Bob Woolsey and Dawn Parker are shown here in 2015. Woolsey is on trial for five counts of trafficking in marijuana. / Bob Friesen file photo

‘Compassion club’ operator loses bid to have pot-trafficking charges thrown out

Bob Woolsey of Mission argues that laws were not valid at the time of alleged offences

A Mission man lost a court challenge this week to have his marijuana-trafficking charges thrown out.

Bob Woolsey had argued during a hearing that ran from Nov. 20 to 23 and on Dec. 12 in Abbotsford provincial court that he was not operating against the law when he allegedly sold marijuana and other derivative products to undercover police officers in late 2015.

Woolsey was operating a “compassion club” in Deroche at the time. The Crown alleges that he sold the products to the officers, even though they did not produce the proper medical documentation.

Woolsey and his wife, Dawn Parker, were arrested by the Mission RCMP on Nov. 25, 2015 after police busted their location on Taylor Road.

Woolsey was later charged with five counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.

His trial on those charges began in November and will continue now that the application to quash his indictment has been heard, with Judge Kenneth Skilnick rendering his decision against Woolsey on Monday.

In the application, Woolsey argued that at the time of his alleged offences, it was not against the law to possess marijuana or sell it.

At the time, the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) were in place. However, a federal court decision in February 2016 declared that a portion of the MMPR that prohibited patients from growing their own medical cannabis was unconstitutional.

The government was then given six months to revise the regulations.

Woolsey argued in his application that because the MMPR was ruled invalid, it should follow that the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) – which makes it an offence to possess marijuana – was also unconstitutional, and that his charges under the act should not proceed.

The Crown argued that just because the MMPR was found to be invalid, it does not mean that the sections of the CDSA that make it an offence to possess, grow or sell marijuana should be unenforceable.

“The Crown says firstly that the law is otherwise, and if the federal court had intended to invalidate the relevant sections of the CDSA, it would have ordered so,” court documents state.

Skilnick agreed with the Crown’s position, ruling that at the time of the alleged offences, “it was in fact an offence to traffic in marijuana.”

Woolsey’s trial resumes in Abbotsford provincial court on Feb. 28.

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