Toronto

Judge rules 2016 police raids at medical marijuana stores were legal

A judge on Friday ruled that police raids carried out in May 2016 at marijuana dispensaries in Toronto were not unconstitutional.

More than 90 people were charged following the Project Claudia raids in May 2016

Marijuana products including edibles and oils were confiscated during the Project Claudia raids in May, 2016. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/CP)

A judge on Friday ruled that police raids carried out in May 2016 at 43 medical marijuana dispensaries in Toronto were constitutional.

The constitutionality of the searches had been challenged by Mark Stupak — one of more than 90 people who were charged following the Project Claudia raids.

Stupak, the owner of the SoCo Medical Social Collective, was charged in 2016 with possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of the proceeds of crime — more than $5,000 in cash.

Alan Young — an Osgoode Hall Law School professor who represented Stupak — had argued the charges were unconstitutional because no clear-cut laws were in place at the time to provide relief for the legitimate medicinal marijuana users his client sells to.

Mark Stupak runs medicinal marijuana dispensaries in Toronto. (Lisa Xing/CBC News)

But in handing down here ruling, Justice Heather McArthur said the application must be denied.

"There was a valid exempting regime for medical marijuana at the time that the applicant was charged," McArthur said.

In June, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that medicinal pot users should be allowed access to a variety of marijuana products — oil, for example — rather than simply dried leaves.

But it took Ottawa until August of 2016 to put those new rules in place.

Young had argued marijuana retailers had the moral authority to fill the void by providing products to medicinal users over the counter.

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