It was in 2009 that Yellowknife’s Kim MacNearney and her husband were arrested for growing marijuana in their home.
After an ensuing court battle that spanned for almost five years, the couple served three months house arrest, two months’ probation and 100 hours of community service for possession of marijuana in 2013.
But while their debt to society was paid, other debts went neglected.
The family is back in the courtroom Friday, owing more than $17,000 in condo fees for their home in the Northlands. The condo corporation can have a judge order they sell their trailer in order to pay their outstanding debt.
“When all this was [starting] I tried to hire a lawyer and take care of all these things so we wouldn’t end up back in court and for some reason here we are, back in court again,” MacNearney told Moose FM.
‘Every penny we had we funneled into our legal case’
So what happened?
MacNearney, now an outspoken advocate for the legalization of marijuana, lost her job as a human resources officer with the GNWT after her arrest.
In subsequent years, most of her time was devoted to acting as a legal assistant on her and her husband’s case.
She says the whole ordeal affected her employability, and has now resorted to working in coffee shops and bartending on weekends instead of her chosen field to make ends meet.
“In the North, if you loss a government job, it’s hard to gain that income back up here,” she said.
“There’s not a lot of way to get that level of income.”
During their first legal battle, MacNearney says all their money went towards paying legal fees, and they fell behind on paying their condo fees.
“For four years, pretty much every penny we had we funneled into our legal case,” she said.
“It’s frustrating that I’m actually having to go back to court. [The case] impacted my employment, it impacted my employability and so that’s definitely having long-term impacts on us being able to get back on our feet.”
Go Fund Me started
The company is now taking the case to court. The family made an offer of payment but due to procedure, it was not accepted. Details in their case are now being worked out as it goes before a judge.
“At the end of the day I’ll still have another lawyer’s bill from my lawyer and another lawyer’s bill potentially from the condo corporation’s lawyer as well,” MacNearney said.
“It just doesn’t ever end. It’s really quite unreal.”
A friend of the family set up a Go Fund Me campaign on Thursday to help with their legal fees. As of 1 p.m. Friday it had raised $900 of its $5,000 goal.