'It's an olive branch': Gardener speaks with RCMP for 1st time since cannabis plants seized
Five days after arriving home to find uniformed Mounties had been searching her house and property, seizing three cannabis plants and leaving only a one-page search warrant by way of explanation, a Revelstoke gardener says she's finally spoken with the RCMP.
"It was a really good conversation – it was honest, it was full-hearted, it was meant to right this wrong," said gardener Anna Minten.
Along with her husband, Emmanuel Levesque Dupéré, Minten had participated in Revelstoke, B.C.’s seventh annual Garden and Art Tour, where the public is invited to various homes to admire locals’ handiwork. On July 28, an off-duty Mountie had attended with a family member and was “exposed to blatant violations of Section 56 (g) Cannabis Control and Licensing Act [CCLA]; non-medical cannabis plants growing in full view of the public,” according to an RCMP press release.
“It was three plants in my garden set back from the road – you wouldn’t be able to tell what they were from the street,” explained Minten.
Minten heard from her downstairs tenant that while she was out for dinner Friday night, several RCMP cruisers and officers had been at the property. When they got home, Minten and Dupéré found the house lights left on, several doors left open throughout the house, the rear gardening shed lock cut off and the three plants cut at root level.
“This is a new law, there's going to be growing pains and I've learned [the laws] are not as pretty as they look and people should be more aware than I was and to be less naive about the exciting news pot is legal – and it wasn't as exciting as it seemed,” said Minten.
When CTV News asked Mounties to discuss the case, an employee at RCMP E-Division Headquarters media division said no one was available and that they wouldn’t be conducting interviews on the matter. The press release issued by Revelstoke RCMP Tuesday afternoon says the search warrant was executed Aug. 2, with investigators seizing “marihuana plants and other items to support charges.”
“The Cannabis Control and Licensing Act was created to ensure the production, possession and distribution of cannabis would be done in a safe and controlled manner,” said Cpl. Mike Esson on behalf of Revelstoke RCMP. “Unfortunately, the violations of CCLA by some of our residents has brought some negative light to Revelstoke and the Garden and Art tour.”
But the RCMP has been roundly criticized on social media for overreacting to the three plants not easily identified as cannabis from the public road. Legislation enacted as of Oct. 17, 2018 sets the legal exemption for personal recreational cannabis cultivation, allowing adults to “grow up to 4 plants per residence (not per person) for personal use” with provincial rules going one step further and stipulating that in B.C., “the plants must not be visible from public spaces off the property.”
Minten told CTV News Cpl. Esson was the officer who spoke with her on her way to work at her small business in a “respectful, lovely conversation”, in which she says he gave her the impression officers would not be pursuing criminal charges or further investigation.
"I think the olive branch has come out; I think we can deal with things without anger,” she said, referring to fierce criticism Mounties have received for what has been widely panned as an overreaction disproportionate to the offence.
“I'm sorry so many people got worked up over this," Minten said. "That was not my intention."