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Canada Hells Angel offers to help people get medical pot-growing licences

07:22  07 february  2018
07:22  07 february  2018 Source:   vancouversun.com

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A longtime Vancouver Hells Angel is offering to help people get licences to grow their own medical marijuana “everywhere in Canada except Quebec!!!!”

Hal Bruce Porteous, 45, made the offer in an Instagram post, asking followers who want the licence to send him a direct message.

“If anyone is in serious pain and doesn’t want to take prescription medication and would like a medical marijuana license to grow there (sic) own medication, please DM me. This is legal!!” said Porteous, a member of the biker gang’s Vancouver chapter. “Permitted 4 licences at each address!!!!”

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Retired police biker expert Andy Richards obtained a copy of the post and provided it to Postmedia. He said it is of concern when a member of a criminal organization appears to be brokering licences in the medical marijuana industry.

“Law enforcement has suggested for the last few years that organized crime had infiltrated the (Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations) system primarily through nominee licences,” said Richards, who is CEO of Spire Secure Logistics. “This is a bit more concerning because this demonstrates — if anybody needed more evidence — that they in fact control and broker and sell these licences across Canada. And for a country and industry that’s looking to legitimize in the next 12 months into a regulated, compliant non-black market scenario, this is not a good starting point.”

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Porteous’s Instagram account is set to private, but Richards said the post “was brought to our attention. We do high-level consulting work with companies in that sector.”

This week, the B.C. government released new rules for recreational cannabis when it is legalized, saying it would be sold in both public and private stores to those over 19. But the new pot rules don’t affect medical cannabis, which will continue to be sold online by federally licensed producers under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations.

B.C.’s anti-gang agency, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, also has concerns about Porteous’s apparent online offer of assistance for medical cannabis growing licences.

“It concerns the CFSEU-B.C. that a member of the Hells Angels is publicly offering to broker licences for individuals to grow marijuana,” Staff Sgt. Lindsey Houghton said. “While the licences may be legal, it is well documented that the Hells Angels, and many of their members, are involved in and have been convicted of criminal activity worldwide.”

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Health Canada spokeswoman Sindy Souffront said any applicant for a medical growing licence is subject to a security check. “Every application undergoes a detailed assessment and review, including an in-depth security check undertaken by the RCMP,” she said.

Asked if the review could determine if an applicant was fronting for someone else, she said: “Health Canada can only talk about anything related to the application and creating the rules. But when it comes to actual implementation and a situation like this, I think you have to talk to the RCMP.”

A decade ago, U.S. authorities linked Porteous to a massive cross-border drug smuggling ring, but he was never charged. His close associates, Rob Shannon and Jody York, both pleaded guilty in the U.S. case, along with several other B.C. men. Shannon was sentenced to 20 years in jail, while York got five years. Both have since been released and returned to Canada. U.S. government authorities said the conspirators moved $19 million worth of marijuana and cocaine across the border over five years and that they were working for the Hells Angels in B.C.

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Porteous, who owns Midas Touch Diamond and Design, did not respond to a request for comment.

Both Shannon and York appeared in a video for a rap song Porteous recorded called OSG. He released it on a 2015 CD of the same name. Porteous’s Facebook page features photos of him rapping and backstage with singers Fergie and Rihanna.

Porteous’s name surfaced in a 2004 trial of a onetime Hells Angels prospect, who was convicted of beating a man he believed had stolen marijuana belonging to Porteous.

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