Legal action pending over marijuana dispensary raid
Now that a drug trafficking charge against him has been dropped, the former operator of a Langley City medical marijuana dispensary is planning to sue the people he says slandered his reputation.
“If they think this was funny and I’m going to roll over and ignore it, they’re in for a surprise,” says Randy Caine, whose Langley Medical Marijuana dispensary closed following a July 2011 raid by RCMP.
The charge against Caine, one count of possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, was dropped during a June 3, 2013 court appearance.
Under a plea bargain with the federal prosecutor in the case, Caine pleaded guilty to less serious violations of exceeding the amount of marijuana he was allowed under his Health Canada licence and of storing it improperly on the dispensary premises.
The deal granted Caine an absolute discharge on both counts.
Under Canadian law, an absolute discharge is not considered a conviction.
A record of an absolute discharge is kept on the Canadian Police Information Centre, a central police database, for three years, then purged.
Caine also agreed to a forfeiture order that means police do not have to return what they seized — more than eight pounds of marijuana and what an RCMP release described as “a large quantity of marijuana products, including cookies and candies.”
“Its like exceeding your quota on a fishing licence,” Caine says.
“You don’t get to keep the fish.”
The loss of the product, legal expenses and selling the dispensary office space in a Fraser Highway business condominium at a loss have cost him around $100,000, Caine estimates.
All over what he describes as a “quota violation” that could have been handled without a police raid or criminal prosecution.
He won’t reveal who he is planning to sue at the moment, but Caine says he will be going after people who spread “absolute, blatant, malicious lies” that portrayed him as a criminal when his dispensary had a legal licence to provide medicinal marijuana.
“I’m pissed about that,” Caine says.
“This is to set the record straight.”
He admits he exceeded the two-patient limit his licence allowed by serving “about 150” clients, but that was a matter between him and Health Canada, Caine says, and it did not warrant a police raid and two-year criminal prosecution.
As his trial date drew near, Caine subpoenaed the mayor of Langley City, Peter Fassbender, the officer in charge of the Langley RCMP detachment, Superintendent Derek Cooke, and then-Langley City Councillor Rudy Storteboom, who owned an office next to the dispensary.
They were among six people served with written court orders to appear at his trial and explain how the decision was made to raid the dispensary.
About two weeks after the subpoenas were filed, Caine said the prosecutor in the case proposed a plea bargain that would avert a trial if Caine pleaded guilty to the trafficking charge in return for an absolute discharge.
Caine, through his lawyer, refused.
After more negotiation, the trafficking charge was dropped and Caine instead pleaded guilty to violating two sections of the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations by storing marijuana products at the dispensary and by possessing more dried marijuana than he was allowed under his Health Canada quota.
He was then granted an absolute discharge.
The police raid that closed the Langley Medical Marijuana Dispensary came after Councillor Storteboom complained to Mayor Fassbender.
Back in July of 2011, both men confirmed to The Times they had a discussion in which the councillor brought up the dispensary that happened to be located in a condo unit next to the suite that Storteboom owned and leased to a hairdresser.
The mayor said he told the councillor that if the strata council that represents the owners believed illegal activities were being carried out, they should go to the police.
Storteboom told The Times that he relayed the mayor’s message to the strata council.
Langley RCMP then raided the dispensary, saying it was in response to “numerous ongoing complaints from the community and area residents.”
About three months later, Supt. Cooke released a written statement saying the marijuana sold by the dispensary had come from illegal grow-ops, a claim Caine denies.
On July 2, Caine announced that he intends to run for mayor of Langley City in the next municipal election in 2014 and that he will personally pay the filing fees for up to 20 candidates for council in a bid to “strengthen democratic principles” and improve diversity.
“We have some council members who got in with 11 per cent of the vote,” Caine says.
“Eleven per cent! How is that legitimate?”
He says he is not forming a new civic party. “It’s not a slate. It’s nothing like that. It’s about strengthening the democratic process in this community.”