Article by CBC News
When Anna Minten and her husband Emmanuel Levesque Dupere came home from a date night on Friday, they noticed something was amiss.
All the lights were on in their Revelstoke, B.C., home and their dog was tied up out front. When they went inside, they found the house was a mess — doors left open, items out of place, the lock on their back shed busted.
Their tenants told them five police officers arrived at the home at 7 p.m. in three separate police cruisers and searched the property for two hours.
They left a piece of paper taped to a stool by the front door. It was an RCMP search warrant. The officers were looking for cannabis plants that were “visible from [a] public place.”
Sure enough, the couple’s three pot plants — which they grew legally and kept in the garden behind their home — were gone.
“I was incredibly heartbroken. I felt invaded. I felt betrayed by my local RCMP,” Minten told As It Happens guest host Piya Chattopadhyay.
“It was a low blow. My house feels tainted.”
The pair had not been charged as of Tuesday evening, but RCMP say the investigation remains open.
Busted on a charity garden tour
The warrant, which As It Happens has seen, states that on July 28, police had “reasonable grounds for believing that the following offences have been committed: Grown non-medical cannabis that is visible from public place, contrary to Section 56(g) of the Cannabis Control and Licencing Act.”
That’s the date of the town’s annual Garden and Art Tour, a charity event that raises money for the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative.
Minten’s garden was part of the tour.
About 70 or 80 people had waltzed through the couple’s garden that Sunday to look at their raspberries, tomatoes and enormous sunflowers.
Among them was RCMP Cst. Faron Ling, whose name was on the search warrant, the tour’s other participants told Minten.
According to the provincial cannabis law, a public place is defined as “any place to which the public has access as of right or by invitation, express or implied, whether or not a fee is charged for entry.”
‘I thought I was following the law’
In an emailed statement, Revelstoke RCMP confirmed the search warrant was executed after an off-duty officer and a family went on the garden tour and spotted “blatant violations” of the province’s cannabis laws.
“The Cannabis Control and Licensing Act was created to ensure the production, possession and distribution of cannabis would be done in a safe and controlled manner. Unfortunately, the violations of CCLA by some of our residents has brought some negative light to Revelstoke and the Garden and Art tour,” Cpl. Mike Esson said.
“By not properly growing cannabis plants, the residents have opened themselves up to the possibility of theft of the cannabis and drugs falling into the hands of youth in our community.”