Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to legalize and regulate marijuana but no timeline is in sight. Meantime, cannabis-related crimes continue to tie up police and court resources, leaving some feeling like they're in legal limbo. Miranda began using medical marijuana about two years ago, after she said prescription drugs turned her brain into "mush." She began volunteering at Phoenix, primarily to educate seniors about cannabis as a pain-relief option. Nanaimo RCMP raided three dispensaries, including Phoenix, on Dec. 1. Selling pot over the counter — whether medical or recreational — remains illegal in Canada, and Mounties sent warning letters weeks before executing search warrants. "They came in like a SWAT team, guns out, 'Hands up!,' screaming, yelling, terrifying everybody who was in there," said Miranda. She said police body-searched everyone, including an elderly volunteer with a cane, before handcuffing them and taking them to jail. There, she said, she sat in a freezing cell wearing only a cotton shirt and pants for more than 10 hours. Two days later, she said she wound up in hospital with chest pains.
"They came in like a SWAT team, guns out, 'Hands up!,' screaming, yelling, terrifying everybody who was in there."
Rose Miranda, who is in her 60s, has arthritis and volunteers at the Phoenix Pain Management Society, was swept up in the raids a couple weeks ago at the clinic, and was held in custody and now faces criminal charges as she is photographed in Nanaimo, B.C., Thursday December 17, 2015. (Photo: CP)
Boyd said the federal government should consider immediately decriminalizing possession for personal use, while it works out the details of legalization. "It would send a message that we don't want law enforcement to be particularly focused on possession," he said. "I think it's a very small first step. We have tons of evidence globally that decriminalizing possession has no impact on rates of use or harms." Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, when asked whether she'd consider immediately decriminalizing possession, said charging for criminal offences is an enforcement issue. "Marijuana is still a Schedule 2 controlled substance under the (Controlled Drugs and Substances) Act and we'll be further considering that as we move forward." National RCMP spokeswoman Const. Annie Delisle said while the government designs a regime to legalize marijuana, the RCMP is still mandated to enforce current laws.
"We have tons of evidence globally that decriminalizing possession has no impact on rates of use or harms."
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould (Photo: CP)
"If I had that information two years ago, I would have said that we shouldn't legalize and decriminalize until you really have a system where you can check someone on the road," Dosanjh said. Meanwhile, Miranda is preparing herself for the possibility that she'll face the first criminal charge of her life — she's never even had a parking ticket. She said she hopes she won't have to go to prison to defend the rights of seniors to use medical marijuana. "I feel very angry, but defiant, because I know I'm doing the right thing. My conscience is clear. I am not a criminal," she said. — Follow @ellekane on Twitter.
"I feel very angry, but defiant, because I know I'm doing the right thing. My conscience is clear. I am not a criminal."
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