Saskatoon Police Chief Called Supreme Court Ruling on Cannabis Oils “Red Herring”

The Crown has dropped all cannabis derivative charges toward four Saskatoon residents arrested during raids against the Saskatchewan Compassion Club, but they’ve been left wondering why they were initiated in the first place.

Prosecutors decided club members were authorized to possess the cannabis derivatives due to a Supreme Court Ruling in 2015 that allowed medical patients access to the products.

“It was not illegal for the defendants at the time of the incident to be in possession of the marijuana derivatives because we’ve confirmed that they all have valid medical marijuana authorization,” said prosecutor Janelle Khan.

Although he was aware of the ruling before the arrests, Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill previously said he didn’t think it applied to the Saskatchewan Compassion Club.

“I know another little bit of a red herring was the Supreme Court of Canada said that people should be allowed to have it in liquid form,” Weighill said, in a previous interview with the CBC. “And I think that’s where the Compassion Club kind of stepped into the fray and said, ‘Well, the producers right now don’t have it in a liquid form, so we’re going to do that.”

“But they’re not a sanctioned agency under Health Canada to do that. That’s my understanding.”

Compassion club operator Mark Hauk, and one of those still charged with trafficking dried marijuana, questioned why the cannabis oil charges were brought up in the first place by police.

“Supreme Court rulings and Charter Rights are NOT simply ‘red herrings’. They are bloody important, and protect our rights as citizens,” Hauk wrote in a Facebook post. “Particularly when they are ensuring that the sick and dying people in our community have a means of accessing their medicine in a reasonable fashion. Sick and dying people in the city in which you police.”

Hauk asked why, despite seemingly understanding the court rulings around derivatives, Weighill still carried forward with the charges.

“How could you knowingly make a decision that would cause direct harm to a certain group of people in our city?” Hauk said. “I really do struggle to understand here. The contempt you seem to show for the general public is simply mind-numbing.”