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Canadian Police Seize Legal Cannabis Citing Old Rules

Tweed Inc. workers tend to medical marijuana plants at a new commercial operation set up inside a former Hershey's chocolate factory, in Smiths Falls, Ontario.
Tweed Inc. workers tend to medical marijuana plants at a new commercial operation set up inside a former Hershey's chocolate factory, in Smiths Falls, Ontario by Michel Comte

Politics

Canadian Police Seize Legal Cannabis Citing Old Rules

Canada’s first publicly traded medical marijuana company, Tweed Marijuana, Inc., has had a shipment of its marijuana seized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The shipment was headed to Tweed Marijuana, Inc. by a personal grower. The shipment had been cleared by Health Canada, yet the RCMP still seized the shipment.

Personal growers were to have been phased out in favor of centralized commercial growers. A court challenge repealed the new changes to the laws surrounding medical cannabis. It seems the RCMP were unaware personal growers were still legal sources of medical marijuana, for the time being.

Tweed had to purchase the shipment of marijuana from personal growers to meet an unexpected need from medicinal cannabis patients it is currently unable to supply. Currently there are only 12 active commercial growers to meet the over 40,000 Canadian medical marijuana patients.

The confusion stems from Health Canada’s plan to phase out private personal growers in favor of large commercial companies. Personal producers were to stop production and dispose of any medical marijuana they have in any stage of growth on April 1. A federal court hearing repealed that decision in March. The case is to be heard as a constitutional challenge later this year.

Tweed Marijuana informed the RCMP of their intent to import the medical cannabis from British Colombia growers. Health Canada spokeswoman Sara Lauer confirmed Friday that Tweed received the go-ahead to import the marijuana, as many of the other 11 commercial growers had already done. Under the old rules, personal growers were able, with federal approval, to sell their “starting kits” to the commercial growers. Starting kits contained material and plant life in all stages of growth.

“We felt everything was done absolutely correctly,” Tweed chairman Bruce Linton said. “When you call police to say, ‘Come look at this,’ you believe you have everything in order.”

Some confusion between dates seems to be the mix-up. The date Health Canada gave for the end of importing from personal growers was for this Monday. Since it was still Monday, Tweed Marijuana made the shipment, believing the end of this type of operation was at midnight Monday. The RCMP seemed to think that Sunday at midnight was the last day a legal medicinal cannabis shipment could be made.

Tweed Marijuana Inc.’s shares debuted on the TSX Venture Exchange Friday, where they opened at $4.60 per share, which was much higher than the initial asking price of 85 cents. The shares finally settled at $2.59 per share, valuing the company at $90.7 million.

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