After seeing Anne Minten’s post on Facebook regarding the RCMP raiding her home, Tanner Hinman decided to reach out and provide legal advice.
“I was shocked,” he said.
On July 28, Minten and her husband took part in the seventh annual Garden & Art Tour in Revelstoke. The tour is a self-guided event that pairs gardens with local artists and raises money for the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative, a non-profit that aims to enhance local food production.
Days later, the two came home to find a search warrant and three cannabis plants from the garden gone.
An off-duty RCMP officer had noticed the plants while on the tour and according to an RCMP news release participants on the tour “were exposed to blatant violations of Section (g) Cannabis Control and Licensing Art; non-medical Cannabis Plants growing in full view of the public.”
Hinman works for Chris Johnston and Associates in Revelstoke as an article student. He is currently waiting for results from the bar exam and if he passes, Hinman will become a lawyer.
Hinnman reached out to Minten to offer free advise, he said because many people do not know their rights when it comes to the police.
“What happened was almost abuse by the police.”
|The yard on the quiet, dead end road, has rows and rows of plants and vegetables. In the back, beside the shed, grew the three cannabis plants. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)|
Hinman continued that while Minten did violate the law, the legislation is brand new. And problematic.
“It’s unclear,” he stated.
According to the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, adults are allowed to grow no more than four cannabis plants per dwelling house.
However, the law dictates that the plants cannot be visible from a place described as being “public”, which means “any place to which the public has access as of right or by invitation, express or implied, whether or not a fee is charged for entry” or “in any outdoor place open to public view”.
The cannabis plants were located beside the house next to a fence, roughly 50 metres from the street.
Hinman said in Minten’s case, the cannabis plants are normally kept in private. However, for an afternoon, they became part of a public tour.
He continued that as the law currently stands, a neighbour of someone who opens their yard to the public, such as on the Garden & Art Tour, could be charged if they also have cannabis plants if the plants are in view from their neighbour’s yard. Being on another adjacent property would not matter Hinman said.
“These discrepancies have to be determined by the courts.”
Eventually, a judge will have to make a decision and provide an interpretation of the law.
Hinman said the RCMP visited Minten on Aug. 7 and it would appear they will not lay charges.
Regardless, he said instances like this will happen again.
It’s only a matter of when.
“Someone else will have to deal with this”.