Pubdate: Mon, 26 Mar 2007
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Page: Front Page, Top of Page
Copyright: 2007 The London Free Press
Author: Jane Sims and Norman De Bono, Sun Media
Note: MAP archives articles exactly as published, except that our 
editors may redact the names and addresses of accused persons who 
have not been convicted of a crime, if those named are not otherwise 
public figures or officials.
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal - Canada)
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


The London Compassion Society, Providing Therapeutic Marijuana, Has 
Been Shut Down.

Raid Closes Local Compassion Society

Drugs worth nearly $1 million -- including 840 marijuana plants -- 
were found in several units of a downtown building raided by London 
drug squad officers.

The office of the London Compassion Society was one of four units at 
343 Richmond St. searched by police on Saturday.

Officers seized 840 marijuana plants, marijuana, magic mushrooms, 
LSD, cocaine and $22,000 in Canadian and American currency, police 
said yesterday.

[redacted] are charged with several drug-related offences, including 
possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.

Police are continuing their investigation.

Two employees of the Organic Traveller, a store at 343 Richmond St. 
selling drug paraphernalia, said [redacted] owned the store and also 
operated the London Compassion Society out of a unit at the same address.

"I came into work Saturday morning and there were cops standing in 
the lobby," said [redacted], one of the workers at the store.

"They marched me in the back and asked me for ID and there were cops 

The London Compassion Society is part of a network of societies 
across Canada that opened to provide marijuana to people who use it 
for medical reasons.

A message on the society's answering machine yesterday said it will 
be "closed until further notice."

Marc Emery, a former Londoner and one of Canada's best known 
crusaders for the legalization of marijuana, denounced the police 
raid on the London Compassion Society.

"It's clearly an injustice and clearly they're going to hurt people 
by this action," he said in from Vancouver, where he now resides.

"It's a terrible tragedy because otherwise people will be grubbing 
around on the streets" to obtain marijuana they are legally entitled 
to, Emery said.

Growing equipment and 840 plants in various stages of growth were 
found in three units at at 343 Richmond St, police said.

Though marijuana grow operations are common in homes, they have 
rarely been found in London apartments.

Grow ops can be found within a 15-minute walk of any house in London, 
police Chief Murray Faulkner said last night.

"This is a significant drug bust but by no means will it slow our 
drug squad down at all," he said.

"Drugs are driving a lot of criminal offences in our city."

A resident in the building said he was not surprised to see police 
early Saturday morning.

"I saw a lot of police, but here that can mean anything," said Jamie Nagy.

"I didn't hear anything about this, but it surprises me. If it was a 
grow house, you think I would have smelled it."

[redacted], another employee of the Organic Traveller who would only 
give his first name, questioned why police would crack down on grow 
houses, when violent crime and harder drug use is common.

"Why are they busting grow houses when there are crack houses 
nearby?" said [redacted]. "They never touch them. People are out 
there, stabbing and harassing others, and they come here."

The workers also praised the compassion society as offering a 
necessary service to those with medical needs, and questioned why 
police would shut it down.

"There are people there with arthritis, or in a wheelchair with AIDS 
and cancer, and they eat cookies and brownies that make them feel 
better," [redacted] said. "They are very transparent about what they do."

The centre requires medical proof of illness and have to apply for admission. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake