MMJ Canada was shut down by Nelson police in March 2018. Five employees were arrested at the time, but will not be charged. File photo

Nelson police chief: Charges dropped against MMJ cannabis employees for lack of public interest

Chief Paul Burkart says federal prosecutors had no problems with the department’s investigation

Police Chief Paul Burkart says federal prosecutors have scrapped recommended charges against Nelson cannabis dispensary employees for a lack of public interest in pursuing the case.

Nelson police arrested five employees of MMJ Canada’s Nelson location on March 20, 2018. But on July 25 the Public Prosecutors Service of Canada (PPSC) said it would not approve charges against the employees.

The PPSC handles the prosecution of federal offenses such as organized crime, drugs and money laundering,

Burkart said in a statement Friday that the department was advised by Crown counsel that despite the decision it had no issues with the investigation.

“Our investigation into the MMJ and their staff included public complaints about the business, drug purchases done by undercover police officers, and the information which resulted from our search warrant,” said Burkart.

“Our investigation showed that MMJ was operating well outside what we expected from our dispensaries, and well outside what we felt would be acceptable to our courts and the case law that the judges created around the dispensaries.”

Burkart said five employees were arrested at the time of the raid, but a sixth person was also later arrested. He also said trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking were the recommended charges.

It’s also not clear if the federal legalization of cannabis nearly seven months after the arrests on Oct. 17, 2018 was a factor in the Crown’s decision.

A spokesperson for the PPSC previously declined to comment on the specifics of the decision and instead referred a Star reporter to section 2.3 of its guidelines titled “Decision to Prosecute,” which states:

“When deciding whether to initiate and conduct a prosecution on behalf of the federal Crown, Crown counsel must consider two issues:

“Is there is a reasonable prospect of conviction based on evidence that is likely to be available at trial? If there is, would a prosecution best serve the public interest?

“If the answer to either question is no, the test is not met, and the prosecution should not proceed. If charges have been laid, the charges should be withdrawn or a stay of proceedings entered.”

MMJ Canada’s location at 752 Vernon St. has been closed since the arrests.

“We are satisfied that MMJ has closed their operations in Nelson, as we do not believe that their business and their business practice was a good fit for our community,” said Burkart.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Kootenay Lake ferry to shut down Saturday afternoon

Service to resume Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m.

PHOTOS: Nelson climate strike packs downtown to demand action

An inter-generational crowd staged a ‘die-in’ as part of the global strike Friday

PLACE NAMES: Warfield neighbourhoods

Beaver Bend took its name from a CBC Radio series

Kootenay-Columbia incumbent MP responds to Trudeau brownface scandal

Stetski proud of NDP leader Singh’s reaction, which focused on people not power

Mystery illness killing Kootenay bees

Samples being sent to laboratories for analysis

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Most Read