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CALM targeted for second time in six months

By admin | August 31, 2010


Globe and Mail

Letters to The Editor:

Complaint sparks police raid on marijuana compassion club…article1662165/

CALM, which sells pot to chronic-pain sufferers, targeted for second time in six months

Sarah Boesveld

Globe and Mail Update

Published on Wednesday, Aug. 04, 2010 7:34PM EDT

Acting on a “community complaint,” police raided a downtown club where ill patients go to buy medical marijuana – the second raid on the operation in less than six months.

At about 4 p.m. Wednesday, officers from 51 Division executed a search warrant at CALM Compassion Club, which operates behind a storefront at 106 Queen St. East.

Police seized a quantity of marijuana and hashish, said Detective Jim Brons, who was among the 12 officers who entered the club.

They also arrested club owner Neev Tapiero at his apartment around the corner from CALM, which stands for Cannabis as Living Medicine, said Mr. Tapiero’s lawyer, Ron Marzel, who specializes in battling the country’s marijuana laws.

Another man, who was in the apartment with Mr. Tapiero, was arrested, too. Pending charges include possession of marijuana and hashish for the purpose of trafficking, Det. Brons said.

He led the fleet of officers who raided the compassion club at the end of March. That raid was also based on a community complaint, Det. Brons said.

According to Mr. Marzel, the complaints are coming from a neighbour who is trying to lease a property near CALM and has complained about a smell of marijuana coming from the club.

“It’s just another nuisance,” Mr. Marzel said, adding that, to his knowledge, the neighbour never complained to Mr. Tapiero directly.

CALM was out of commission for two weeks after the March raid, leaving patients who suffer from HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis without the marijuana that soothes their pain, Mr. Marzel said.

It reopened after the court decided there should be no conditions imposed on Mr. Tapiero due to patients’ very limited access to medical marijuana as per Health Canada regulations, Mr. Marzel said.

He and Mr. Tapiero attended a meeting with Health Canada officials a month and a half ago to advocate licensing establishments such as CALM, where people must have solid proof from doctors that they need the drugs to help alleviate their symptoms.

Right now, people who need medical marijuana can only get it from Prairie Plant Systems, which grows marijuana out of a mine shaft near Flin Flon, Man. Only about 20 per cent of medical-marijuana users take advantage of this, Mr. Marzel said, because the strain doesn’t ease the pain of their illnesses. They could also grow it on their own, which can be a challenge for people suffering debilitating diseases, or they can get it from certain individuals who are only allowed to produce marijuana for two patients.

About seven officers remained at the club into the evening retrieving the drugs, Det. Brons said.

He said that while there are other compassion clubs in the city, he doesn’t know of any others besides CALM that have been raided by police.

“I don’t think they’ve actually received any complaints,” he said.

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