‘Tip of the ice­berg’

Own­ers of dis­pen­saries in Green­wood, New Mi­nas, Mid­dle­ton re­port­edly raided

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS - KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA Sara.eric­s­son@kingscountynews.ca

An ap­par­ent RCMP raid was con­ducted and prod­ucts seized at a mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary in Green­wood.

An RCMP SUV was sta­tioned out­side the Higher Liv­ing Well­ness Cen­tre mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary in Green­wood at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 21 as of­fi­cers could be seen putting prod­ucts from in­side the store into brown, card­board boxes.

Busi­ness owner Heidi Char­trand, who also owns a sec­ond lo­ca­tion in Dart­mouth, ar­rived in Green­wood af­ter the raid took place. She said two peo­ple work­ing at the store were ar­rested at the scene, and their ve­hi­cles re­mained parked out­side the dis­pen­sary.

“I know for sure that one of my staff and one of my vol­un­teers were ar­rested,” she said.

RCMP spokesper­son Cpl. Jen­nifer Clarke did not con­firm where raids took place, nor whether ar­rests hap­pened.

“I know raids hap­pened. As to where and when? You got me,” she said.

Also present at the dis­pen­sary was Bridgetown res­i­dent Deb­bie Stultz-gif­fin, chair­woman of reg­is­tered non-profit Mar­itimers Unite for Med­i­cal Mar­i­juana so­ci­ety.

“My big­gest con­cern is that this is but the tip of the ice­berg. This day in par­tic­u­lar is the cat­a­lyst for the rest of the dis­pen­saries in the prov­ince be­ing raided, I fear, and stymied by the govern­ment,” she said.

Char­trand and Stultz-gif­fin both said the own­ers of three other dis­pen­saries

con­firmed their busi­nesses were also raided by RCMP.

“In light of le­gal­iza­tion loom­ing in less than a month, it hardly seems co­in­ci­den­tal that we’re hear­ing of now the fourth dis­pen­sary in this area be­ing raided by the po­lice,” said Stultz-gif­fin.

“We think it’s a de­lib­er­ate ef­fort on be­half of the com­bined fed­eral and provin­cial gov­ern­ments to stymie and put an end to med­i­cal dis­pen­saries.”

Char­trand, who lives in Ham­monds

Plains, be­gan op­er­at­ing dis­pen­saries in April 2016. She owns a sec­ond Higher Liv­ing lo­ca­tion in Dart­mouth, which was raided by po­lice Aug. 7.

She said she feels “re­ally, re­ally an­gry” af­ter this sec­ond ap­par­ent raid.

“They look at it like we’re crim­i­nals, but they’re re­fus­ing to see the pa­tients on the other end of it, who will­ingly buy this prod­uct. If there’s no vic­tim, then how is there a crime?” she said.

Char­trand said she will re­main in con­tact with her pa­tients as she as­sesses what prod­ucts were re­moved from the store, and how to pro­ceed. She said she re­mains un­sure whether the dis­pen­sary will open again.

“They didn’t give us the O.K. to open up to be­gin with, so I doubt they’d al­low that,” she said.

RCMP de­clined to pro­vide fur­ther com­ment on the in­ci­dent.

SARA ERIC­S­SON

Deb­bie Stultz-gif­fin is the chair­woman of reg­is­tered non-profit Mar­itimers Unite for Med­i­cal Mar­i­juana so­ci­ety and says she fears the Sept. 21 ap­par­ent RCMP raid at Higher Liv­ing Well­ness Cen­tre Inc. in Green­wood was “but the tip of the ice­berg,” and more RCMP raids will fol­low be­fore fed­eral le­gal­iza­tion ar­rives this Oc­to­ber.

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