HALIFAX – The owner of a medical marijuana shop who was arrested in a police raid appeared in court Monday and has been released with conditions.
Chris Enns, 29, was one of four people taken into custody last Friday as part of an ongoing drug trafficking investigation.
Police seized marijuana, cash and drug paraphernalia from Farm Assists — a store on Gottingen Street that sells medical marijuana and includes a lounge for users.
On the same day, officers raided Enns’ residence in East Chezzetcook and removed marijuana plants from his grow-op.
Despite facing multiple drug-related charges, Enns said he is not backing down from his fight nor does he believe his business is operating illegally.
“My goal is not to violate the law but to move the law towards a state where Canadians who have medical problems can use this substance without fearing prosecution,” he said.
His fiancee Sheri Reeve, 47, was also arrested but released on Saturday evening.
The couple faces multiple charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, including trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, production of a substance, proceeds of crime and breach of an undertaking.
“We were totally shocked because we were within our plant numbers,” Reeve said.
“We’re legal cannabis growers and users. We didn’t have an excess of too much weed, we didn’t have too many plant numbers so I don’t really understand.”
About a dozen supporters were in court for Enns’ brief court appearance including Will Jackson, who credits the couple for helping him after a painful medical condition.
“I’ve had no quality of life for 10 years until I met these people,” Jackson said. “So that’s why I’m very emotional about this. They do not deserve this.”
Enns was ultimately released on his own undertaking, which prompted applause in the courtroom.
However, Crown attorney Tim McLaughlin said the release comes with conditions.
“He is not to possess, use, consume or produce a controlled substance unless he has a physicians prescription to do so or legal authorization from the Government of Canada to do so,” he said.
Enns said he has an approved licence to sell to two people. However, due to the current constitutional challenge, he believes selling medical marijuana to additional people who have licences is legal.
“We were legal,” Enns told reporters outside of the courthouse after his release.
“We were doing everything within the boundaries of our prescriptions We were trying to follow case law within Canada as tightly as possible.”
Both Enns and Reeve are scheduled to return to court on Sept. 29.
As for the future of Farm Assists, Enns said he plans to speak with staff before making a decision but may partially re-open the store on Tuesday.