Saskatchewan Compassion Club operator Mark Hauk made a brief court appearance today, where a judge allowed one of those accused with drug trafficking to continue to purchase cannabis from dispensaries.
Lane Britnell, an employee arrested during the police raid on Hauk’s dispensary, suffers from Crohn’s disease and uses cannabis extracts to treat his symptoms.
Hauk said during the hearing today, the judge said none of the four accused could have involvement with “unlicensed marijuana businesses.”
“I said to the lawyer, ‘that’s fine, but Lane’s very sick and needs oil,’” Hauk recounted from court.
According to Hauk, the judge said he thought government licensed producers could provide the extracts Britnell needed and ship them within 24 hours.
After being corrected, Hauk said Britnell’s lawyer requested a change of conditions for his client. The judge agreed, and now, after being arrested and charged for selling cannabis at an unlicensed dispensary, Britnell has been granted permission by the court to purchase cannabis extracts from an unlicensed dispensary in B.C..
Hauk described the situation as “infuriating” but thanked club members and the community for their ongoing support.
One of those supporting the club is city councillor Pat Lorje, who wrote on the group’s facebook wall that the raid on the dispensary wasn’t a directive from council.
“The Saskatoon Police Service operates independently from Saskatoon City Council,” Lorje wrote. “They chose to raid the compassion club. City council was not consulted or informed about it. I found out about these actions by reading about them in the newspaper.”
Hauk said Lorje was one of the more supportive councillors when he presented at city hall Aug. 17, where council voted to explore dispensary regulation in the city and promised to prepare a report on the issue by September.
Months later, no one can say what happened to the report.
“It really begs the question to figure where that process got off track,” Hauk said. “I think it was solely our mayor’s doing.”
Hauk said during his presentation, mayor Don Atchison was, “visibly not pleased at the subject.”
“He wanted it reviewed by the police board commission, which he happens to chair,” Hauk said.
Whatever the reason, Hauk is now in the midst of a court battle, with advisement from well-know medical cannabis rights lawyer Kirk Tousaw.
“I’m more than elated that I spoke at length with Kirk Tousaw,” said Hauk. “I’m very familiar with his work and feel like it’s the direction to go.”
Hauk and Tousaw are currently compliling testimonials from club members to present as part of their class action claim to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.
“There’s a pile of things to do on the human rights front,” Hauk said “We have some very powerful stories looking to be told here.”
Hauk, Britnell and the two other accused return to court Dec. 1.