Article by Ian Hitchen, The Brandon Sun
Health Canada says police officers can call them any time when it comes to confirming whether citizens have legal authority to produce and possess medicinal marijuana.
The department’s ability to notify police of those who legitimately possess cannabis for that purpose was recently criticized in a lawsuit launched by a Brandon couple whose legal medical grow-op was mistakenly raided by RCMP.
“Health Canada negligently administered a system of license retention and issuance notification by failing to establish and maintain proper protocols for notice to arresting authorities … as to the legitimacy of licenses such as those held by persons such as the plaintiffs, and the plaintiffs in particular,” Jerry Pomehichuk and Brenda Wakefield assert in their statement of claim.
The lawsuit filed against three RCMP officers, the force itself, Health Canada and others was filed last month. The Brandon Sun wrote about the lawsuit last week, but Health Canada and RCMP have since responded to requests for comment.
Police raided the couple’s grow operation, within their warehouse on the city’s edge, on June 21, 2015. They seized 206 marijuana plants and five kilograms of dried marijuana.
Pomehichuk was arrested and charged with drug possession offences that were later dropped after it was learned that the couple had valid licences for the production and possession of medical marijuana.
The couple asserts they were well within their limit of 292 plants, which would seem to be confirmed by the fact the court later agreed to drop the charges against Pomehichuk.
The couple is suing for what they describe as the unlawful search and seizure, Pomehichuk’s unlawful arrest, damage done to the warehouse during the raid, and because the plants were destroyed before police could return them as the court required when the charges were dropped.