"THEY'LL HAVE TO GIVE IT BACK EVENTUALLY"
- Published in the Vancouver Sun, October 09, 2002
A Chilliwack man had hoped to make Canadian history Tuesday by going to the Hope RCMP
detachment and picking up 51 marijuana plants and four grow lights that had been seized in
a drug raid.
He recently received approval from the federal government to grow and possess
up to 1,875 grams of pot for medicinal purposes.
Defence Lawyer Dale Pedersen, had received a phone call from the Hope RCMP's exhibit
custodian saying they could come and pick up the items seized in the raid, including
the plants, lights, a small container of pot and a pot pipe. The Chilliwack man said he believes the
return of the plants would be the first time the RCMP had returned pot plants to growers.
But when he showed up with a group of supporters and several members of the media
Tuesday morning, he was told the release of the material had to be okayed through Health
Canada, which might take a day or two. He was dismayed that his 15-month ordeal
over the plants had been extended.
"Justice delayed is justice lost, I feel," he said. "I know they'll have
to give it back eventually. I just can't believe they're delaying this another hour, day,
minute. It's absurd. It's immoral. And it's going to change."
Hope RCMP Staff Sergeant Jim Delnea said police tried to contact the Chilliwack man Tuesday morning
to tell him there were further complications before he would receive his pot back, but
he was already en route to the police station. Sgt. Delnea said that given the nature of
the exhibits to be returned, he wanted to make sure of the process before releasing them.
"This is a new area that we're into, and before I end up making a decision as detachment
commander on returning those exhibits, I'll make sure that Health Canada gives us appropriate
guidance," he said. "There's lots of questions to be asked. We are talking to our department
of justice prosecutor to see what their position is on it, as well as Health Canada."
The Chilliwack man said he smokes high-grade marijuana every day to deal with a number of ailments,
including HIV, hepatitis C, glaucoma and chronic pain. He applied for a licence to grow medicinal
marijuana for his own use in 1999, and got approval to do so Sept. 9, 2002. He was growing pot
in a friend's shed in Hope when the police raided the operation and seized the plants
and grow lights in July, 2001.
With his supply of marijuana cut off, he founded the Holy Smoke Healing Center marijuana compassion
club in Chilliwack to supply the needs of medicinal marijuana users like himself.
He said he has spent up to $537 in one day on the high-grade pot that he needs for his ills.
He said he expects his pot plants to be dead when he gets them back. If so, he said
he may sue the RCMP over their loss.