September 24, 2018 5:25 pm
Updated: September 24, 2018 6:54 pm

Dozens protest raids on cannabis dispensaries in the Annapolis Valley

WATCH: Supporters of medical marijuana in the Annapolis Valley staged a rally in front of Kentville provincial court on Monday, after several dispensaries were recently raided. Alicia Draus reports.

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Seven people are facing charges after RCMP raided 4 medical marijuana storefronts in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.

The searches were conducted Friday at two storefronts in New Minas, one in Greenwood, as well as a business in Middleton.

Three men and four woman are facing charges of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.

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Heidi Chartrand, owner of  Higher Living Wellness Centre – Greenwood, was held in custody and appeared in Kentville Provincial Court Monday afternoon. Dozens met at the court to demand her release and protest the raids themselves.

READ MORE: N.S. man facing drug trafficking charges after marijuana dispensary raid in Chester

“We feel the stance the province appears to be taking on medical cannabis is simply unjustified,” said Debbie Stultz-Giffen, the chair of Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society.

“These dispensaries are providing patients with safe access to medicine.”

The sentiment is echoed by patient Lisa Hannam, who purchases medical cannabis from Chartrand’s store.

“Myself, I’m prescribed resin by my doctor and it’s not available to me through any other avenue,” said Hannam.

Farm Assists owner, Chris Enns, also attended the protest. His storefront has been raided in the past and he has also faced charges.

“All of our charges stemming from raids at our dispensaries have been withdrawn by the courts,” he said. “So why they continue to pursue other dispensaries while they have withdrawn our charges makes no sense.”

He said that the Charter of Rights has guaranteed patients the right to medical cannabis access and police and the government need to stop targeting medical dispensaries.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia marijuana dispensary owners plan to fight to stay open post-legalization

Following a brief court appearance, an emotional Chartrand was released from custody on conditions that she not be in or within two metres of any facility known to dispense cannabis.

The judge made the exception of NSLC stores once they are legally allowed to sell cannabis on Oct. 17.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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