Halifax medical marijuana shop owner Chris Enns has been arrested and charged following a traffic stop and drug seizure by RCMP.
Police say they stopped a truck for speeding on Highway 7 in Lake Echo on Wednesday afternoon. After speaking with the driver, the officer arrested him and acquired grounds to search the vehicle.
“Following the search of the vehicle, we seized approximately six pounds of cannabis marijuana, around 148 grams of shatter and in addition, 500 capsules of Cannabidiol, which is also known as hash oil,” said RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Clarke.
“Shatter is a derivative of marijuana. It’s a very highly potent form.”
Police say they seized a large quantity of cash as well.
Enns, 33, was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of proceeds of crime over $5,000 and breach of conditions. He was also given a ticket for speeding, which police say was the initial reason they stopped his pickup truck.
Enns appeared in Dartmouth Provincial Court on Thursday, was arraigned and released. He is scheduled to appear in court again on Dec. 11.
Outside of court, he told Global News he feels he is being targeted by police.
“I was within the limits of my licence in terms of my possession licence and my designated grower licence for the amount of cannabis I had on me,” Enns said.
“The police had absolutely no right to search my vehicle and I have no doubt that through a constitutional challenge, these charges will be resolved.”
Enns’ business, Farm Assists, on Gottingen Street has been raided before. He, along with his staff and customers, have been arrested as part of ongoing trafficking investigations.
He says he hopes upcoming federal legalization will put an end to his legal battles.
“Hopefully this is the end. I mean, these arrests have gone on long enough,” he said. “We’re right on the cusp of legalization. Clearly, the city is accepting medical cannabis dispensaries and accepting the need of these people to medicate so let’s do away with these charges and move on with improving the conditions in our society.”
However, federal Crown attorney Leonard MacKay told Global News that while marijuana is about to be legalized, the bill being debated does not decriminalize trafficking.
“It doesn’t really complicate things as far legalizing things go,” said MacKay. “There may be an issue as far as the medical use of the marijuana. That may be something that Mr. Enns might raise.”
Supporters protest at the courthouse
On Thursday afternoon, about two dozen supporters crowded into Dartmouth Provincial Court to support Enns ahead of his appearance.
Dale Fetinko, a medical cannabis user, says support for medical marijuana has been increasing as legalization looms.
“The tremendous support of the public compared to say 10 to 15 years ago is overwhelming,” he said. “Prior to this, people were afraid to speak because they were afraid they were going to lose their jobs.”
With files from Natasha Pace, Ken Montgomery