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Criminal defense: woman arrested over single pot plant

Alberta police have drawn criticism after an arrest was made in Hanna. Alberta authorities chose to arrest a 48-year-old woman for possession of a single marijuana plant, citing the fact that, despite promises from the Liberal government to decriminalize the plant, it remains illegal to possess. The woman has been released, and a court date has been set for April 23. There is no word whether she has sought criminal defense representation at this time. 

Police say they executed a search warrant earlier in the month for a residence in Hanna, and they found a single marijuana plant with associated growing equipment in the unnamed woman's home. She was subsequently arrested and charged with possession and production of marijuana. While the charge is technically accurate, police spokespeople clarified that such a charge is usually meant to address growing operations of a much larger scale. 

The arrest was met with strong criticism from marijuana advocates around the province. Some even appealed directly to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene on behalf of the arrested woman, citing the fact that the woman did not appear to be growing marijuana for resale. Regardless, the woman will face a trial at the end of April and could face jail time. 

Criminal defense as a field of law is always changing to meet the needs of Canadian citizens and the specifics of the laws that govern them. Here in Alberta, marijuana is illegal to possess, but it is possible for an argument to be made in court that would take into account the fact that she was in possession of only one plant -- which may sway the court if the assumption is that she was growing marijuana to sell to other users. Regardless, seeking out an experienced defense attorney is likely a good first step for the accused woman to take before she faces her charges in court. 

Source: CBC News, "Alberta woman arrested over single marijuana plant", April 10, 2017

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