Day Four: Allard et al. V. Her Majesty the Queen

By Cori Petersen

Nearly every seat was filled on the fourth day of court the 26th of February. Also crowding the coat room and for a short time the courtroom, was a “grow-box,” also known as a BC Northern Lights indoor hydroponic grow box. Demonstrating the utility of the box was the Plaintiff’s Expert Remo Colasanti.

There may be room for many clones, however inside the grow-boxes only about nine flowering plants can be accommodated. Defense lawyers claimed the average MMAR license would require up to 10 of these devices to grow the average 98 plants. Mr. Colasanti explained that while there are many styles and approaches to growing the majority of growers have stages and divide the plants up into three categories or stages; clone, vegetative and budding.

Furthermore, when done properly, a grower can produce close to the same yield from six plants as one could from 600. Viewed this way, the plant numbers seem to be irrelevant, as Colasanti suggested, while square footage and light numbers could be a better way to project amounts harvested. Additionally, the Health Canada formula which allows doctors to assign grams or plant numbers does not make sense to Mr. Colasanti.

After the morning break, the defense began to imply that Colasanti’s vested interest in the Coalition which has formed to take this case to court has already affected his future plans. At one point, the defense asked about what his company would be offering in the future. Justice Phelan saw the validity of an objection by John Conroy QC, that Mr. Colasanti’s plans, whatever they were had no bearing on the current case or regime.

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The analysis of social media for “Remo the Urban Grower” as many know him, revealed several pieces of evidence the defense wanted to examine. First up was an Instagram photo of Mr. Colasanti at his desk with a 200-or-so gram bag of Cannabis, which brought up questions of storage including the few grams left out on the desk.

Next came a YouTube video titled “World’s Largest Joint”, and this time Mr. Conroy’s objection was denied. Justice Phelan asked if this video was meant to impeach the witness the defense said “Absolutely not, this video shows how invested Remo is as a Cannabis enthusiast and that it is his lifestyle.”

Earlier, the crown had also stated that the video demonstrated Cannabis use, and the crown wanted to know how this is medical use of Cannabis.

After watching the video, the authenticity of what was being portrayed was obviously a joke. Colasanti takes a whole plant, wraps it in the Vancouver Sun newspaper and seals it with tape and glue, then he pretends to smoke the Worlds Largest Joint. As soon as the crown asks where the Cannabis came from Mr. Colasanti explains he grew it, however…”The video is a fake. I decided to make a video that was entertaining to get rid of … a giant male plant with all the stock in it,” testified Remo.

Again the defense pried into Colasanti’s interests and future plans by asking about the app he developed to aid with growing problems. It involves taking a photo of the problem, uploading, and then instantly growers and supposedly any of the other 12,000 subscribers can give advice on what your trouble is.

Mr. Colasanti expounded on a fatal flaw of the new Marihuana Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) that requires a patient with an Authorization to Posses (ATP) to give up their ability to grow for themselves if they want to purchase from a large-scale producer (LP). Colasanti swears that a lot more patients would have taken advantage of the LP system during possible crop failures or short-falls.

Lunch break concluded Mr. Colasanti’s testimony.

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Around 1:40 PM, Dr. David Pate, a botanist and expert in pharmacology took the stand. He began with basic information about Cannabis, such as the fact that THC and CBC are two of the four main active components to the plant.

Dr. Pate’s testimony analyzed exactly where the active ingredients are in the plant, resolving that most of them are in the tricomes and not the plant material. Also, that removal of tricomes tends to be incomplete and therefore hard to endorse any method of trimming over any other.

Dr. Pate did not give any method of intake a resounding endorsement either, stating that desired efficacy would dictate the form one would want to ingest. While fresh material was able to deliver much larger dosages of medicinal compounds without largely impacting the patient, the effects of de-carboxolatted (a heating process that activates a psychoactive response) material has its proper medicinal applications.

Pausing to delve into volume after volume of evidence, Dr. Pate relieved a bit of stress by pointing out that this particular volume was not only covered in green but titled “Joint Documents,” creating quite a bit of quiet laughter.

As it felt earlier in the day, the defense seemed to be educating themselves on Cannabis here in the courtroom asking about Cannabis edibles this time. Taking a long time to come to the conclusion that THC content could only be determined by a submitting some for testing at a laboratory, not by sight or even taste sometimes.

Probing into how compounds are extracted from Cannabis, the crown asserted that THC need to be extracted with aid of a chemical component, Dr. Pate responded, “Depends what you mean by a chemical, even olive oil is a chemical.”

Wanting to know how Pate stays relevant in this field, he replied, “I’m afraid the whole field of Cannabis is under-researched by design due to funding by the government.”

Due to a longer onset of effects from edible forms of Cannabis, are patients more likely to over dose themselves? asked the defense, “Only if the are impatient.” replied Dr. Pate.

Finally, the crown wanted to understand how a patient might cope with strains or batches that may have different amounts of THC or CBC. To which, Pate relayed the definition of auto “titration.” An individual will regulate dosage by subjective symptoms experienced, i.e. one will use more of a weaker Cannabis and less of a stronger Cannabis, this is a bio-feedback loop.

Monday March 2nd marks the second week of trial, making it 1/3 over.

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