compassion club were stayed this morning.
CALM, which was raided on March 31st, sells medical marijuana to patients suffering from chronic diseases, including HIV.
Club owner Neev Tapiero still faces trafficking charges.
“This is a big win for the cause,” said lawyer Ron Marzel. “It’s also the right thing to do. If the government takes issue with a compassion club they should have that fight with Neev.”
Tapiero said he feels confident about the case and sees the stayed charges as a sign that the crown’s case is weak.
Amy Brown, who saw her charges stayed on Monday, was ecstatic.
“I had this perma-grin, I couldn’t get off my face,” she said.
Brown, who suffers from chronic pain, said the charges stopped her from travelling.
“It’s a big day. We knew what we were doing wasn’t wrong,” she said.
After the raid in March, Marzel said police were well aware CALM distributes marijuana for medical purposes only, and said he was “appalled” by the police action.
“Organizations like this have existed for a long time. It’s not a surprise to the police force that these organizations exist, “Marzel said, adding CALM is actively lobbying for clearance from Health Canada to sell medical marijuana. “This is a totally inappropriate response.”
Tapiero said this is the first time police have raided CALM since it was established in 1996.
About 10 per cent of the club’s 3,000 registered members have federally issued cards permitting them to possess medical marijuana. The rest have written approval from a doctor, chiropractor or naturopath, Tapiero said.
According to a police document obtained by the Star, charges include possession for the purpose of trafficking. Police seized 16,589 grams of marijuana, 1,940 grams of hashish, 207 grams of hash oil and a quantity of cash.
– Article from The Toronto Star.
Pot club charges dropped against volunteers
by CBC News
Eight members of a Toronto marijuana compassion club have had drug charges against them dropped.
But the club’s owner still faces trafficking charges.
About a month ago the Queen Street East club was raided by police officers who seized thousands of grams of hashish and marijuana.
The club, called Cannabis As Living Medicine, sold medical marijuana to people suffering from chronic illnesses.
On Monday, charges against eight of the nine people arrested in the raid were dropped — all except Neev Tapiero.
Tapiero’s lawyer thinks the Crown decided not to press ahead with most of the charges because “they really don’t want to prosecute the staff, the volunteers, for that. They really want to narrow down the issues — and I agree with them, it is something that should be narrowed down,” said Ron Marzel.
The only legal way for people to purchase medical marijuana is through Health Canada.
Compassion clubs have been asking for licences for years — but there has been no movement.
Marzel says he hopes this will be a precedent setting case when it comes to compassion clubs.
– Article from CBC News.