Article by Colin Perkel, Global News
A man evicted from his home and whose possessions were seized has launched a legal challenge to new Ontario legislation that aims to weed out illegal cannabis sales.
In an unproven application before Superior Court, Jeffrey Brodie argues the provisions enacted by the government of Premier Doug Ford this month are unconstitutional on several levels.
Key among the problems, Brodie argues, is that the law allows eviction of law-abiding tenants and the seizure of their belongings without due process. It also forces evicted tenants to prove their innocence.
“Notwithstanding that (Brodie’s) indication to the officers that his residential unit is a separate and distinct part of the building, the officers refused to allow (him) to re-enter the building,” the application states. “The applicant has been left without the basic human necessities, including housing.”
Brodie, 42, had lived for more than a year in an upstairs rental unit in a building police said was being used as an illegal marijuana dispensary. On July 9, officers and city officials raided the building. They entered his apartment without warning and ordered him out. Officers seized most everything in the unit. He has just a duffel bag with some clothes.
“They came, they didn’t give me a chance to get my stuff, and they threw me out onto the streets,” Brodie said in an interview on Wednesday.
They charged the landlord for operating an illegal dispensary and barred re-entry to the building, with the law calling for a potential fine or jail time for doing so. Brodie was not charged.
“The seizure of the applicant’s property is unreasonable given that the applicant is not involved in the operation of the cannabis store and is not named as a party to the information or search warrant,” asserts his application filed by lawyer Selwyn Pieters.
The impugned legislation – part of the More Homes, More Choice Act – amended the Cannabis Control Act of 2017, which allows police to close a building used for illicit pot sales and remove the occupants. The amendment closed a loophole that barred officers from evicting residential tenants. It also precluded Superior Court judges from awarding costs to a person trying to get back their seized property.