Pubdate: Fri, 18 Mar 2016
Source: Coast Reporter (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Coast Reporter
Page: 7

Medical marijuana


The owners of S&M Sweet Shoppe, a home-based dispensary in Selma Park
that was raided by RCMP on Nov. 28, 2015 for selling medical marijuana
edibles to an undercover officer without a prescription, have now been
charged with trafficking.

Doug Sikora has been charged with four counts of trafficking while
Michelle Sikora has been charged with three counts.

Charges stem from different times the undercover police officer had
contact with the Sikoras. Ultimately he purchased 23 marijuana-infused
candies and four marijuana infused teabags from S&M Sweet Shoppe
without a prescription.

The Sikoras said they were served with a summons for the charges on
March 8 while waiting to enter provincial court to challenge the
Sunshine Coast RCMP seizure of about $100,000 worth of product and
other related business items taken during the raid.

In court, the Sikoras said, they won the right to have their van
returned to them with the stipulation some wording in the advertising
on the van be covered up.

Michelle said the van was returned because the Sikoras were able to
prove it was a hardship to have it remain in RCMP custody. At present
the van is their only working vehicle.

The Sikoras still plan to appeal in Supreme Court the seizure of other
items such as their cell phone, computer, Doug's journals and various
forms of advertising, because the couple says they weren't afforded
three days notice of the RCMP's application to keep the items seized
for more than 90 days.

"When they're seeking an extension they have to give three clear days
notice to us. So they didn't do that, which meant that we weren't
allowed to be at the hearing to hear what evidence they were trying to
give that showed they needed to hold on to it," Michelle said.

"Because we would have said, 'Your honour, this was a six-month
investigation, they sought a telewarrant [warrant requested by phone],
which requires urgent and exigency circumstances to get on a Saturday,
and no charges have been laid, so why do they get an extension?' But
because we weren't afforded that opportunity to be there we couldn't
present that."

The Sikoras hope that by winning their appeal against having the
extension granted they can also avoid being convicted on the counts of
trafficking because those criminal charges weren't laid until after
the extension was granted by the court.

"We didn't get charged until March 8. They got the extension granted
on Feb. 18. So the whole case will revert back to then [Feb. 18]. They
have to go by timeline," Michelle said.

She plans to represent herself and Doug when they enter Sechelt
provincial court on March 30 to face the charges of

Sunshine Coast RCMP media relations officer Const. Harrison Mohr said
it's not uncommon for seizure extensions to be granted in certain
types of investigations.

"In lengthy/complex investigations, detention orders for seized
exhibits are commonly granted prior to charges being approved. Once
charges are approved, the detention of seized exhibits is essentially
extended automatically, although I'm not completely familiar with the
ins and outs of the legal process and terminology," he said.

"I can't comment on specifics about the process of obtaining the
extension (because I wasn't part of it and I'm not aware of all the
details), other than to confirm that now that charges have been
approved, the seized exhibits are subject to continued detention
pending the court proceedings."

If found guilty, the Sikoras could possibly face jail time, although
Mohr wasn't willing to speculate.

"I really don't know what sort of penalty they could potentially be
looking at. The CDSA [Controlled Drugs and Substances Act] states
maximum penalties for trafficking offences, however obviously many
considerations are taken into account during any sentencing
proceedings," Mohr said.

"By all accounts this may be a precedent-setting case."
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