Cops want charges after raid on B.C. compassion club
Published Tuesday, February 22, 2011 9:26PM PST
Employees and patients at a Vancouver Island medical marijuana dispensary are crying foul after a raid by Mounties last week that ended in possible trafficking charges.
Police searched the North Island Compassion Club, located in a Courtenay basement, on Friday after receiving complaints from neighbours and members of the medical community, according to RCMP Const. Tammy Douglas.
"For them to be selling marijuana is illegal, and that was a concern that was brought to us by the community, and we have to follow up on that," she said.
Police are now recommending trafficking charges for club manager Ernie Yacub and another employee.
Yacub says the club has operated at several locations for the last 10 years.
"People need to get access to their medicine, and the raid of course is giving us a problem. Think of us as the only pharmacy in town being closed down," he said.
He disputes the RCMP's claims that the club is involved in trafficking. Yacub says that the club's 230 members are trying to stay on the right side of the law, but backlogs at Health Canada and expenses are making things impossible.
"We are deemed to be criminals for providing medicine to people in need, because the government program sucks," he said.
The club's members say it provides a much-needed medical service. Susan Drean, a former nurse, says it's the only thing keeping her pain under control.
"If it wasn't for the medical marijuana, I don't know what I would do for the pain or to help me get through the day, because when I do not have it, I want to curl up in a ball and hide myself away from the world," she said.
The two men facing charges in connection with the raid are due in court on May 12.