|While Rose Miranda waits for her April court date to face potential charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking, the 65-year-old retired education assistant can't take cannabis for her arthritis.|
Mounties have also banned her from visiting or contacting anyone at Phoenix Pain Management Society, the medical marijuana dispensary where she was volunteering when she was arrested in Nanaimo, B.C.
|Miranda began using medical marijuana about two years ago. She began volunteering at Phoenix, primarily to educate seniors about cannabis as a pain-relief option. Nanaimo RCMP raided three dispensaries, including Phoenix, on Dec. 1.|
Mounties sent warning letters weeks before executing search warrants. "They came in like a SWAT team, guns out, 'Hands up!,' screaming, yelling, terrifying everybody who was in there," said Miranda. She said police body-searched everyone, including an elderly volunteer with a cane, before handcuffing them and taking them to jail.
|There, she said, she sat in a freezing cell wearing only a cotton shirt and pants for more than 10 hours.|
The RCMP's raids on B.C.'s pot shops are unusual. Last year, 24,542 people were charged with marijuana possession, up from 18,953 in 2004. Charges for the crime hit a peak in 2011, with 27,997 people charged.
|Simon Fraser University criminologist Neil Boyd found in a 2013 study that the Vancouver police rarely recommended charging individuals for cannabis possession as a singular offence, while the RCMP was mostly responsible for a two-fold increase in charges over a decade in B.C.|
Meanwhile, Miranda is preparing herself for the possibility that she'll face the first criminal charge of her life — she's never even had a parking ticket. She said she hopes she won't have to go to prison to defend the rights of seniors to use medical marijuana.