In June 2014 Cheryl MacLellan was charged with producing a schedule II substance; after more than a year in court system the charge has been stayed

By Heather Rivers, Woodstock Sentinel-Review

File photo

File photo

A drug charge against a local business owner laid in June 2014 was stayed Monday morning in a Brantford courtroom.

Cheryl MacLellan, 57, had been charged with producing a Schedule II substance after police responded to an alarm at a Burford building on Rutherland Street.

According to a spokesperson from the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, the decision to stay or withdraw charges “means they discontinue the prosecution.”

“In both situations, once your charges are withdrawn or stayed by the Crown, you don’t have to go back to court,” spokesperson Sujata Raisinghani wrote in an e-mail.

MacLellan said she had been renting space in the Burford warehouse to grow medical marijuana for two ill people.

“I’m very relieved but also very dismayed that it ruined medical marijuana for two very ill people,” she said.

MacLellan, a former Woodstock police officer, as well as the former owner of Hemp County, was scheduled for a trial later this year.

MacLellan, who had a licence to grow medical marijuana, said police officers found trim and rubbing alcohol in her legal grow operation and “leapt to the conclusion we were making cannabis oil there.”

“I was always confident we would have won at trial,” she said during a phone interview Monday after the charge was stayed. “Everything they seized was authorized for the medical marijuana program.”

MacLellan, who now owns Country Infusion Bistro in Woodstock, said she was also upset that police identified her building, forcing her to close the operation down.

“After that, we were never safe there,” she said. “They identified the location.”

She said the cost of shutting down the operation was approximately $100,000.

MacLellan said the two affected clients have launched a lawsuit against the Brant County OPP.

The OPP said they were unable to provide a comment on the case when contacted by the Woodstock Sentinel-Review Monday afternoon.