Judge Gives No Jail Time For Cannabis Charges Due to Upcoming Legalization

A Saskatchewan man has been sentenced to two years of probation, but no jail time for trafficking marijuana and possessing the proceeds of crime after Justice Shawn Smith ruled the country is in transition in regard to cannabis laws.

Seamus John Neary was convicted in November of trafficking marijuana and possessing the proceeds of crime but the appeal judge decided not to impose similar punishments of 15 to 18 months in jail with the Liberal government in the process of legalization.

“Having said that, Mr. Neary did engage in a criminal commercial enterprise and it’s necessary and appropriate that that conduct be denounced and the sentence imposed act as a deterrent. In the end, I concluded those two goals may be accomplished without sentencing Seamus Neary to jail,” he said.

Smith said that that there was “no larger good” in sending Neary to prison, as he “has conducted himself well as a citizen but for this single, unfortunate foray in the mire of the drug world.”

Neary said that he was relieved by the decision and hoped that the verdict will set precedence for others facing cannabis charges.

“We have a case ongoing in this city right now of a dispensary being raided and hopefully we can get that cleared up and move on with this process of legalization, which is inevitable,” Neary said. “The less money that we can spend prosecuting people for non-violent offences specific to cannabis, the better.”

Lawyer Chris Lavier said, while every case involving cannabis is different and each case depends on the circumstances surrounding it, the result of Neary’s sentence is still important for similar cases cases in the future.

“Now we have a case … with a period of probation for a large amount of marijuana,” he said.