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Bake-Op by Ted Smith

By admin | January 5, 2010

Bake-Op by Ted Smith

Complaints to police about loud music and the smell of Cannabis in a downtown apartment building resulted in the Bakery of the Cannabis Buyers Clubs of Canada getting shut down. Charges of simple possession, and possession for the purposes of trafficking against the baker could be introduced into court in mid-January. Meanwhile, a temporary location for the bakery has been found as we wait to find the perfect place to move into permanently. Gathering together 3,000 people with permanent, physical disabilities and diseases in 14 years, the CBC of C sells 29 different Cannabis food and skin products from its downtown Victoria distribution location. The club has already survived 4 police raids between 2002-03, beating every charge laid. Now we may have another court battle to face, or maybe not!

There are several ways people can help us, but some details of the incidence first. Baking cookies and other products 7 days a week, sometimes with loud electronic music thumping, made our bakery stick out in the apartment building we were using. For the past few months we have been actively seeking a place where we could increase our cookie output because demands for our edible products has been steadily increasing and we need a bigger oven, or a second one. So when someone else on the same floor as our bakery started making honey oil using isopropyl alcohol, our next door neighbour complained to the Victoria police. Our baker could have done several things differently when the police said they wanted to enter the premises, because he was not the tenant on the lease. However he simply let them in. It was obvious that no one lived there, and after quickly finding a single bud on the desk, the investigation began. We held a press conference at the CBC of C the next day. A lot of media people showed up including Indy media, Shaw’s the Daily, CBC Radio, and the Times Colonist. Unfortunately, some of the news reports contained serious errors, something far too common with corporate media. This raid highlights many of the flaws in Health Canada’s Marijuana Medical Access Regulations. The benefits of eating and topically applying cannabis are astronomical while the science documenting this is minimal and not even being studied by Health Canada. There are a few reasons to think that the trial may not proceed. Now that the bakery is no longer in the apartment, the police and neighbours are satisfied that the problem has been dealt with. Though they told the media they found hash and hash oil, their expensive lab tests will show they have only seized Cannabis-infused vegetable oils and butter, cookies and lozenges. It will be hard for the crown to justify spending valuable resources prosecuting a medicinal baker when any problems we were causing in the apartment building we were using are already fading into history.

Before proceeding with entering charges into court, the crown has to consider the likelihood of conviction, and whether it is in the public interest to prosecute in the first place. They will have a very difficult time finding an expert police witness who can explain how the items they seized were made, what the effects or dosage of the substances are, or the street/production costs. Even if the baker is found guilty, no one would expect a judge to punish someone caught making cannabis products for sick people to eat and rub on their skin.

Ironically, Health Canada’s Marijuana Medical Access Regulations do not authorize people to make extractions of the Cannabis plant. If a person with a federal license to grow Cannabis cooks it into butter and strains it through cheesecloth, they have technically produced cannabis resin—a different substance according to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). The most active cannabinoid in the herb, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is also listed as a separate drug in the CDSA, along with CBD and CBN which are other common chemicals naturally occurring in the Cannabis plant. It does not seem as though Health Canada has informed anyone about the legal implications of making Cannabis resin. They actively encourage people to ingest cannabis orally without admitting it is a crime to make a cookie, or providing any information about how to safely activate or extract the plant matter from beneficial oils. If the leaf is not strained, the strong fiber scraps the intestines clean, something that can be very painful for anyone with a sensitive stomach.

In the club’s second trial, in 2005, I was first found guilty of trafficking cannabis resin in the food and skin products, but after I filed an appeal, the Department of Justice dropped the charges. Although the club’s charges never stuck, I was later that year found guilty by a jury of trafficking THC. This was for my arrest just before the annual cookie give-away on International Medical Marijuana Day, Nov 15. My experiences in court and in the kitchen have given me a unique perspective on medical and legal issues pertaining to the use of cannabis resin in food products. This trial will put these skills to the test.

Writing letters to local media is an excellent way to bring attention to the issue in general and the trial specifically. If this trial goes ahead, we will be in need of assistance. Names of members and some contact information of members willing to testify, or submit written statements, to the court about their use of our products would be wonderful. Early next year we will be introducing a revised version of the cannabis and prescription drugs comparative analysis that we have been working on for a few years. Documenting the medical applications of cannabis in non-smoked forms, and the importance of our club, will be a critical part of our defense. Another important part of our defense will be pointing out various flaws in the MMAR. We are starting a working group of people with Health Canada cards at the club, meeting once a month to discuss regulations, rule changes, and growing techniques. The first meeting is Jan. 28 at 12 noon, at the club.

While this raid has been a huge headache, we will turn it to our advantage. If the charges do not get entered into court, we will turn to city council for support in getting a commercial kitchen. If the trial proceeds, our victory will strike down the laws and regulations that protect drug companies over patient’s rights.

We will be releasing an on-line cannabis recipe book at the mid-Jan. press conference. This recipe book will help anyone understand how the club’s products are made, and will guide them along if they want to make their own. These standard operating procedures have been evolving over 14 years, and it is our hope that others will take advantage or this information to make the best use of the plant while making various kinds of medicine.

A trial under these circumstances could be a watershed moment for the club. We have established ourselves in Victoria by consistently supplying quality medicines that have improved lives and saved government resources, making us an invaluable component in the local health care system. Any trial will give us a chance to shine.

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