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Marijuana ‘bakery’ raided by Victoria police

By admin | December 8, 2009

Marijuana ‘bakery’ raided by Victoria police

By JOANNE HATHERLY, Canwest News Service
December 5, 2009 9:22 PM

A Victoria marijuana advocate is ready for a court fight, but he may not get one.

An apartment-based marijuana “bakery” that was raided by police on Thursday is linked to the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada (CBCC), founded by marijuana advocate Ted Smith. Whether charges will be laid, and who would face those charges, might depend on whether the apartment is licensed by Health Canada.

Smith said the apartment’s kitchen was used to bake cookies, edible products, and produce skin products with marijuana as an ingredient, which are then sold at Smith’s 828 Johnston St. office. He confirmed that he does not have Health Canada authorization, saying that Health Canada licenses only marijuana cultivation.

A Health Canada representative did not return a call for clarification on the regulations. However, the Health Canada website referred to licensing for growth and production of marijuana.

Police responded to a complaint from residents in the Chelsea at 865 View St. about a “skunky smell” and possible drug activity on Thursday afternoon. After the first visit, they obtained a search warrant and returned to seize an undisclosed amount of hashish, hashish oil and marijuana. They arrested one man and later released him. No charges have been laid.

Smith said he sells about a kilogram of marijuana a day. Matthew Muise, 24, a CBCC member and worker, said 28 grams sells for between $140 and $200.

Marijuana cookies cost 75 cents. No figures were given on how many cookies are sold, but bagged marijuana sales would range between $1.8 million and $2.6 million a year. Smith said about a dozen CBCC members operate the site.

Smith said his office has been raided four times since 2002, and he has spent about $20,000 in legal fees. He said the raid affected supply, but added he would scout for new sites.

Victoria police spokesman Sgt. Grant Hamilton said the investigation is still in progress and police will consult with Crown counsel as to whether charges will be laid for drug possession or trafficking, which would depend on whether the apartment was licensed for marijuana production.

Smith has been convicted twice for drug-trafficking and possession.

The Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada has been raided four times and withstood 11 charges, all of which have been stayed, dropped or overturned on appeal.

Sue Ransom, 49, a courier driver, said she needs marijuana cookies to manage pain from a 15-year-old skiing injury. She maintains she’s a safe driver and the cookies do not affect her judgment. She started using marijuana cookies in 2001.

“I cannot drive without eating my cookies,” Ransom said. “I really need my cookies.”

However, Alan Campbell, director of mental health and addiction services for the Vancouver Island Health Authority, was cautious about ingesting medicinal marijuana that is produced outside of any regulatory agency and without physician supervision.

“A doctor would be able to advise whether driving a piece of equipment is acceptable with the dosage levels,” Campbell said.

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