Pubdate: Fri, 09 Oct 2015
Source: Barrie Examiner (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015, Barrie Examiner
Author: Tracy McLaughlin
Page: A3


Medical marijuana grower spent two years tied up in court after police
sting, arrest

NEWMARKET - A huge undercover police sting that saw a medical
pot-grower dragged through the courts for two years ended with a grand
slam in court Thursday - a $10 fine.

"This is ludicrous," an exasperated Clifford Dawson said outside
court. "This cost the taxpayers millions and two years of my life. All
for $10? Does this make any sense?"

Dawson, 34, of Innisfil, who walks with a cane and suffers from
scoliosis, pleaded guilty to production ofmarijuana.

"I am satisfied with the joint submission by both counsel for a $10
fine," said Judge Mary Vallee, who also took into consideration the
length of time Dawson has been on bail since his arrest on Dec. 18,

Dawson had a licence to produce marijuana, which he used to make a
topical ointment for pain, but he was only allowed to grow 50 plants
at a time and was busted with 150 plants.

He explained the growing cycle has three stages from seedling to plant
to flower, and he had approximately 50 plants in each batch.

"It's how the herb is farmed," he said. "I'm not a drug user - I don't
even smoke the stuff."

Two years ago, 30 armed tactical officers woke Dawson in his home, put
him face down and cuffed him while aiming guns at his head.

"They had assault rifles pointed at my pregnant wife," Dawson said.
"It was terrifying."

Since then, he has spent thousands in legal fees.

His lawyer, Margaret Osadet, says the cost of the seven-week
undercover operation, which included tactical and intelligence
officers from OPP, Barrie and South Simcoe police, combined with two
years in the courts, would be in the millions.

"They had some 30 officers on this case, all-day surveillance, they
executed six search warrants," Osadet said. "And to what end? Ten
dollars? This is a waste of resources."

Dawson and Osadet say it's time to relax the laws against marijuana,
which helps many people deal with sickness and pain.

"From my knowledge, the only crime anyone commits while using
marijuana is over-eating," Osadet said.

Two other men were also arrested in the sting. Police suspected they
were cranking out the product for illegal sale, but all charges were
dropped because of lack of evidence.
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