The fate of the Saskatchewan Compassion Club could be settled in 2016.
That’s when 36-year-old Mark Hauk, Lane Britnell, 24, and Carson Ramsay, 23, are due back in court facing charges of trafficking and possession of marijuana for their role in the Saskatchewan Compassion Club, Saskatoon’s first medical marijuana dispensary.
In October, Saskatoon police raided a downtown Saskatoon medical marijuana dispensary, putting a lid on all operations and seizing all of the medical cannabis. But after a couple of court appearances where the three made bail, a judge has stepped in a changed their conditions of release and according to Hauk it’s baffling.
At first the three accused, who depend on medical marijuana, were told they could only access medical cannabis through the Health Canada program. But the accused challenged the ruling in court stating the federal program did not provide the cannabis oils they needed to medicate without having to smoke marijuana.
“We’ve been given court permission, I have it on paper, to use unlicensed dispensaries and the whole reason I’m in that courtroom is because I provided those services safely in our community,” Hauk said. “It’s enough to make your head spin.”
But the case isn’t over just yet. The three accused are due back in court in early January, but Hauk believes his charges will be thrown out of court.
“We’re confident that at the end of the day the charges we face are unconstitutional and they’ve been found just that in other times in federal court.”
Hauk added it’s unlikely the new Liberal government will have the medical marijuana laws amended or changed in time for his court case, and even if marijuana is declared legal it’s up to provincial and municipal governments to adopt them.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out here in Saskatchewan next year with the current premier who is against legalization,” Hauk said, adding all indications point to full legalization in 18 months. “I don’t know if we’re in for an easy ride here.”