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Selling garden supplies to a drug grow-op can constitute aiding and abetting

A recent Court of Appeal decision ruled that a man who ran a garden supply store utilized by various marijuana grow-ops. At trial he had been convicted for aiding and abetting the people with the grow-ops, as well as conspiring with them. The Court of Appeal dismissed the conspiracy charges, but also un-stayed the aiding and abetting charges and imposed the same sentence. While the end result is the same for the accused - 20 months incarceration - the Court's decision provides some guidance on the issue of to what degree of criminality can be attached to someone selling supplies to a grow-op.

The conspiracy count was dismissed because "the general fact that the appellant operated a garden supply store, even knowing that nearly all of his customers wanted the products for marihuana grow operations, is not sufficient in itself to make him a party to a conspiracy to produce marihuana or possess marihuana for the purpose of trafficking." There was a lack of an agreement between the accused and the marihuana growers, no evidence the accused knew what the growers did with the products they bought from him, and there was no evidence that the accused had any stake in the grow-ops.

The conviction for aiding and abetting was based on the fact that the judge found that the accused knew and intended that his products would be used to help or facilitate marihuana grow operators in committing the offence of producing marihuana. Knowledge, combined with doing anything to assist, is enough to be convicted of aiding and abetting.

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