Business owner says more education needed after police raid suspected pot shops
Search happened during police crackdown on unlicensed cannabis dispensaries
Kelly Csada was left disappointed after police targeted her cannabis education business during a crackdown on suspected unlicensed dispensaries in Regina.
Police seized marijuana, oil, candies, edibles and creams, along with cash and documents "related to the sale of illicit cannabis," from four different businesses on Monday.
Csada's business, Kelz, was one of the shops searched, even though she says it's not a dispensary.
She says her business provides consultation services for people wanting to use cannabis for medicinal reasons. Csada said there used to be cannabis products in her shop, but she removed them after police sent out a warning letter to dispensaries amidst legalization.
Csada said many of her clients are 50 years old and up, some of whom were there when police arrived to carry out a search warrant. She said incidents like this add to the stigma around medical cannabis, especially for her older clients.
"We grew up around the propaganda, around prohibition, so we were taught [cannabis] was something you shouldn't touch, shouldn't go near. Now it's being used as a medicine, it's so much different," she said.
"To change the mindset ... and have the police come in, take [clients'] information and make them leave, it's very disheartening."
A Regina police spokesperson said the searches were carried out after weeks of investigation.
"The investigation began as the result of an allegation or complaint received by our police service," said an emailed statement.
Not only did the search upset Csada and her clients, she was also fined $250.
When police arrived she said she had a cannabis-infused chocolate bar she periodically eats to help treat symptoms of Crohn's disease.
She voluntarily told police about the chocolate bar when officers presented the search warrant. She said she's permitted to use medicinal marijuana and explained to officers it was legal for her to posses it since she has a prescription.
But she was given a fine for possessing illicit cannabis.
"It's a little disheartening to find out that you're getting a ticket for something that you're consuming in a place where you felt safe to consume your medicine," she said.
"Medicinal is totally different from recreational. That's not what I'm looking for, is to get high on a Friday night, I'm looking to keep my disease under control."
She said she understands police are doing their jobs and she has "total, utmost respect for our police service," but she will be challenging the fine in court.