PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – A Saskatchewan man has been found not guilty of drug trafficking by arguing that he is simply a very heavy pot smoker.
Devon Douglas Lavallee was charged in August 2013 when he was pulled over by the RCMP for erratic driving in the vicinity of Weldon, near Prince Albert.
Court heard that the officers found nearly half a kilogram of marijuana when they searched Lavallee’s vehicle and even more pot when they searched his home the next day.
A Mountie with experience in drug trafficking cases testified that the dope was too much for a recreational user.
Const. Tyson Drabinasty said the “typical user” would not keep such large quantities on hand because marijuana loses its potency within six months to a year.
But Lavallee argued that he’s been smoking between five and 13 grams a day for 13 years. He said it was to help relieve chronic back pain.
Provincial court Judge Felicia Daunt said in her ruling released Monday that the Crown was unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Lavallee intended to sell the pot.
Daunt said generally, she found Lavallee to be truthful, but prone to exaggeration.
“Although he didn’t bring any documentary evidence to back up his claim of chronic back pain, I have no reason to disbelieve him,” Daunt wrote.
“He says he smokes a lot of pot. This assertion is bolstered by all the indicia of personal use found in his truck, in his home and in his garage.
“He smokes so much that he forgot he had pot left when he went to buy some more.”
Daunt also noted that no scale or cellphone were found in Lavallee’s home – two items that can be evidence of trafficking.
“The absence of packaging material suitable for distribution in smaller quantities troubles me the most,” said Daunt.
“The Crown theory that the accused buys in half pound quantity and then turns around and sells in half pound quantity is pure speculation, and unsupported by any evidence that this is a business model anyone has encountered before.”
However, Lavallee was found guilty of possessing marijuana. The case is due back in court next March.
© The Canadian Press, 2014