Lawyer Calls Mass Marijuana Dispensary Arrests ‘Colossal Waste’ of Resources

Article by City News

After making 15 courts appearances with just one client whose charges were ultimately dropped on Monday, Toronto attorney Selwyn Pieters is calling the sweeping raids on illegal marijuana dispensaries last May a “colossal waste of private and public resources.”

Police arrested 90 people and laid 186 drug trafficking charges as part of Project Claudia, which targeted 43 marijuana dispensaries across the city.

Pieters said his client, a university student, was working as a doorman at one of the dispensaries, checking photo ID cards. He was rounded up in the raids and charged with three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Those charges were dropped on Monday after the Crown found there was no reasonable prospect for conviction.

A total of 33 people from 15 different dispensaries were in court on Monday. Aside from Pieters’ client, another had their charges stayed and the remaining charges were all adjourned to later dates.

Pieters believes most of the charges will be dropped and says police should have focused their enforcement efforts on the dispensary owners.

“The manner in which they enforced Project Claudia was not necessarily strategic,” he said. “It should have targeted the owners, instead of targeting everyone and having so many people before the courts and so many resources wasted. It was a waste of time and waste of resources.”

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