Owner of Best Buds Society on being a wanted man, the billionaires trying to Restrain Saskatchewan’s cannabis industry, and more

Owner of Best Buds Society on being a wanted man, the billionaires trying to Restrain Saskatchewan’s cannabis industry, and more

Cannabis Life Network spoke with Pat Warnecke, the owner of Saskatchewan-based medical dispensary Best Buds Society, on June 22, a day after he turned himself into police after finding out he had a warrant out for his arrest, which was associated with the Regina Police dispensary raids back in March.

Pat Warnecke told us about his shock upon discovering his face on the front page; the shadiness of Saskatchewan’s dispensary license lottery which saw people win many licenses (the chances of that were in millions!) ; the shadowy billionaire family attempting to restrain Saskatchewan’s cannabis industry and their intimate relationship with the Regina’s police chief; the job he’s doing with First Nations; why Saskatchewan would like to destroy its homegrown cannabis industry (in what he called a “cannabis genocide”-RRB-; and so much more.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Cannabis Life Network: How did you feel when you heard there was a warrant out for your arrest?

Pat Warnecke: It was a stunt which the RPS (Regina Police Service) pulled here. We’ve been in constant contact for almost two weeks with the RPS and Crown Prosecutor through our attorney.

At the time the warrant was issued [on June 20], I was out in BC because we’re moving out there and we’re in the middle of that procedure.

Our attorneys picked Thursday, June 21, but I don’t know if the RPS heard what or that because they essentially put out a warrant after we made a deal with the Crown Prosecutor.

So then reporter Arthur White-Crummy went back to the Crown Prosecutor and asked if there was any reason for this and when we were being kept in custody and the Crown Prosecutor said no, they wouldn’t be keeping us because there was no reason to, and they actually dropped all our conditions and released us the exact same day!

So I’m literally back at the Best Buds in Regina right now for the very first time since the original raids back in March!

Why was your wife was charged too?

They billed my wife with the very same charges I’m facing, such as trafficking and so on, and they’re highlighting all that off the fact that she has shares in the company!

Theyrsquo;re essentially charging her for her association with me because you will need evidence of something exchanging hands rather than just her name on a sheet of paper since trafficking literally signifies that the exchange of funds for product and so on.

My wife hasn’t been charged with anything before, so it’s clearly a strong-arm strategy.

Pat and his wife turning themselves into Regina police on June 21, 2018.

The police were quite public in publishing all of the names of the individuals they were looking for in connection with Best Buds Society.

Oh yeah. It’s pretty heavy-handed. We were actually gone the first month after the original raids happened back in March, and when we came back on Easter night, our door was kicked in.

The thing about the house we were staying at is we had just moved there two weeks before. We had no visitors and no invoices going there, no nothing. It was a buddy ’s location and there was no way for police to know we were there because there was nothing to tie us into this place- unless they surveilled us.

What can you tell us about Saskatchewan’s lottery procedure for cannabis stores?

Well, 33% of the available licenses went to one of five companies.

What happened was that there were 1500 applications, with 51 licenses to give out, and they were divided into zones.

There were more than 250 applications we can attest came from grassroots and individuals in the cannabis industry, so there was a 1 in 6 chance of at least one of us getting a permit – but not 1 person in the cannabis community won!

It’s pretty awesome.

In exactly the same breath, Canopy Growth obtained 5 licenses while another group got four, another got three, a few groups got two, and then a married couple obtained a pair of licenses, too.

One of the people that got two permits is a lawyer from out-of-province, and many license winners have political ties.

What were the chances of winning many licenses?

There was a statistics professor in the University of Regina who was so compelled by this story that he did the math and he said the probability of one company getting five licenses was almost 1 in 15 million!

It was 1 in 1.5 million to get 4, as well as getting two was like a 1 in 15,000 opportunity – but there were 4 people who got just that.

The lottery wasn’t videotaped, the ministers in charge were not current, and there were no witnesses. There was some shady things going on.

You mentioned you’re in the process of moving to BC?

I am.

I’m working with a few different groups right now, like the Cannabis Growers of Canada and Plenty of First Nations.

We’ve linked up with a lot of local Indigenous groups and we’re trying to enable them to take their own approach to cannabis legalization.

What we’re doing is placing a dispensary around each big city in Saskatchewan on First Nations land, meaning they will be fighting with the government, and they will stand their ground.

They’re going to sell edibles, they’re going to sell extracts, and they’re going to sell craft cannabis….

However, as I’m doing this, I could ’t actually be about here in Saskatchewan because I’m sort of like public enemy no. 1.

Next time in court, the police told me they’d be applying for a gag order on us! But we’re going to continue being outspoken, and that I can do this from another province.

