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Marijuana grow-op in Summerland brings jail time

A Summerland man is spending weekends in jail after his sentence was handed down in Supreme Court Nov. 15.

Running a marijuana grow operation has landed a Summerland man jail time.

Calvin LeBlanc, 55, was found guilty of producing a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking and fraudulently consuming electricity on May 2 after the conclusion of his Supreme Court trial.

The grow operation housed 685 marijuana plants and 134 grams of harvested marijuana. LeBlanc was also found guilty of using an electrical bypass found in his home to save money on utilities.

LeBlanc previously faced mandatory minimum jail time, however after multiple Supreme Court decisions the Conservative government’s minimums relating to marijuana production were struck down.

Crown counsel Ashleigh Baylis sought a one-year jail term for LeBlanc.

Summerland executed a search warrant on LeBlanc’s rental residence on Cartwright Avenue on Jan. 28, 2014. LeBlanc was not home at the time, but later turned himself in and Baylis noted he was “quite cooperative throughout” the investigation.

An expert witness at trial, Staff Sgt. Kurt Lozinski, valued the potential crop between approximately $94,000 to $207,000.

A mechanical inspector for CN Rail for nearly 25 years, LeBlanc was looking for other income when he was unable to continue working there because of a permanent back injury he acquired on the job. LeBlanc’s defence counsel, Kelly Christiansen, said the opportunity to grow marijuana was presented to him by a “friend of a friend,” and LeBlanc was not looking to live the “high life,” but instead looking to sustain a living.

“The principals guiding sentencing for marijuana offences, for production offences, are arguably in a state of flux,” Christiansen said during sentencing submissions on Nov. 15 in Penticton Supreme Court. “The laws themselves regarding marijuana are going to change, we just don’t know how much and to what extent.”

“Also, in my submission, society’s attitude towards marijuana has changed significantly, particularly since the old days of ‘Reefer Madness,’” Christiansen said.

Justice Austin Cullen noted the changing social tides surrounding marijuana use, however he noted LeBlanc made a “deliberate decision to break the law.”

Cullen sentenced LeBlanc to 90 days of jail to be served intermittently on weekends. LeBlanc is also subject to a probation when not in custody including a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

 

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