Watch this video interview with Tim Moen and Keith Gall, a Calgary man confined to a wheelchair with multiple sclerosis whose legal license to grow medical cannabis was called into question after having his home inspected by officials in 2015.
Alberta Health Services ordered Gall to shut down his grow under suspicion of mould and that the house required tens of thousands of dollars in remediation or it could be deemed uninhabitable.
Fighting the order, Gall came to a Alberta Health Services tribunal last year, where authorities would decide if officials acted appropriately in issuing the order to Gall.
Last week, a decision was handed down by Public Health Appeal Board chair Julia Jones that found Gall did not give the consent needed for investigators to enter his home and conduct an inspection and that the conditions found at Gall’s home did not support the order issued to shut down his operation.
“It was just a suspicion of mould and they couldn’t find any mould,” said Gall. “There was supposed to be a problem with being a nuisance – well that’s more pertaining to a public place, given that I live by myself with my cat it doesn’t really pertain to me.”
In their initial inspection report, mould was mentioned as the largest concern in the home, but it was revealed during the tribunal that there was no evidence of mould found, Gall’s prevention strategies were also not considered and many descriptions of the house used by investigators were not supported by facts.
“Alberta Health Services submitted the grow operation was large and characterized it as an intensive agricultural operation,” the board’s decision read. “The photographs provided by Alberta Health Services did not support that position.”
The board also took issue with the inspectors’ use of the term “nuisance” as a reason to shut down his medical cannabis grow.
“The definition of ‘nuisance’ is broad but there must be evidence that a condition is, or might become, injurious or dangerous to the public health,” read the appeal decision. “The connection cannot be so remote that all premises legally growing plants will be defined as a nuisance.”
Gall said he’s glad the ruling was decided in his favour after being led into a potentially damaging situation by authorities.
“They came in here, when I didn’t know what was going on — they took advantage of me,” said Gall. “I didn’t know health officers could come in with the other inspectors, they walked in here like they could, so I thought they could.
“They abused their power when they came in and did it.”
Gall said he’s still concerned that his issues aren’t over yet. He said after the first tribunal hearing, the Alberta Health Services lawyer told him that he would do everything in his power to shut him down.
“If he lost the tribunal hearing he was going to take us back to court, for whatever he could, and make sure that we lost this, one way or the other,” Gall recounted.