London News & Search
An East Coast entrepreneur who is wanted by London police faces 10 drug and weapons charges in his home province after police raided five pot shops there.
London police issued an arrest warrant for Malachy McMeekin, of Cole Harbour, N.S., after raiding five marijuana dispensaries in March.
McMeekin, 35, is the president of the Tasty Budd’s, a chain of marijuana dispensaries with franchises in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and London. He travelled to London last summer for the opening of a Tasty Budd’s location on Wharncliffe Road.
The RCMP searched five Tasty Budd’s stores in Nova Scotia and four homes last Thursday, alleging the storefronts were being used to traffic marijuana and cocaine.
In addition to seizing a range of cannabis products, police also confiscated a loaded handgun, a shotgun, cocaine and three ATMs.
McMeekin is one of 10 people facing a combined 69 charges, including drug trafficking and drug possession, possession of property obtained by crime, unauthorized possession of a firearm.
McMeekin issued a statement following the raids, saying the illegal activity was confined to one location.
“This only came to our attention through the recent police activity and investigation. This is a gross violation of our code of conduct, our ethics and everything Tasty Budd’s stands for. Since the information has come to our attention, we have dismissed everyone from that specific location.” the statement attributed to McMeekin said.
“We hope the actions of a few bad apples will not spoil the basket.”
London police charged McMeekin with drug trafficking following the March. 2 raids on five city dispensaries.
“We still have a warrant on file for him,” Const. Michelle Kasper said Thursday.
Halifax lawyer Alex Mackillop, who is representing McMeekin, said he’s working to resolve the warrant.
“We recently sent correspondence requesting that the warrant be vacated for lack of evidence and realistic prospect of conviction,” MacKiillop said in an email to the Free Press.
“Mal was never even in Ontario since the store opened, nor did he have control or knowledge over what products they were selling, nor was he supplying them. He simply provided consent for them to operate under the name Tasty Budd’s.”
Tasty Budd’s opened at 96 Wharncliffe Rd. S. on Aug. 12, 2016. Police raided it less than a week later, charging the franchisee and an staffer, but the businesses reopened within days. The shop again reopned after the second police raid in the spring.
The dispensary is still serving customers, the manager said Thursday, adding she’s aware of what happened in Nova Scotia.
McMeekin and other dispensary operators say they’re not breaking the law because all their clients have a valid prescription for cannabis.
But the federal government says prescription pot users may only buy from the more than four dozen licenced producers approved by Health Canada.
London News & Search