Kirk Tousaw, a Vancouver lawyer whose legal victories have helped dismantle marijuana restrictions in Canada, compares the raids on six Saint John pot dispensaries to “taking a hammer to a pebble in your shoe.”
Tousaw is representing Lance Kangos, 44, Sarah Kirbyson, 26, and Kyle Vizino, 28, of Saint John, who were among those arrested after the Jan. 24 dispensary raids.
All three are associated with the King Canna dispensary, which Kirbyson manages and where Kangos is a budtender, an employee who serves customers at an establishment where marijuana is sold.
They are all charged with possession of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking, and Vizino faces an additional charge of trafficking.
Maximum penalties under the Criminal Code range from up to five years to life in prison, depending on the quantity of drugs seized.
Tousaw was part of the legal team that persuaded a Federal Court judge to strike down Canada’s medical cannabis system as unduly restrictive in the Neil Allard case, a precendent-setting decision that led Canada to implement new medical marijuana regulations in August 2016.
In 2015, in the Supreme Court of Canada, Tousaw successfully argued that Owen Smith, an employee of a Victoria dispensary, be acquitted on charges of possession of cannabis and possession for purposes of trafficking.
The court ruled that medical marijuana can’t be restricted to dried leaves that have to be smoked. The drug can also be consumed as baked sweets, oils and tea.