Police identify 8 charged in marijuana dispensary raids
London police have released the identities of the eight people charged in last week’s raids at five illegal marijuana dispensaries.
A total of $169,659 in controlled substances and approximately $3,220 in currency was seized in the simultaneous noon-hour raids at Tasty Budd’s, Chronic Hub Social Club, Alternative Health, and two Healing Health locations on March 2.
Eight people were arrested and subsequently charged with a combined 24 counts of possessing a Schedule II substance for the purpose of trafficking, police said.
On Friday, police identified the charged as Perry Middaugh, 55, of Markstay; Emily Pavlech, 23, of London; Kara Barber, 30, of London; Fallon Altwasser, 26, of Kitchener; Malachy McMeekin, 34, of no fixed address; Nathan Hall, 26, of London; Charles Colvin, 28, of London; and Paisley Grey, 23, of London.
Middaugh faces six counts of the charge, police said, while Pavlech, Barber, Altwasser, and McMeekin each face three counts. Hall, Colvin, and Grey each face two counts.
McMeekin is the founder of the Halifax-based Tasty Budd’s franchise, while Colvin is the chief executive of Chronic Hub Social Club in downtown London.
The Wharncliffe Road location of Tasty Budd’s, one of five in Canada, was the scene of a police raid last August that resulted in charges of trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking against a 23-year-old man and 28-year-old man. The dispensary, which had held a grand opening the week before the raid, closed temporarily but reopened soon afterwards as a compassion club.
Chronic Hub Social Club opened its doors in early February and was the most recent dispensary to open in the city, and the first to open in the downtown core. It was also the second Chronic Hub location to open in Canada, the other located in Vancouver.
Under current Health Canada regulations, Canadians can only legally purchase medical marijuana from authorized and licenced sellers, with illegal dispensaries subject to law enforcement action. As of March 10, 2017, there are a total of 39 authorized producers and/or sellers of medical marijuana across Canada, with 24 located in Ontario.
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While the Liberals have touted pending legislation around recreational pot that is expected to be announced this spring, they have said there is no clear timeline as to when Canadians will be legally allowed to buy recreational weed.
“People need to recognize that things take time,” Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott said Thursday. “This is something that has to be done correctly. It’s something that we feel very strongly about as a government. It’s a firm commitment of our government to legalize access to cannabis, to regulate that access and to restrict it appropriately.”
– With files from AM980’s Matthew Trevithick and Global News’ Andrew Russell
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