|Photo: Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star|
|Neev Tapiero, owner of the CALM compassion club in Toronto, still faces trafficking charges|
Marijuana trafficking charges against eight volunteer staff members of a Toronto compassion club were stayed Monday morning.
Cannabis As Living Medicine (CALM), which was raided on March 31, sells medical marijuana to patients suffering from chronic diseases. Club owner Neev Tapiero still faces trafficking charges, reports Katie Daubs at the Toronto Star.
“This is a big win for the cause,” said lawyer Ron Marzel. “It’s also the right thing to do. If the government takes issue with a compassion club they should have that fight with Neev.”
Club owner Tapiero said he feels confident about the case and sees the stayed charges as a sign that the crown’s case is weak.
Volunteer Amy Brown, who saw her charges dropped on Monday, was ecstatic. “I had this perma-grin, I couldn’t get it off my face,” she said.
“It’s a big day,” said Brown, who had been stopped from traveling by the charges. “We knew what we were doing wasn’t wrong.”
Marzel said police were well aware that CALM distributes marijuana only for medical purposes. After the March raid, Marzel said he was “appalled” by the police action.
“Organizations like this have existed for a long time,” Marzel said. “It’s not a surprise to the police force that these organizations exist. This is a totally inappropriate response.”
Tapiero said this is the first time CALM has been raided by the police since it was founded in 1996.
According to Tapiero, about 10 percent of the club’s 3,000 registered members have government-issued cards authorizing them to possess medical marijuana. The rest have written approval from a doctor, chiropractor or naturopath, Tapiero said.
According to police documents obtained by the Star, Tapiero’s charges include possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.
Police confiscated 16,589 grams (about 37 pounds) or marijuana, 1,940 grams (just over four pounds) of hashish, 207 grams (just over seven ounces) of hash oil, and a quantity of cash.