'There are different rules for medical patients': Regina woman says she was wrongfully charged for possession of medicinal cannabis
REGINA -- Regina police searched four “unlicensed cannabis dispensaries” this week, and one of the people involved thinks the subsequent charge against her may be erroneous.
Kelly Csada is the owner of Kelz, a business that provides education on “cannabis-based alternatives” to treat various medical conditions. The business’ website advertises selling flower strains and edibles.
“We help them figure out, okay they’ve got these capsules out there, or this oil, or a CBD, or maybe even what flower can help them with their specific ailment,” Csada said.
Csada was charged with possession of illicit cannabis. She says the reason for the charge was a piece of cannabis infused chocolate she uses to treat Crohn’s disease.
“I told [police], there is a cannabis product here, and I took them into my back room to a fridge where I keep my personal medicine. I usually take a little quarter of a square of chocolate around noon when I’m here for a full day,” Csada said.
Not enough education
Csada says she doesn’t believe there has been enough education for the Regina Police Service, the government and the public.
In 2015 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that medical marijuana could be legally consumed by patients in a variety of ways, including through infused foods.
The ruling followed the 2009 arrest of Owen Smith, a former baker for the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada, who was charged after police raided his home in Victoria and found over 200 cannabis-infused cookies, as well as cooking oils.
Smith was acquitted at trial and later won an appeal.
Csada says that, since she has a prescription for medical marijuana, it is legal for her to ingest cannabis in any form according to the 2015 Supreme Court ruling.
“Maybe I got my cannabis from a legal rec store, and infused it into chocolate,” she said. “They need to understand that there are different rules for medical patients. This is my medicine.”
The Regina Police Service says that weeks, and even months went into investigating the dispensaries that were searched this week.
“In the case of one of these dispensaries, we have known about that one since January 2018,” Elizabeth Popowich with RPS said. “Everyone involved in this latest round of charges were fully and directly aware of our public education, and direct contact to cease and desist dispensing cannabis.”
The patient’s perspective
Patti Wood has been using cannabis medicinally since she began chemotherapy for breast cancer. She says the relationship between the medicinal community and the Regina police is good, but doesn’t think medical patients should have to pay recreational prices.
“[I use] CBD oil, I can get it for $60, but if I go and buy this from a licensed producer that’s $250,” Wood said. “Medical patients cannot treat themselves at these prices, and they have no coverage at all.”
Wood said she continues to buy her products on the black market.
With files from CTV News Regina's Stefanie Davis and the Canadian Press.