A couple recently caught up in a raid of their unlicensed home-based edibles business says they are still awaiting charges and were left to clean up after police ransacked their house and left them without power for three days.
Adam and Vanessa MacGillivray run a business called Madd Hatter that makes and sells cannabis edibles out of their home in Delta BC. On November 20th, they say police showed up at their home with a warrant, arrested and quickly released the couple, and then tore through their home seizing products and destroying a small ten plant grow operation.
Although the business was illicit, operating with a federal production or provincial sales licence, the couple contends they were operating in the grey market “due to legalization not being able to provide medical patients with affordable access.”
Police contend they became aware of the business following a report of a parent who found one of their cannabis edibles in a child’s halloween bag. After several weeks of investigation, the police traced the edible back to the MacGillivray’s home, leading to their arrest and the seizure of thousands of cannabis edibles. The company’s website, which is now back up, advertises cannabis-infused chocolates, gummies, elixirs, and more.
Although the police say they “anticipate recommending a number of charges” including distribution to minors, possession for purpose of selling and prohibited synthetic production, the MacGillivray’s said they still have not been charged with anything, and question the claim they were selling to kids or producing or in possession of synthetic cannabis.
“Our packaging is child resistant, we weren’t selling to kids,” says Adam. “The packaging clearly says not for kids all over it, and we spent extra money for that packaging. It doesn’t make sense why we would spend extra money for that packaging and then sell to kids.”
The couple also says they are skeptical of the police’s claims of what led to the search warrant, saying they were not handing out cannabis infused candy on Halloween, and only had a bowl of chips they had left out halfway down their walkway for trick-or-treaters.
“This was at our house with our business,” says Adam. “It would be shooting ourselves in the foot. Why would we do that?”
Instead, the couple says they suspect a rival company who they had been having issues with prior to their arrest may have reported them. They say in the days leading up to their arrest their website was taken down, and their email accounts spammed with accusations that they were selling to kids. They shared screenshots of these emails with StratCann and are displayed on the company’s Facebook page.
The couple says they have spoken to a few lawyers about the case but have been told they can’t do much until charges are formally filed. In the meantime, they say they want to be the face of what they say is a failure of the model of legalization in Canada.
“I’m very skeptical of their story, to be honest,” continues Adam. “If you were to just take a look at the events leading up to it, our website was taken down before Halloween, and it was actually down until the 12th of November, so them saying we were selling to kids just doesn’t make any sense.”
The couple also says that the power being off in their home for three cold November days meant 94 of their fish died. In a video posted on the company’s Facebook page, they document the scene following the raid.
“Light needs to be shined on this,” says Vanessa “This is not what legalization was ever supposed to be. Reasonable access is something I will fight for.”
In response to a request from StratCann, a representative from Delta Police says they cannot comment on an ongoing investigation, and that charges will be decided by the Crown, which could take several months.
“Police have to complete the investigation, and then a recommendation on charges is forwarded to the Crown,” writes Cris Leykauf, Public Affairs Manager for the Delta Police Department. “The process of whether (the) Crown approves charges is independent of (the) police. The process can take many months and varies widely.”
As for the shutting off of their power, Delta Police say they can’t comment on the specifics of any case, but that such a decision can be made in the name of officer safety.
“Speaking in general terms, when officers are concerned that there may be issues with electrical safety – either officer safety or safety to facility – BC Hydro is consulted,” writes Leykauf. “Their experts determine the appropriate next steps. If Hydro cannot make an area safe, their staff will.”
Adam and Vanessa contend there was nothing unsafe about their power setup, that they weren’t stealing power or using an illegal hookup, and feel the power was cut for malicious reasons.