That's the way the B.C. cookie case crumbles
Last Updated Fri, 07 Jan 2005 09:17:15 EST
VANCOUVER - A British Columbia woman who makes and sells ginger snaps laced with marijuana has been acquitted of trafficking for a second time, after prosecutors failed to prove the treats contain cannabis resin.
Mary Jean Dunstan, also known as Watermelon, was arrested twice and charged with possession of cannabis resin for the purposes of trafficking.
But analysts who used samples of the resin police seized to mix and bake the same kind of batter Dunstan uses for her ginger snaps have not been able to prove the extract is still present in the finished product.
"The judge found a reasonable doubt at the end of the Crown's case as to what was in the cookie," said Dunstan's lawyer, John Conroy.
"If the cookies or the brownies or whatever ... have been made in a batter so nobody can identify leaves, sticks or stems through a microscope, then the only way the Crown can get a conviction for possessing a prohibited thing would be if they charged her with possession or trafficking of cannabis [alone], without adding resin or marijuana," he said.
Analysts are able to chemically detect cannabis in Dunstan's cookies.
Trafficking in cannabis is a more serious drug offence that could lead to a jury trial and carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and Conroy doubts the authorities would choose that route over a few ginger snaps.
The resin-trafficking charge is a lesser offence that carries a lighter sentence.
"My lawyer and I are saying, like, if you can't prove it's there, how can you measure it?" said Dunstan, who hosts a Pot TV internet show when she's not selling the cookies at places like Vancouver's Wreck Beach.
She too doubts the Crown would opt for a more serious charge, given the kind of reaction she said she has gotten from her fans and drug opponents alike.
"The court of public opinion is not interested in paying their tax dollars any more, it's quite clear," she said.
The Crown is appealing her acquittal on the resin charge, however.