The operator of a Halifax dispensary returned to court today to request the crown change his bail conditions based on what he sees as much more lenient conditions imposed on those recently charged in Toronto dispensary raids.
Christopher Enns’ Farm Assist Cannabis Resource Centre was raided by police last December and as part of his release he, and a friend, were both ordered to put up a personal surety of $2,000, that would see the money handed over to the crown if Enns was ever convicted of another crime.
Enns said the cost is ridiculous and doesn’t do anything to further the administration of justice or prevent the reoccurrence of a crime “which might not even be a crime if our constitutional appeal is successful.”
Following raids involving Toronto dispensaries, last week, Enns said the penalties placed on those charged weren’t equal.
“After the second Cannabis Culture raid in toronto Erin Godwin and Pete Melanson were both released on a $500 cash bail and just the other, traditional conditions that everyone else faces,” Enns said, a difference in bail conditions that he thinks demonstrate a material change in the crown’s release procedures.
“There has to be a certain amount of parity across the country in that regard and, while every individual is different and every situation, is different, you can’t go releasing someone on $500 bail in Toronto when they’re a full, open, 19+ dispensary,” he said. “The crown isn’t even accusing us of anything, beyond serving more than the licensed patients that we’re allowed to so, arguably, society sees one as a little bit more left of the spectrum.”
Enns said, after his meeting this afternoon, the crown has agreed to contact their counterparts in Toronto to look at the bail situation there.
“[We’ll] see if we can’t come to a consensus on a new bail arrangement,” said Enns. “Whether it’s what I’m asking for or, somewhere in the middle, they’re not willing to say at the moment.”
Enns said he’ll hear before Friday if his efforts are successful, but said he’s hopeful for change as the East Coast has become more receptive to the cannabis industry.
“The climate’s really changed rapidly since our last raid, there’s now been a slew of other dispensaries open up, I believe three in Halifax alone,” he said, with another three planning to open in the coming months. “There’s certainly now some buffer zones around me with others in the industry being public and, hopefully, that’s providing some protection as well.”