Four people arrested after Saskatoon police raided an unlicensed medical marijuana dispensary last year now face fewer charges.
On Wednesday morning, federal Crown prosecutor Janelle Khan withdrew all charges that pertained to derivatives –like marijuana oil—against Saskatchewan Compassion Club owner Mark Hauk and co-accused Lane Britnell, Jaime Hagel and Carson Ramsay.
Khan said the charges were dropped because of a Supreme Court ruling on derivatives that came out last summer.
“It was not illegal for the defendants, at the time of the incidents, to be in possession of the marijuana derivatives because we’ve confirmed that they all have valid medical marijuana authorizations,” Khan told reporters outside Saskatoon Provincial Court.
Currently, anyone with that authorization should be going to a licensed producer, she said.
“But at the time of the arrests there was no licensed producer that had a license to sell marijuana derivatives,” Khan explained, which meant the four accused were only allowed to be in possession of oils.
Hauk was not in court when the charges were dropped but posted a reaction on social media shortly after.
“The Crown has verified what we have been saying from day one, back this spring. ‘The current federal system does not provide reasonable access to medical cannabis, and associated derivatives’. Plain and simple. And it was the sole reason we did what we did,” he wrote.
“The million dollar question that needs to be asked here though, is one of the Saskatoon Police Service. How is it possible, that after a 6 week undercover investigation (remember Project Fextern?) the SPS wasn’t even capable of determining what charges were warranted and what weren’t?”
Hauk also called for an apology from Saskatoon Police Chief Clive Weighill. CKOM News contacted police spokesperson Alyson Edwards, who said “we won’t be commenting any further at this point because there are still charges in place and working their way through the court process.”
Hauk, Britnell, Hagel and Ramsay still face charges in connection to possessing and trafficking dried marijuana after the downtown dispensary was raided on Oct. 29, 2015.
The two women, Hagel and Ramsay, each had two counts of drug trafficking and one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking dropped. Hauk and Britnell also had two counts each of drug trafficking withdrawn, along with three counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and one count each of production of marijuana derivatives.
When asked why their medical marijuana authorizations weren’t checked before the charges were laid, Khan could only say that the authorizations came to light in the course of the investigation.