Back in July I’ve got some significant meetings with Cannabis Growers of Canada and Dr. Hornby, who’s helping us with development and research as we try to show how cannabis for a harm reduction strategy can help First Nations.

We’re trying to line up this conglomerate group of craft cannabis growers and First Nations to work together and support each other.

However, to do my job that I don’t have to be in Regina- it’s kind of the worst place to be right now.

Pat and friends at Sunset Beach for Vancouver’s 420 festival. Photo courtesy of Best Buds Society’s Instagram.

You said the police are applying for a gag order?

The police told me that they ’re applying for a gag order, and they even applied to hold us until trial, but the crown prosecutor didn’t see it the exact same way because they dropped all our conditions.

The police are fighting us tooth and nail because we’ve been really vocal and we’ve got a whole lot of public support.

We have over 10,000 patients in Saskatchewan and we have 3 stores- two in Saskatoon and one in Regina- and our Regina store is the one being picked one. Meanwhile, Saskatoon is enabling us to exist- we haven’t even received a letter to close down in Saskatoon or anything like that so we can continue serving patients there.

Regina is going so hard because it’s the political centre, and there’s a good deal of money here from people like the billionaire Drummond family.

Can you tell me about the billionaire Drummond family and their involvement?

Theyrsquo;re essentially the devils in disguise for the cannabis industry at this time. They’re a regional Regina family and they’re billionaires- among Regina’s richest families. Theyrsquo;re former owners of the Phoenix Coyotes, they own the Phoenix Cardinals, the Regina Pats, and they’ve got big shares in Sask Energy.

Recently, they came to me as we’re equally Regina guys, and they actually funded the study that the Saskatchewan government used to make its cannabis policy, and I saw them sitting with the government as the announcements were made- so don’t kid yourself about who’s going to have the licenses and supply in Saskatchewan.

The Drummonds were involved in the hostile takeover of CanniMed when Aurora acquired them.

They actually telephoned me to try and give them some credibility and props and I was like “What do you do? ”

What kind of relationship does the Drummond family have with the Regina government?

I heard from a very good source that is right for a Drummond-owned organization the police chief was down in Phoenix having drinks on the deck with Gary Drummond!

I actually have a PI working on it and I’ve given that lead to some journalists and I need them to start digging into that and start asking questions.

It goes fairly deep. We’ve got billionaires here actually trying to take over the industry with just how much they’ve spent and what they’re trying to do with it.

It’s mad, right? And now I’m type of public enemy no. 1 because I know them and what they’re doing, and we know the truth.

That’s all there is.

We’ve been a good source here for craft, quality cannabis and we’ve been doing things right for years and we haven’t had a problem.

Will Best Buds Society stay open?

I’m in the Regina office at this time, and we’ve just been doing free consultations and signing people up to the internet site.

We’re staying open to get that harm reduction R and D with the doctor going so we can keep fighting.

Our office is just two blocks from the worst place in Canada for violent crime, which is north-central Regina, and we’re buying time with the store until we can get that R and D license, and in conjunction, we’re trying to get those reserve stores going so we can help out the people in the community here, too.

I didn’t realize just how much is happening behind the scenes.

It’s mad out here, and we’ve been a big source, for a very long time, for cannabis wisdom and everything.

Andrew Scheer, the leader of the Conservative Party, he’s from Regina, and his godson was among the first patients that we ever helped out, along with the dad, who is one of Andrew’s best friends, was very loyal to us and a big supporter of ours.

Andrew has even been helping us behind the scenes.

We’ve had Cathay Wagantall, a Conservative MP, who always sends us individuals and we and patients ’ve been feeding her lots of ammo and questions to start asking during Question Period.

We have political relations, we’ve been teaching First Nations, we’ve educated health regents, full cities and towns, hospitals, and physician ’s groups on our own dime about cannabis, and all of a sudden, the police don’t need us about – and not only do they not want us around, they’re going to start making up shit and try to jail us even when the Crown Prosecutor doesn’t need to do it that way.

Like I said, we’ve got the R and D and we’ve got the injunction application in and I’m literally talking to Dr. Hornby after we talk and we’re carrying it to another level.

We’re working with the First Nations and as they vote on it we’ll be starting up shops as soon as possible so First Nations in Saskatchewan can open up and Best Buds will be helping in combination with that too.

We’re Coping with the fight and that’s why we need people to know what’s going on here. We need some exposure because they’re trying to run one hell of a regime here in literally among the worst states for access to cannabis and among the worst problems with alcoholism and among the worst smoking rates around, and the only individuals that are getting rich off this would be the Saskatchewan Party, other politicians and individuals who already have a whole lot of money.

Two of the people that won licenses in the lottery draw are attorneys which are actively fighting against cannabis in court!

That’s what’s going on here. It’so bad right now!

Does that anyone with ties to cannabis was essentially blacklisted from the licensing procedure?

