ANTIGONISH: The former franchise owner of an illegal medicinal dispensary says ever since her charges were dropped back in March and she turned a leaf on a new business venture – she’s been targeted and harassed by the RCMP.
“I am not a cannabis dispensary; I do not sell cannabis or cannabis products,” Gillian Sampson told The Reporter last Tuesday at her new business Antigonish Medical Solutions. “They [the RCMP] are stealing patient’s personal licensed producer medication with legal documentation. Innocent patients are being brought into this unjust situation, losing their medication at the hands of the people who are supposed to ‘serve and protect.’”
In exchange for a corporate plea and a $50,000 fine on Tasty Budd’s Compassion Club, the Crown withdrew all of the charges against Sampson but she said she still felt a complete obligation to continue to help her community and to help patients gain better access to this medicine.
“Two weeks after having all charges dropped, I was again victim to a raid, and another again last week (June 26),” Sampson noted. “The same officer from before and we all know who it is as he’s well known in the area, was doing an investigation on his ‘spare time’ noting that people were coming in and out of my business with nothing in their hands, under the assumption that I am still selling cannabis because my business is simply open.”
Sampson, who is the current owner/operator of Antigonish Medical Solutions, has become familiar with the miraculous benefits of cannabis over the past decade when her partner, who’s now passed, was dealing with cancer.
“Then after losing him I did extensive research in the area,” she said. “And unfortunately, experienced it for myself six-years-ago after being in a car accident where I was hit with extreme force, from behind on the highway.”
Sampson transitioned into a new business with the framework of an existing company and they help facilitate access to certified doctors who are willing to prescribe cannabis; they also fill out all required documents for the patients to make it much easier and quicker for them.
“This helps patients that don’t have a supportive doctor to access cannabis for medical purposes. This is a big problem around our area as most doctors will not sign the forms needed to obtain medical cannabis,” she said. “They are left to go to the NSLC where that is recreational cannabis only and you cannot get medical advice on products as it is federally prohibited for them to talk about medicinal use. Or simply go to the streets, a medical user should never have to go to the streets for their medicine.”
Once a doctor authorizes cannabis use for a patient, they can either sign up with a Licensed Producer (LP), they can produce their own, or they can have a designated grower grow for them.
Antigonish Medical Solutions works hand-in-hand with LPs to set up a system of better access by providing a safe storage mailbox system. Sampson indicated there was a mail privacy breach a couple years ago where mail was being sent out by the government with people’s private information on the front.
“We wanted to provide an alternative for patients to feel safe and comfortable in receiving and storing their medicine – patients can have their products shipped directly to the mailboxes,” she said. “Each mailbox is designated to a patient, they sign consent for storage of the legal licensed producer medication, we then obtain a copy of their driver’s license, a copy of their medical cannabis license as well as a receipt for payment of each product stored.”
Antigonish Medical Solutions also offers consultation and information sessions in-house every day for patients that have questions or concerns about their medical cannabis. Having a knowledgeable person on hand is very important and valuable as proper use and progress is dependent on this.
“The amount of patients I’ve seen helped by this medicine is astonishing,” Sampson said. “It would truly shock you how far patient’s have come in such a small timeframe, when most of the time no other medications have helped.”
Cpl. Lisa Croteau, a public information officer with the RCMP, confirmed that on June 26, Antigonish RCMP executed a search warrant at a cannabis storefront on Post Rd. in Antigonish.
“As a result of the search a large quantity of cannabis, cash and documents were seized.”
Sampson was arrested on scene and was charged with Possessing Cannabis for the Purpose of Distributing and Possessing a Substance for the Purpose of Selling.
Sampson argues the officer is getting warrants on assumptions that are not supported by any evidence.
“The Antigonish RCMP came into the business and stole all patients’ legal, licensed producer medication and supporting documentation that was stored in their personal mailboxes,” she said. “They also stole a patient’s legal medication and Health Canada-approved document that she has for cultivation and storage of her medication on site.”
Sampson invited the Antigonish RCMP detachment, her MP, her MLA and Minister of Health and Wellness, the mayor of Antigonish, and several other leaders in her community to an open house and information session in April, and not one of them showed up.
“When is the harassment against myself, my business and medical cannabis patients going to end?” she questions. “No other medication is treated this way.”