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Not Guilty!

by tedsmith » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:30 pm

Well it looks like the charges of trafficking THC against Owen Smith are going to be dropped by the Crown. Kirk Tousaw talked with the Crown today and they have finally concluded that there is little chance of convicting Owen by a jury. So on Jan 10 we are going to get in front of the judge and the Crown will enter no evidence against him, giving the judge no choice but to make a not guilty verdict. We do not know if the Crown is going to appeal the decision. For now, though, we can celebrate the holidaze knowing Owen will not be found guilty of any crimes.
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by tedsmith » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:15 pm

PRESS RELEASE

Victoria Cannabis Buyers’ Club

Contact: Ted Smith FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Dec 26, 2012:

CROWN TO DROP CASE AGAINST OWEN SMITH WITH REGARD TO HIS 2009 ARREST AT THE CANNABIS BUYERS’ CLUB BAKERY

Victoria, BC.- The Victoria Cannabis Buyers’ Club is thrilled to announce that the Crown will be dropping its case against Owen Smith, who was being charged with possession of THC for the purposes of trafficking in connection with a raid at our bakery back in 2009.

This comes after a decision in April of this year by Justice Johnston of the BC Supreme Court that the restrictions placed by the MMAR prohibiting patients from making or using cannabis extracts and food products are unconstitutional.

A press conference will take place at 11am tomorrow, Thurs December 27th, at 826 Johnson Street. Owen will be available for questions and comments, as will Ted Smith, who was his employer at the time, and anti-prohibitionist lawyer Kirk Tousaw.

826 Johnson St. Victoria BC, V8W 1N3, (250) 381-4220

www.v-cbc.ca

###
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by papapuff » Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:54 pm

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by papapuff » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:58 am

Times Colonist



Pot baker in clear, but more battles may loom


LOUISE DICKSON , TIMES COLONIST DECEMBER 29, 2012


Image
OWEN SMITH, SHOWN IN JANUARY WITH DEFENCE LAWYER KIR TOUSAW.
PHOTOGRAPH BY: DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

The head baker of the Cannabis Buyers’ Club of Canada will be acquitted of two outstanding drug offences — but medical-marijuana fans shouldn’t celebrate too quickly.

Lawyers say the Crown has left the door open to appeal a landmark medical-marijuana ruling that allowed people authorized to use marijuana to drink it in tea or bake it in brownies or cookies.

In April, Owen Smith won a constitutional challenge against Health Canada’s medical-marijuana laws. Smith had been charged in December 2009 with possession for the purpose of trafficking and unlawful possession of marijuana after the manager of the Chelsea apartments on View Street complained to police about a strong, offensive smell wafting through the building.

Police obtained a search warrant and recovered substantial quantities of cannabis-infused olive and grapeseed oil, as well as pot cookies, destined for sale through the Cannabis Buyers’ Club.

Smith’s trial began Jan. 16 but moved quickly into a voir dire — a trial within a trial — to allow defence lawyer Kirk Tousaw to challenge the validity of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act regarding marijuana.

Although Smith pleaded not guilty to the charges, admissions of fact were entered into the court record, in which he acknowledged essential elements of the offences.

In the end, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Johnston ruled that it’s unconstitutional to restrict medical-marijuana patients to using dried pot. He gave Health Canada a year to respond to his ruling.

Although Tousaw asked Johnston to enter a stay of proceedings, arguing that Smith stepped in to fill a legislative void, Johnston denied the application. Smith was ordered to stand trial and jury selection was scheduled for February.

On Friday, Tousaw said he had received a call from the Crown saying the jury trial is no longer necessary.

“The trial has been rescheduled for the morning of Jan. 10,” said Tousaw.

“The Crown will not be calling evidence against Mr. Smith and they will invite the judge to enter a not-guilty verdict.”

Paul Pearson, co-chairman of the Canadian Bar Association’s criminal section in Victoria, said the decision probably means the Crown is leaving the door open for an appeal.

“If the Crown withdrew the charges or stayed the charges themselves, then they can’t appeal it,” said Pearson.

“This is the way for them to end it quickly and not waste time on this trial before the court. They can get right to the question of the constitutionality of the legislation. Whether they will or not is a political decision.”

When Smith’s trial is over, the Public Prosecution Service has 30 days to appeal.

This decision and the implications are much more broad-reaching than Smith, Pearson said.

“They’re looking across the country. They’re looking at national importance. They’re looking at this decision in a very large forest-for-the-trees way and Mr. Smith is only one tree.”

ldickson@timescolonist.com
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by tedsmith » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:08 pm

Our lawyer, Kirk Tousaw, talking about Owen`s case. and other current topics.

http://audio.ataraxia.biz/cmap/tousaw_cfax_20130108.mp3
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by tedsmith » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:01 am

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local ... es-1.44762

Nanaimo cannabis baker acquitted on drug charges

Ben Ingram , Nanaimo Daily News January 10, 2013

NANAIMO — In a case that may have national ramifications, the head baker of the Cannabis Buyers’ Club of Canada has been acquitted of outstanding drug offences.

