- Published in the Chilliwack Progress 26 November 2002

A medical marijuana licence holder got his grow-lights returned yesterday, but not the marijuana plants seized earlier this year by Hope RCMP officers.

Hope RCMP Staff Sgt. Jim Delnea said because marijuana cultivation charges against the individual had been stayed, and after discussions with federal Crown counsel and Department of Justice officials, he decided to return the grow-lights. "There's no law against owning light bulbs, so to speak," he said.

However, the 51 plants seized by police and other items with marijuana residue on them are being withheld pending a decision by Health Canada.

"We are awaiting Health Canada to authorize disposition of those items," Staff Sgt. Delnea said. "The narcotics, the drugs that have been seized, Health Canada has control of those."

It is a long-standing procedure, he said, that any marijuana seized, even where no charges are pending, can only be destroyed with Health Canada's permission. "We never had the arbitrary authority to destroy drugs," he said.

The medical marijuana licence holder went to court last week seeking the return of all the items seized by police. His Defence Lawyer Dale Pedersen said he sees no legal reason why all the seized items can't be released because no forfeiture order was made.

"In my mind, they should all be released," Dale Pedersen said.

The licence holder, who received the licence to grow medical marijuana from Health Canada on Sept.9, said he feels vindicated by the decision. "It shows obviously I was in the right," he said.

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