Our future has been ripped from under us as a result of a raid on our legal medical marijuana grow op that was protected under the Canadian Court of Appeal Allard injunction. My husband is facing charges in court on October 19th. We have to come up with 30k to cover legal expenses to hire a very reputable lawyer who is a cannabis advocate and has been very successful in defending marijuana cases. We have been trying to put some funds together ourselves but are running out of personal financial options. We are now humbling ourselves to ask for help. This is not an easy thing to do. Any amount would help.
For those who would like to understand what we have experienced and how this happened, I would like to share our story as candidly as I can. Please excuse some of the emotions associated with the story:
I have been struggling for a number of years with Multiple Sclerosis. In 2009, my doctor suggested that I apply for a license to try marijuana to determine if it would help with the pain and muscle spasms that made working very difficult. It turned out to be very effective and it was able to help with daily pain, spasms and depression. As a result, I was able to work. The cost to purchase marijuana from the government was prohibitive so we applied for a license to grow it for my personal use and we successfully acquired a license to grow it in our basement. It was a small operation that was inspected on a number of occasions by authorities in order to renew our license yearly. It was very well monitored for odour and mould. It was well protected and locked away so that it would be safe from public access.
Someone from our politically correct suburban middle class neighbourhood chose to unilaterally report us without checking if we were actually growing and if so, if we were doing it legally. The police raided us one morning while I was at work. The police didn't care to investigate if we were legal and didn't want to see our licenses so they raided, tossed the house, tossed my husband in jail and then tossed us out of the house. The dominoes then started falling one after the other in quick succession:
- Alberta Health condemned our house unfit for human habitation and set up a fence around the house, and boarded up the windows and doors. The fence did not totally enclose the property and left if vulnerable for break-ins.
- That night Alberta Health listed our house address and all in the papers, and as a result we were robbed repeatedly over a two week period.
- We were not allowed to put our alarm on because Alberta Health said they needed to get in and out.
- So the thieves and vandals were in and out and no one in the neighbourhood called the police.
- We kept calling the police because we could see on our alarm history on our cellphones that the thieves were going in and out but the police did not catch them in the act. The police even implied that we broke into our own house!
- We lost EVERYTHING and the house was torn up and destroyed inside.
- Our bank book was stolen and someone tried to cash cheques on our account.
- The police chose to ignore this even though I found the person who stole the cheques on Facebook.
- Adding insult to injury was the insurance company that refused to cover our losses, we were denied house insurance and then the BMO REFUSED to take further monthly payments and tried to foreclose even though we were up to date on our payments prior to refusing to take our payments.
- BMO would not negotiate with us even though we offered to use our own money (not BMO's) to fix the damages, renovate, re mediate and then sell the house so that we could avoid foreclosure.
- We eventually sold the house, paid back BMO everything we owed but lost almost $200,000.00 in equity.
- My husband tried to find work but couldn't find any because of his age (67) and the charges pending that are on his police record.
- I continue to work in a high stress, demanding job that may pay well but doesn't have room for any savings because I am providing for ourselves and other family members. It is a lot to take on when you have a chronic illness and don't have access for more than 2 years to the marijuana that I need to cope with the disease while working.
Where did our retirement money go? We used it to re mediate the house and fix the damages from the vandalism in order to sell it. We could have given the house back to the BMO and let them bear the cost of remediation and repairs but our integrity and dignity were too important to us to just walk away from a house that we had worked hard to own. If we had given up the house to the BMO, we would not have lost our retirement savings and would have had enough money for the defense. It now seems foolish to have upheld those old fashioned values and worried about a bank that had no heart and just cared about getting back their money. No one from BMO would return my calls so i had to humble myself to deal with lawyers instead of BMO directly.
The last domino that is on the brink of falling is trying to come up with enough money for my husband's defense to avoid having to go with legal aid or represent himself in court. This may ultimately mean that he will be charged and end up at 67 in jail. There are pedophiles that get less jail time than the years in jail that my husband is facing.
The irony that led to our current situation is that at one moment we were considered legitimate, responsible law abiding citizens with a valid license for a valid medical condition to a moment in time when the law changed making us an illegal operation.
We do not fit the pot head stereotype. My husband is not a pot dealer who is just trying to find a medical excuse to grow weed. I'm a 62 year old woman who has been a teacher and educational administrator dedicated to the education and settlement needs of immigrants for over 30 years. My husband has a social work and business background who was a Rotarian and Director on a community Chinese Board for 7 years. We are good citizens and have contributed a lot to society. We have never been associated with anything illegal throughout our lives.
We had to start our lives over again.This has been devastating not only financially but also emotionally. This experience has destroyed our dignity and our future. There is no price we can put on the non material part of our losses. That will never be recoverable. I will have to work as long as I physically can. I am thankful for the job that I have, and the moral support of our friends but now we need some financial help. If you have been in our situation, are advocates of legal medical marijuana or are just sympathetic to our situation, I hope that you will have some compassion for us and support us in any way you can. If you not able to donate even a few dollars, a shout out of support now or when the trial rolls around on October 19th in Calgary would be greatly appreciated.
The following photos represent some of the material losses. I wish i could visually express the loss of our dignity and our future. Perhaps you can feel the pain through our photos: