The owner of a medical marijuana dispensary in Langley, British Columbia is protesting a police raid during which officers confiscated about four kilograms of cannabis meant for sick people.
Randy Caine, 57, who once challenged Canada’s marijuana laws all the way to the Supreme Court, said helping people with chronic pain should not be a crime, reports Kent Spencer at The Province
“If my greatest fault was being overly helpful to sick people, is that a criminal offense?” Caine, owner of Langley Medical Marijuana Dispensary, said on Friday.
“I have been transparent about medical assistance with the authorities from the start,” Caine said. “I had no idea they were this concerned. I was blindsided.”
Five RCMP officers wearing bulletproof jackets executed a search warrant on July 19, claiming they’d received “numerous” complaints about Caine’s operation.
|Photo: Langley Advance
|Randy Caine in front of the Langley Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Constable Jillian Roberts said up to four kilograms of marijuana was seized, as well as cannabis-infused brownies and cookies.
She said the dispensary is not legally authorized “by any authority or legislation in Canada.”
But Caine said he has legitimacy — a license issued by Health Canada. The agency has issued 10,000 medical marijuana licenses.
However, Caine admits he was distributing to some 200 patients, even though his license permitted only two.
He justified the difference on the basis of a 2009 B.C. Supreme Court decision concerning a case about patients’ rights.
In that case, Madam Justice M. Marvyn Koenigsberg struck down a section of law which said, in effect, that designated growers can only grow for a single person.
Dispensary manager Carol Gwilt admitted the relevant laws are unclear.
“Medical marijuana is a gray market, but it’s a necessary market,” Gwilt said. “We’re a small business operated as a community-based model.”
Caine said he got his marijuana from small private growers who are not connected to the illegal gang-based cannabis trade in B.C.
He said clients come by appointment only and must have a doctor’s recommendation in writing.
Caine was not granted a business license by City Hall for the tidy-looking premises located on the second floor of a commercial building on Fraser Highway. The lower entrance is secured by a coded lock.
Gwilt said the dispensary would continue serving patients, whose diseases include cvancer, AIDS and epilepsy.
“We have clients who need service in a huge way,” Gwilt said. “They are suffering.”
Caine, who was reared 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,” Caine said.