The charges against Owen Smith — possession for the purpose of trafficking and unlawful possession of marijuana — have been at the centre of a successful constitutional challenge against Health Canada’s medical marijuana laws. April’s landmark ruling allowed people who are authorized to use medical marijuana to drink it in tea or bake it in brownies and cookies.

Despite the ruling, Smith still faced the original charges.

The 30-year-old was charged in December 2009 after the manager of the Chelsea apartments on View Street complained to police about a strong, offensive smell wafting through the building.

Officers obtained a search warrant and recovered substantial quantities of cannabis-infused olive and grapeseed oil, as well as pot cookies destined for sale through the Cannabis Buyers’ Club.

Smith’s trial began Jan. 16, 2012, but moved quickly into a voir dire — a trial within a trial — to allow defence lawyer Kirk Tousaw to challenge the validity of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act regarding medical marijuana. Tousaw argued that it was unconstitutional to not allow dry marijuana to be rendered into oils and other substances for medical purposes.

Although Smith pleaded not guilty to the charges, admissions of fact were entered into the court record in which he acknowledged the essential elements of the offences.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Johnston ruled it unconstitutional to restrict medical-marijuana patients to only using dried pot. He gave Health Canada a year to respond to the decision.

Although Tousaw asked Johnston to enter a stay of proceedings, arguing Smith’s service filled a legislative void, Johnston denied the application. Smith was ordered to stand trial and jury selection was scheduled for February.

In December, Tousaw said he’d received a call from the Crown saying it did not intend to enter any evidence and would ask the judge to acquit Smith.

At the time, lawyers said the legal manoeuvre left the door open for an appeal. If the Crown had withdrawn or stayed the charges, it could not appeal Johnston’s ruling.

Smith appeared in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo on Thursday. The Crown did not call evidence against Smith and the 30-year-old was acquitted.

Tousaw said he hopes Smith’s case will go before the B.C. Court of Appeal.

“I look forward to going to the Court of Appeal and hopefully seeing Judge Johnston’s decision affirmed,” he said.

Paul Pearson, co-chairman of the Canadian Bar Association’s criminal section in Victoria, said a Court of Appeal ruling affirming Johnston’s decision could have a far-reaching impact.

“It has broad ramifications for medical marijuana users in B.C. and potentially across the country,” Pearson said. “But what is unknown, at this time, is how the government is going to respond.”

After his brief court appearance, Smith said he was happy to avoid a criminal record. However, he’s concerned about what could happen to treatment options if the Crown pursues an appeal.

“I’m glad that I’ve seen it be verified in this very serious way,” he said.

The Crown has 30 days to appeal the ruling.
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by papapuff » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:25 am

CBC.ca



Head baker at B.C. pot dispensary not guilty of trafficking


CBC News

Posted: Jan 11, 2013 7:54 AM PT
Last Updated: Jan 11, 2013 7:12 AM PT

The head baker for a medical marijuana dispensary in Victoria, B.C., has been found not guilty of possession and trafficking.

Owen Smith was charged in 2009 and admitted to making marijuana cookies and pot-based creams for medical marijuana users.

However, an earlier court ruling found the law governing baked marijuana, which limited medical marijuana users to smoking pot only, is unconstitutional.

At a hearing on Thursday, the Crown decided against presenting any evidence against Smith, so the B.C. Supreme Court judge declared him not guilty.

Ted Smith, the former head of the Cannabis Buyers' Club of Canada, says the Crown can’t retry Owen Smith.

But he does expect the Crown to appeal the constitutional ruling.

"Owen is free and clear of all criminal charges,” he said.

“They're not going to be able to go back and have a new trial and now we work our way up to the higher courts, hopefully to the Supreme Court of Canada."

Smith says he'd welcome a Supreme Court challenge.

"The higher it goes, to hopefully the Supreme Court of Canada, then the stronger the decision will be and then the court can make it binding on Health Canada and the entire country,” he said.

The Crown has 30 days to decide whether it will appeal the constitutional ruling.
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by zigzag1a » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:31 am

very good news, congrats all!!
Medical marijuana exemptee.

"I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do."
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by papapuff » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:01 pm

Nanaimo Daily News



Cannabis baker acquitted of drug charge


Ben Ingram, Daily News
Published: Friday, January 11, 2013

The head baker of the Cannabis Buyers' Club of Canada has been acquitted of two drug charges in a case that legal experts say could have national ramifications - but the fight may not be over yet.

Owen Smith, 30, appeared in court in Nanaimo on Thursday in relation to marijuana possession charges he received after a December 2009 police raid on his Victoria apartment.

Officers found a large amount of cannabis-infused cooking oils and baked goods that were destined for sale through the Cannabis Buyers' Club. Smith was charged with possession of marijuana for the purposes of trafficking.

The compassion club employee fought the charges with a constitutional challenge against Canadian medical marijuana laws. The defence argued that it was unconstitutional to prevent dry marijuana from being rendered into oils and other substances for medical purposes.

