A man who runs a medical marijuana shop raided by police last week was granted bail in Halifax provincial court Monday.
Christopher Enns, 31, of East Chezzetcook was arrested Thursday after police executed a search warrant at Farm Assists Cannabis Resource Centre on Gottingen Street in Halifax.
Enns and Frank Gerard Nelder, 35, of Halifax are charged with trafficking marijuana and possession of both marijuana and hashish for the purpose of trafficking.
Nelder was released from custody Friday on an undertaking, but Enns was held for a bail hearing.
Enns’s hearing got underway Friday and concluded Monday with lawyers working out release conditions.
Enns was released on a $2,000 property recognizance with one surety after agreeing to remain in Nova Scotia, have no contact with Nelder and refrain from possessing or consuming drugs without a prescription or legal authorization.
Judge Bill Digby refused a request by the Crown to order Enns to stay away from the Farm Assists shop while awaiting trial.
Defence lawyer Lyle Howe said Enns conducts a great deal of legitimate business at the Gottingen Street address and such a condition would be inappropriate and “overkill.”
Crown attorney Jonathan Langlois-Sadubin said this is the third time Enns has been charged with committing drug offences in the past three years.
“All the offences are alleged to have occurred at marijuana stores and marijuana dispensaries,” he said.
Allowing Enns to return to the shop would increase the propensity for further offences and put other people in jeopardy, the prosecutor argued.
The judge said Enns, unlike most drug traffickers, is not in it for the money or to support his own habit but because he believes there are medically valid reasons for people to be allowed to use marijuana.
“A great deal of his time and energy are devoted to being able to ensure that people who have a medical need for marijuana have that need met,” Digby said.
Although Canada’s new Liberal government has promised to legalize pot, Enns must follow the law until it is changed, the judge said.
He urged Enns to only sell to people who are licensed to use marijuana medicinally.
“People are relying on you,” Digby told Enns. “There is no perfect choice for you. You can’t be all things to all people.”
Enns and Nelder are due back in court Jan. 29.
The release conditions imposed Monday also apply to Enns’s two earlier sets of charges.
He faces two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking from March 2013, when police raided his home and a Porters Lake hydroponics business called the Grow-Op Shop.
And he was charged with trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking after a raid on Farm Assists in September 2014.
The Farm Assists shop carries a large supply of wares, including bongs and other pro-marijuana goods. Enns has said his shop stocks about 12 strains of weed for licensed medical marijuana users.
There was a strong smell of weed at the Spring Garden Road courthouse Monday, as more than two dozen people showed up to support Enns. Some of them carried signs and waved a flag on the sidewalk to protest the latest raid.
In a news release, Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society said its members were shocked and saddened by the actions of police. The group said officers seized all marijuana products on site, including cannabis and cash owned by patients who are legally permitted to carry cannabis.
The society is starting a letter-writing campaign to bring the raid and the “perplexities” of accessing medicinal cannabis in Canada to the immediate attention of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, chairwoman Debbie Stultz-Giffin said in the release.
“Prime Minister Trudeau promised to legalize cannabis in Friday’s speech from the throne,” Stultz-Giffin said. “However, immediate focus should be placed on the plight of patients living in crisis situations due to an unconstitutional medical cannabis program and the current state of the antiquated cannabis law.
“Critically and chronically ill Canadians and their medication providers are being arrested and incarcerated while this process transpires. Each day that the medical cannabis program is ignored is another day patients requiring therapeutic cannabis and their medication providers needlessly suffer.”