There was a strong police presence in Whitewood last Thursday when RCMP raided the Lalonde St. home of 45-year-old Whitewood resident Jerry Martin as well as at his business location on 3rd Ave.
Police officers and vehicles were very visible at both locations throughout the day.
According to RCMP, “At approximately 10:20 a.m. on Nov. 8, 2016, Broadview RCMP executed a warrant at both a business and a residence at Whitewood, SK.”
As officers stood guard at the Martin Medical Services building downtown, several officers entered Martin’s residence and began a search of the main street home, and later at the business location. RCMP seized marijuana, hash oil, cell phones and computers, an undisclosed amount of cash, and three vehicles.
“They (the RCMP) must have decided it was illegal, and acted upon that,” Mayor Doug Armstrong said in an interview on Nov. 9.
“They must have had enough information that there was a crime committed,” he added.
Armstrong spoke of the donations Martin Medical Services has made in the community and though he said the community can be thankful for those donations, he said the question that needs to be asked is, “Where has this money been generated?”
“In my way of thinking, if it’s illegal, should we be taking money from an illegal activity?” he asked.
Martin opened his dispensary in 2012 under the name of Martin and Strauss Medical Services and in 2014 began operating as Martin Medical Services.
Martin’s goal, according to his website, was to “provide high quality medicinal cannabis products to legitimate patients with a valid medical need.”
During this time, Martin Medical has donated money to various causes and organizations.
However the Town of Whitewood, unsure of whether they should be on the receiving end of monies obtained from what could be illegal activity, made the decision last year not to accept money from Martin Medical Services until the federal government made it clear that dispensaries such as Martin’s were operating legally.
The community of Whitewood has been divided on the issue of whether or not to accept funds from the marijuana dispensary.
Some feel strongly that there is no reason not to accept donations, while some want to know whether the business is legal before they accept money from the dispensary.
In September of 2015 Martin said he had received a warning letter from Health Canada regarding the illegal sale and advertising of marijuana, telling him to immediately suspend all activities with controlled substances or face enforcement action by the RCMP. Martin Medical Services was just one of 13 medical marijuana dispensaries in the country that received the warning letter at that time (September 2015).
Martin was, on November 8, 2016, charged with several offences relating to the operation of an unlawful marijuana dispensary.
Charges include Trafficking Marijuana, Trafficking Cannabis Resin, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Cannabis Resin, Possession of Proceeds of Crime, Trafficking in Proceeds of Crime, and Laundering Proceeds of Crime.
RCMP say the investigation is ongoing and that the Broadview RCMP will be assisted by the Yorkton General Investigation Section, the Yorkton Forensic Identification Services/Section and the RCMP’s Integrated Proceeds of Crime Unit.
Martin appeared in court in Broadview on Nov. 9 and was released. He is scheduled to appear in court again at 10 a.m. on Nov. 23.