Update February 2015: Lumby RCMP says no charges have yet been approved in this case.
LUMBY – A medical marijuana producer in the North Okanagan is speaking out arguing RCMP went too far when they seized much of his equipment while executing a search warrant last week.
However, police say they were investigating the production of a controlled substance and seizing equipment is routine.
RCMP seized equipment was last Thursday when they executed a search warrant at a Lumby facility where Josh Peterson says he is licensed to grow medical marijuana for himself and another person.
“I’m looking at, to get this back to where I was, I am probably looking at $250,000,” says Peterson.
He admits he had more plants that were allowed under his production licenses.
“I did have more plants and I had extra plants because when you are moving plants and you are transplanting plants, you end up a lot of times losing plants. So, I pull my numbers to get down to it. I don’t start at my number where I end up below my number,” says Peterson.
To make matters more complicated, he says there was also another licensed medical marijuana grower using the same building.
“There was a third license here under another individual who was no longer with us so because he was no longer here and we couldn’t get a hold of him, we are looking at removing his license and removing the plants,” explains Peterson.
He says police only left him with the number of plants allowed under his production licenses and he is not taking issue with that. What he does take issue with is RCMP seizing much of his equipment.
“He went and took the infraction amount, left me with plants but he left me in a crippled state by taking all of my equipment, which he is not entitled to do,” says Peterson who argues RCMP went too far.
“It is not just a hit to me, it is a hit to my designated person as well. They have the license for me to grow for them because they have a serious medical condition,” says Peterson.
RCMP say they were acting on a complaint from the public and investigating the production of a controlled substance.
“This is routine for police, we execute a search warrant under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act [and] we do take the equipment,” says Henry Proce with Lumby RCMP. “Basically we shut down the operation if it is deemed to be illegal.”
Peterson insists nothing criminal has gone on but police expect to recommend charges in connection with the search.
“I think there will be two charges, which will be forwarded to federal crown once the matter is fully concluded and investigated,” says Proce.
According to Health Canada, it is up to the RCMP to decide what they do or don’t seize.
Peterson hopes to rebuild his operation and have his equipment returned.