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Former Bible Hill pot shop owner fined $13,000

Nova Scotia Provincial Court
Nova Scotia Provincial Court - FILE GRAPHIC

TRURO, N.S. – A former Bible Hill pot shop owner was fined a total of $13,000 in provincial court on Thursday after previously pleading guilty to possessing drugs for the purpose of trafficking.

Ricky Joseph John LeClerc, 58, formerly of Upper Kennetcook but, whose current address is listed in court records as Free Grant, N.B., was charged in September 2017 and again last March after police raided his Community Compassion Centre in Bible Hill.

Police said after the raids that they had seized cash, marijuana, marijuana derivatives and drug paraphernalia.

In an interview with the Truro Daily News in December 2017, shortly after the federal government announced its plans to legalize cannabis, LeClerc said he planned to offer a legal challenge to the initial charges.

He said at the time that his focus with the Community Compassion Centre was to supply cheap and accessible medical marijuana for those suffering from chronic pain or illness.

However, last August, LeClerc pled guilty in provincial court in Truro to possessing cannabis for the purpose of trafficking and to possessing cannabis resin for the same purpose, relating to the September 2017 charges. Several other related charges were dismissed by the Crown.

During sentencing, LeClerc was fined $6,500 each for those charges and given a conditional sentence order for the March 2018 charge of possessing cannabis for the purpose of trafficking.

The Community Compassion Centre has been closed since the second raid.

As part of his community sentence order, LeClerc was placed under 24/7 house arrest for the first month and must adhere to a curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the second month. Throughout the entire five months, he is banned from possessing or consuming illicit drugs and is prohibited from possessing firearms for 10 years.

He also had to forfeit all items seized in the police raids.

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