Four men who appeared to be in their 20s stood before Judge Michelle Brass in Estevan Provincial Court on Monday to face the music with regards to a charge of importation of cannabis. And they drove 31 hours to be there.
The case is one of the first local cases dealing with the new Cannabis Act that came into play Oct. 17, 2018.
The four men, all U.S. citizens, were Andrew Sherras, Richard Sherras, Benjamin Roberts and Michael Mientka. Citing difficulty in finding legal counsel to deal with this, they represented themselves.
Federal Crown prosecutor Eric Neufeld said on Feb. 9, the four were charged with unlawfully importing cannabis, under the new act.
The four had been heading to Canada to go snowboarding. They were found with 28 grams – one ounce – of marijuana.
Neufeld said that if they had been charged under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which had covered cases like this until last fall, he would have sought jail time. But as it stands, he said the sentence could range from a discharge to a fine, and he would leave it up to Brass in that regard, as he would not offer a recommendation.
“This is new territory. The Cannabis Act is new,” Neufeld said.
Neufeld said that Andrew Sherras had stepped forward to take the charge. “He did admit to police at the time the drugs were his,” Neufeld told the judge.
As such, he would be withdrawing the charges against the other three.
“They’ve invested significant time and money to come here. Vermont’s a long ways away. Most U.S. citizens charged at the border, we never see them again,” Neufeld said.
The judge questioned Andrew Sherras on that front, and he replied, “I drove 31 hours.”
“I’ve done that,” she said.
“I think he’s paid a significant penalty,” Neufeld said.
Brass granted him a one-month conditional discharge. She asked when they would be heading back, and the reply was that afternoon.