"It's more about how the decision would affect the overall regulatory scheme, not just now in B.C. but potentially across Canada," said Smith's lawyer, Kirk Tousaw.

Smith had pleaded not guilty to the charges, but did previously admit that he had possessed products that contained the drug with the intent to sell it. Nevertheless, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Johnston had ruled it unconstitutional to restrict patients to use of only the dried plant. Health Canada was given a year to respond to the decision and Smith was expected to face a jury, but last month the defence was told that the Crown did not intend to enter any evidence.

The case could go before the Court of Appeal, the highest court in the province.

"It's definitely a huge step in the right direction. I look forward to going to the Court of Appeal and hopefully seeing Judge Johnston's decision affirmed," said Tousaw.

The lawyer said such a decision could confirm that under the Charter, critically ill patients have the right to use marijuana in any manner they wish, in addition to smoking or vaporizing the dried plant.

Paul Pearson of the Canadian Bar Association said such a decision could have a far-reaching impact on the country's drug laws.

"This case is bigger than him," said Pearson. "It has broad ramifications for medical marijuana users in B.C. and potentially across the country, but what is unknown at this time is how the government is going to respond."

Smith said he was happy to have avoided a criminal record thus far, but said treatment options for the critically ill across the country will be on the line if the Crown pursues an appeal.

He said about a dozen members of the club are prepared to testify if that should happen.

"I'm glad that I've seen it be verified in this very serious way. We'd like to see that continue, to help people," he said. "It's in the Crown's hands right now."

The Crown has 30 days to appeal the ruling.

BIngram@nanaimodailynews.com 250-729-4228

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by tedsmith » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:47 pm

One win for all cannabis-kind

Danielle Pope - Monday Magazine
Published: January 16, 2013

http://www.mondaymag.com/news/187168411.html

Despite historic ruling, marijuana growers now face new hurdle

A historic court decision has dropped all drug charges against the former baker of the Cannabis Buyer’s Club — a win that is likely to have ramifications across the country, according to the club’s lawyer. But despite the good news for marijuana advocates, a new battle has now crested the horizon.

Club baker Owen Smith was officially acquitted in the B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo on Thurs., Jan. 10. While the case is expected to head to the B.C. Court of Appeal, Smith’s lawyer Kirk Tousaw is pleased with the prospect, stating that a Court of Appeal ruling affirming Thursday’s decision could have a far-reaching impact.

“We’ve been very excited with the progress in the court hearings, and now Mr. Smith is forever able to say that he was found not guilty — he is not a criminal in helping other Canadians,” says Tousaw. “A ruling from the B.C. Court of Appeal has an affect on all courts across Canada … this would really enshrine patients’ rights.”

The now 30-year-old Smith was charged back in December 2009 after the manager of the Chelsea apartments on View Street complained to police about a “strong, offensive smell” wafting through the building. Officers obtained a search warrant and recovered substantial quantities of cannabis-infused olive and grapeseed oil, as well as pot cookies destined for sale through the Cannabis Buyers’ Club.

Though Smith’s trial began a year ago on Jan. 16, 2012, it moved into a voir dire — a trial within a trial — to allow Tousaw to challenge the validity of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act regarding medical marijuana. Tousaw argued that it was a patient’s right to chose how to ingest the substance and that it was unconstitutional to not allow dry marijuana to be rendered into oils and other substances for medical purposes.

Smith, who stepped down from his position as club baker shortly after he was charged, has been maintaining a role in the club by contributing to its regular newsletter and working on illustrative and social media campaigns. While he may not be baking, he intends to continue participating in the club and says he is thrilled that the ruling has “broadened his horizons,” especially regarding travel, now that he won’t be subject to a criminal record.

“The club is constantly transforming and adapting as needs change, and I imagine so will my role,” says Smith. “I’m not sure what my future holds … but today I’m really happy.”

Celebrations aside, the club is already starting its campaign to object to the proposed regulation scheme put forward last month by Health Canada. The proposal, entitled Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), would move cannabis production away from residences and into spaces operated by commercial producers. Health Canada representatives have stated this move will reduce crime in neighbourhoods and make it easier for police to control illegal grow-ops, but club representatives say this would remove patients’ ability to grow their own medicine, especially if they wish to use a particular strain of cannabis that is suited to their own condition. The proposal could also mean that medicine will cost patients who grow their own several times more than it currently does.

“Taking away a patient’s right to grow is abysmal, and though we support the idea of a commercial industry, we’re very concerned about these proposed changes,” says Ted Smith, who is not related to Owen.

The government will stop issuing growers licenses on Oct. 1, with the new regulations scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2014. Smith has organized a rally in front of the legislature for Feb. 21, which falls inside the 75-day public consultation period that allows Canadians to pressure officials on the matter.

“Removing a patient’s right to grow a plant that heals them is reprehensible,” says Tousaw. “Absolutely, there should be easier access to this, both as medicine and for non-medicinal purposes. This is probably the safest recreational substance that people consume, period.” M

Contact Health Canada directly at consultations-marihuana@hc-sc.gc.ca.
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