Nova Scotia

Dozens rally at Sydney courthouse after marijuana dispensary busts

More than 50 people in Sydney, N.S., rallied at the courthouse today following a series of police raids late last week.

After a series of raids, police charged 3 people and shut down 2 properties they say were operating illegally

About 50 people gathered at the courthouse in Sydney on Monday in support of three people charged following recent marijuana seizures. (CBC)

More than 50 people rallied at the courthouse in Sydney, N.S., today in support of three people charged following marijuana seizures at homes and businesses late last week.

Police said two of the four Sydney locations raided on Friday were illegal dispensaries operating under the name Cape Breton Medical Cannabis.

Supporters of the accused stood outside the courtroom on Monday shouting "plants not pills" as sheriffs stood by.

They continued to protest inside the courtroom chanting "we want our medicine" as one of the accused was led in. The judge warned spectators to be quiet or face being removed from the court.

Police displayed the marijuana and products seized in weekend raids of two Sydney homes and two businesses. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

The mother of one of the accused attended today's court date and criticized last week's raids.

"He did crime when he was young and now he's out to help the people and give back to the community, and this is what 
they do to him," she said. "They wrecked his houses. They wrecked his businesses. They wrecked everything."

Police seized 11 kilograms of marijuana and THC products. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

One of the protesters, Amanda Forrest, said she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia two years ago and doctors prescribed her pain medication and anti-depressants.

"Nothing worked. They made me sick. They made me angry," she said. "A couple of months ago, I became a patient of Cape Breton Medical Cannabis and since then, I am able to do things with my kids. It eases my migraines."

Forrest said her migraines have returned this week because she hasn't been able to get cannabis since the raid.

Three Sydney residents were charged: one with firearm offences and two with possession for the purpose of trafficking in marijuana. Police also seized $20,000 in cash and 11.3 kilograms of marijuana.

Two of the accused will be back in court later this month for election and to enter pleas. The man facing firearms charges remains in custody and will be back in court on Friday for a bail hearing.

With files from Gary Mansfield