Medical pot user seeking payment for dope seizure

February 20, 2005

Elaine O\'Connor, Vancouver Province

Pot activist Brian Carlisle had his medical marijuana seized by the Abbotsford police.

Now he wants compensation.

Carlisle, 35, has filed a suit with the B.C. Supreme Court against the police and the City of Abbotsford, claiming payment for the seized pot.

Carlisle has a Health Canada exemption to use and cultivate medicinal marijuana to treat his symptoms of AIDS, hepatitis C and glaucoma.

On Jan. 6, Abbotsford police raided a Bradner Road property of Carlisle's friend and fellow marijuana activist, Tim Felger. There, they uncovered 2,090 marijuana plants.

The pot was confiscated, but Carlisle was permitted to retrieve 25 plants he was growing on the property for his use.

He's suing for $19,250 in compensation for an additional 1,925 grams of dried pot also seized.

Carlisle is allowed to possess 150 grams, to store 1,875 grams and grow up to 19 indoor and five outdoor plants under Marijuana Medical Access Regulations.

Abbotsford police Const. Shinder Kirk said yesterday that police tried to ensure Carlisle was accommodated after serving a warrant on the property at Bradner Road. When police became aware some plants legally belonged to Carlisle as a medical marijuana user, they permitted retrieval, Kirk said.

'We are extremely understanding of the need for medicinal marijuana for certain individuals that have gone through the proper channels of being licensed,' Kirk said. 'But at issue here, in addition to those 25 plants, there were more than 2,000 plants.'

It's the second time that Carlisle, a criminology student and former law clerk, has brought a case against police for confiscating his dope.

In a January 2003 ruling, Madam Justice Linda Loo ordered Hope RCMP to return plants and equipment taken from Carlisle's former home in Hope in June 2001.

Carlisle publicly expressed his outrage at the time of the seizure, arguing in the media he had followed protocols. He suggested in interviews that other users were also growing crops on Felger's property.

Felger and an associate were arrested during the Jan. 6 search.

Felger was charged with production of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance and breach of an undertaking (this is his third such charge in recent years.) His case will be heard in April.

In the interim, Carlisle must find a new location to cultivate his supply of medical marijuana, since local bylaws state electricity must be cut after discovery of a grow-op.

Carlisle doesn't want to grow his supply in his own house because of his fear of grow-rips.

A group of thieves invaded his former home in Chilliwack in September 2004.

Carlisle ran a compassion club in Chilliwack, the Holy Smoke Healing Centre, for almost two years, helping up to 81 people, before it was shut down in 2004.

He ran for mayor of Chilliwack in 2002 as the sole opponent to incumbent Clint Hames, but lost.

Carlisle is not the only B.C.-based medical marijuana activist to have his cannabis successfully restored through the courts.

In January 2003, provincial court Judge Dan Moon ordered Sechelt RCMP to return grow equipment and three-quarters of a pound of marijuana to medical-user Steve Kubby, after police seized 154 plants from his home in April 2002.

Kubby suffers from adrenal gland cancer. The U.S. native, who moved to Canada in 2001, won his case despite the fact he was only granted his medical marijuana exemption after the raid.

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eoconnor@png.canwest.com



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