Some charges dropped for Saskatoon medical marijuana club

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Some charges dropped for Saskatoon medical marijuana club
WATCH ABOVE: Some charges have been dropped against the people arrested following last year’s raid of the Saskatchewan Compassion Club. Ryan Kessler tells us why the Crown decided to steer clear of counts involving marijuana derivatives – Jan 6, 2016

SASKATOON – The four employees of an unlicensed medical marijuana dispensary raided by Saskatoon police will face fewer charges in provincial court. All counts related to marijuana oils have been dropped, court heard Wednesday.

The Saskatchewan Compassion Club was shut down by the Saskatoon Police Service Oct. 29 as part of an investigation titled ‘Project Fextern.’

The Crown cited a Supreme Court of Canada decision last June that ruled medical marijuana shouldn’t be restricted to its dried form. Cannabis oils can be applied topically or placed in edibles to treat various medical conditions.

READ MORE: Saskatoon marijuana dispensary founder to lead human rights complaint

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Each of the people accused had valid prescriptions for medical marijuana.

“It was not illegal for the defendants at the time of the incidents to be in possession of the marijuana derivatives,” Crown prosecutor Janelle Khan said.

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In October, there were no operations licensed by Health Canada to dispense marijuana derivatives. There are now three Ontario-based producers.

“At this point in time, anyone with a medical marijuana authorization should be getting their derivatives from a licensed producer,” Khan said.

However, offences related to trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of the proceeds of crime are scheduled to move forward.

Four people are charged, including 36-year-old Mark Hauk, who founded the Compassion Club. Two women aged 23 and 39, along with a 24-year-old man were also arrested.

Hauk is confident further charges will be withdrawn as well.

“Hopefully sooner than later so the others and I don’t need to spend a bunch more money on lawyers and we don’t need to waste any more of our provincial resources in chasing something that ultimately’s not going to go anywhere,” Hauk said.

The defendants are scheduled to appear in court over the coming weeks.

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