Pubdate: Tue, 29 Aug 2017
Source: Metro (Halifax, CN NS)
Copyright: 2017 Metro Canada
Author: Zane Woodford
Page: 2


'Alleged illegal activity' only at one location

All five Tasty Budds medical marijuana dispensaries in Nova Scotia
have reopened following raids last week, and allegations of illegal
activity that the chain's owner says were confined to just one location.

Police searched four homes and five Tasty Budds dispensaries last week
after an eight-month investigation, and laid charges against nine
people, including Tasty Budds president Mal McMeekin.

Police said those searches turned up a loaded handgun, a shotgun,
cocaine, marijuana, shatter, hash, oil, edibles, and large amounts of
cash. One man, 31-year-old Jarrett Randall Shrum of Bedford, was
charged with trafficking cocaine, plus seven firearms charges
including possession of a firearm obtained by crime and tampering with
a firearm's serial number.

In a statement to media on Monday, McMeekin apologized and wrote that
the "alleged illegal activity" was happening at just one location, in
Lower Sackville, and Tasty Budds does not condone or promote such activity.

"This is a gross violation of our code of conduct, our ethics, and
everything that Tasty Budds stands for," McMeekin wrote.

In an interview, McMeekin said everyone at the Lower Sackville
location was dismissed, and the location has reopened under new management.

Mcmeekin confirmed all five Tasty Budds dispensaries in Nova Scotia
are now back up and running, and said their focus will be back on
serving medical marijuana patients.

Dispensaries themselves are illegal, since the federal government
doesn't allow medical marijuana to be sold in storefronts, but
McMeekin argues patients have a Charter right to direct access to
medical marijuana.

"Just from us being back open, the amount of people that are coming
here and thanking us that we're back here to help them because they
have nowhere else to go or no other way of getting their medicine, it
shows that we need to do it," he said.

McMeekin, and Tasty Budds CEO Norman Lawrence, are due in Dartmouth
provincial court in October to face charges of trafficking and
possession of marijuana, cannabis resin, and cannabidiol, and
possession of property obtained by proceeds of crime. McMeekin also
faces weapons charges, including unauthorized possession of a weapon
and unsafe storage of weapon, but he said his firearm is legal.

"It's a rifle that I bought brand new with my firearms licence," he

"It wasn't a stolen rifle, or a stolen shotgun or anything, it was one
that is registered to me."

McMeekin said he'll be fighting the charges in court.
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