Monica Lamb-Yorski photo Mary Jane’s Glass and Gifts manager Mark Cowan is busy with business despite facing charges of possession and trafficking under the Controlled Drug and Substance Act.

VIDEO: Manager of thriving marijuana store faces charges

Mary Jane’s Glass and Gifts manager Mark Cowan said he is surpised charges of drug-trafficking and possession against him have been approved.

Six months after seizing a quantity of marijuana, Williams Lake RCMP announced Tuesday charges have been approved against the manager and a former employee of Mary Jane’s Glass and Gifts.

Mary Jane’s, which is located on Oliver Street in downtown Williams Lake, was stripped of its inventory in April following a search and seizure by police.

Mark Cowan faces one charge of trafficking a controlled substance contrary to section 5(1) of the Canadian Drug and Substance Act (CDSA) and one of possession for the purpose of trafficking contrary to section 5(2) of the CDSA.

Chris Hoyland has been charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.

From behind the counter of his thriving business, Cowan said he was surprised by both the police raid in April and the approval of charges this week.

“Medicinal cannabis will probably change the medical industry as we know it in the next 10 years,” he said. “We can see Pfizer and Merck all looking at this medicine, it is for real and is going to revolutionalize the industry. We are a medicinal cannabis place and everything that comes out of these doors has always been medicinal product.”

Shelves and display cases inside the store were fully stocked Wednesday afternoon.

There was a steady stream of customers being buzzed in the store’s locked front door.

Many strains of cannabis sold in the Williams Lake store are grown in the Cariboo, Cowan said.

“Product is sent to a central location in Vancouver for testing and weighing before coming back to our store.”

Cowan and his growers have even capitalized on the summer’s wildfires, carrying a new product called Smoky Jack.

Reaching inside one of the display cases Cowan pulled out a plastic box, lifted the lid and insisted it had a smoky aroma.

“Smoky Jack acquired its name after being exposed to the smoke caused by wildfires in B.C.,” Cowan said.

Cowan’s next scheduled court appearance is inWilliams Lake Provincial Court on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 9 a.m.

Williams Lake RCMP Insp. Jeff Pelley said Williams Lake RCMP continue to target drug trafficking offences.

“We take this very seriously and are committed to seeking evidence to support charges and hold people accountable who actively participate in these types of offences.”

After the raid in April and again this week, Pelley said the RCMP recognizes the current complexities surrounding the potential for future legislative changes, but are guided by the existing laws and legislation.

On Sept. 25, B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth invited British Columbians to share their views on the legalization of non-medicinal cannabis in Canada by filling out an online survey between now and Nov. 1, which can be found at www.engage.gov.bc.ca/BCcannabisregulation/.

“We want to hear from as many people as possible about how we can best protect our kids, keep our roads safe, and lock criminals out of the non-medical cannabis industry,” Farnworth said. “It’s critical that we work together to ensure the legalization of non-medical cannabis results in safer, healthier communities.”

Cowan said he is pleased with the survey and has already filled it out.

“I think the government really wants our input,” he added.

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