Yup. They literally tried to genocide the cannabis industry here in Saskatchewan, pretty much.

Anything with our names on it or people from the cannabis business ’s name on it didn’t get accepted.

We had this happen with our partner in Saskatoon. She put in 17 applications with her and her family’s names on it, and anything that had her or her husband’s name on it had been rejected but anything with her other family member’s names on it was allowed through to the next stage of the procedure.

And it was the exact same application for each!

The government didn’t say anywhere in the application process that they wouldn’t accept it or you wouldn’t happen if you had anything related to cannabis, but they essentially said, Fuck off.

best buds 5

It must have been catastrophic for the men and women who built it and have been doing it for decades.

For sure. It’s crushing people here. Patients are so distraught as they don’t have any clue what they’re going to do.

Look at the people that they’re letting in and giving licenses to- a 23-year-old woman, a University of Saskatchewan student, won a license but she actually has nothing to do with cannabis! She’s running around and trying to get investors, and while she might be a patient, she’s never actually been in the industry- and she’s ok to get a license?

You have other people that have already said publicly that they won’t have their shops ready, like bar owners that also have nothing to do with cannabis.

It’s a shit show and it’s going to put a really bad name on cannabis at the end of the day and I believe that’s what they need, to make it as bad as you can.

Here’s an example I’ll give you.

There were 24 dispensaries in Regina and they shut down 23 of us. There’s just one dispensary which has remained open and has always been open, and it’s the only place where they don’t know their strains and they have garbage. They use their bare hands to pick up buds and they sell to everyone, and I believe authorities will use them for example to make the entire industry look bad and ’s the inherent thing they’re trying to pull off.

This dispensary is the only one the police haven’t touched and either there’s something crazy going on like they’re on the shoot or they just need to use them as an example, but either way, it’s bad for the cannabis market.

So it could just be a propaganda play?

That’s exactly it. Why did they shut down most of the guys that have proven publicly they only help patients out but the guys that sell to everyone, and they sell crap, I mean… it’s bad.

Those guys are skuzzy, and within it’s basically just a folding table that they use… I’m one for scruples and criteria when it comes to dispensaries and anyone with those were shut down.

That’s we’ve done. We don’t do the recreational side at all.

Wee Man chilling on the couch. Photo courtesy of Best Bud Society’s Facebook page.

Do you have any plans to move to the recreational market?

That’s what this application was for but no, they didn’t let us in, but we’re happy helping patients because we’re specialized in that and we’ve got the knowledge.

We guessed that because there’s a lack of knowledge, we’re happy just doing this. But with the First Nations, we’ll definitely help them with whatever their objectives are. If they need to do medical and recreational, we’ll facilitate that.

What we’re trying to do is trying to set them up to grow their own and use craft cannabis guys and some of the greatest names in the industry to help them develop their own policies which are in accordance with Health Canada, except for the minor changes of not giving the plants a bunch of poisons and irradiating the cannabis.

We ’re trying to do exactly what the Craft Growers of Canada would want to do and line up with the First Nations to show the country why it’s better to do it this way, and if they do have sovereignty they’ll be permitted to do it and if not, there will be another fight on their hands.

The whole issue about opening dispensaries on native land would be a very interesting court battle to find out what happens.

One injunction being registered on our behalf is truly based on Metis rights, so there will be a few based on rights coming up and it will be interesting.

I truly hope you guys continue fighting.

Thank you.

Was there anything else that you’d like to include?

That’s it, man. I just need to let people in different areas of the country know what’s happening.

I’m all over the country and I’ve seen it from coast to coast, and while I love the BC scene because that’s where a lot of my colleagues are at, a lot of times they don’t realize what’s happening out here because they’re so involved in their own local scene.

They don’t see just how much the rest of us are fighting in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and it’s really like a cannabis genocide at this time.

And yet they call it legalization while this is still happening.

Yeah. Regina has had the worst crime rate in the damn country for a long time, especially out this neighbourhood here by my dispensary, and the police are putting all this time and funds towards busting a bunch of dispensaries which were making it better.

The crime rate shot up 17 percent in the first month after the dispensary crackdown and there was a enormous public outcry wondering “why did it occur? ” and we all know why, but they won’t acknowledge it.

We all know cannabis can help and to take people like us and put our pictures on the front page while there are meth dealers and a whole lot worse going on… It’s disgusting and it hurts the Canadian regulation system and that I appreciate any efforts to get the word out on what’s actually happening.

Featured picture courtesy of Regina Leader Post.

Sources

Regina Leader Post: Best Buds Society owner turns himself into Regina police.

Regina Leader Post: Unlucky cannabis applicants critical of Sask. Government’s lottery procedure .

Released at Wed, 04 Jul 2018 20:58:40 +0000

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