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Drugs

Weed Grower Arrested in a Sting That Cost Millions Received a $10 Fine

The War on Drugs is definitely working.

by Manisha Krishnan
Oct 9 2015, 9:26pm

Mmmm, kush. Photo via Flickr user Mark.

In another shining example Canada's misguided drug policies, a medical marijuana sting and court battle that cost taxpayers millions of dollars has resulted in nothing more than a $10 fine.

Innisfil, Ontario man Clifford Dawson, 34, who has scoliosis—a spinal condition that causes him to walk with a cane—was handed down the penalty Thursday, after paying thousands in legal fees for having weed he was licensed to produce. You read that right: the guy was legally allowed to grow but was caught with too many plants.

"This cost the taxpayers millions and two years of my life," Dawson, who described the ordeal as "ludicrous," told the Barrie Examiner. "All for $10? Does this make any sense?"

Dawson pleaded guilty to marijuana production after being arrested in December 2013. He'd been using weed to make a pain relief ointment but was busted with 150 plants—his limit was 50.

During his arrest, which sounds like a scene from a Martin Scorsese movie, he said 30 tactical officers pointed assault rifles at his head and at his pregnant wife while they were in bed, then cuffed him face down.

"It was terrifying," he said.

According to Dawson's attorney, Margaret Osadet, several law enforcement agencies including Ontario Provincial Police, Barrie and South Simcoe police collaborated on a seven-week undercover sting to take Dawson down.

"They had some 30 officers on this case, all-day surveillance, they executed six search warrants," Osadet told reporters, noting the operation would've costed millions. "And to what end? $10? This is a waste of resources."

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