Marc and Jodie Emery ordered to cease operation of Cannabis Culture

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Marc and Jodie Emery ordered to cease operation of Cannabis Culture

Post by notsofasteddie » Mon 13th Mar 2017 05:47 pm

Marc and Jodie Emery ordered to cease operation of Cannabis Culture

Nick Eagland
Published on: March 11, 2017

Marc and Jodie Emery talk to the press outside the Old City Hall court in Toronto after their release on bail.
Jack Boland / Toronto Sun

The business empire built by Canada’s “Prince and Princess of Pot” is on the verge of collapse.

Marc and Jodie Emery have been ordered to cease operating their Cannabis Culture dispensary business after they were arrested Wednesday at Pearson Airport while on their way catch a flight to Barcelona, Jodie said Saturday in a phone call from Toronto.

Emery said they were taken into custody by plainclothes officers as they exited an Uber vehicle and were later strip-searched and detained. She described their treatment by police as “disturbing and shocking” and said they were only permitted to speak with lawyers hours after the arrest.

“We’ve literally been stripped naked in the strip search and stripped of everything we’ve built, everything we’ve worked so hard for all these years,” Emery said.

The following day, police in Toronto, Hamilton, Ont. and Vancouver executed 11 search warrants, while three of the Emerys’ associates in Cannabis Culture were also arrested. The five defendants were charged Thursday with a range of counts, including drug trafficking and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

At a bail hearing Friday, the five defendants were represented by Toronto lawyers Jack Lloyd and Dan Stein. All five were released on bail that afternoon with conditions, Lloyd said when reached by phone in Toronto. They are set to appear in court the morning of April 21, he said.

Emery described the conditions handed to her and her husband as “onerous.” The Vancouver couple are now required to stay and live in Ontario, though Jodie may visit her home city with court permission, she said.

They have been banned from entering any Cannabis Culture location or office, including the B.C. Marijuana Party and Cannabis Culture magazine headquarters in Vancouver, and Emery can’t speak with staff or deal with business operations in any way, she said.

The couple have been given two weeks to remove themselves from any bank accounts associated with the business.

“It’s utterly heartbreaking, really,” Emery said. “My entire adult life has been 100-per-cent dedicated to Cannabis Culture and our mission for legalization and cannabis for freedom.”

Marc and Jodie Emery at the opening of a Cannabis Culture store in Montreal in December 2016.

The Emerys, longtime staples of B.C.’s pot advocacy scene, own the Cannabis Culture brand. It has been used by a chain of marijuana dispensaries in B.C., Ontario and Quebec that has expanded over the last two years.

Although Canada’s Liberal government has said it plans to introduce legislation later this year to legalize non-medicinal marijuana sales and use, pot dispensaries remain illegal under federal law.

Emery said she believes they were targeted for their longtime activism and civil disobedience, and believes Toronto police, who co-ordinated last week’s “Project Gator,” may have been exacting revenge after charges were dropped against employees arrested during the “Project Claudia” raids in Toronto last May.

“I feel fair to say this is a political persecution and the police and the government are looking at preventing us from being able to exercise our right to be active and to run businesses,” she said.

Emery said the couple will speak on Monday with lawyers, who have advised them not to discuss specifics around charges and allegations made against them.

She believes the case will “drag out” for years in court but, as it unfolds, “the truth will come out” and people will “see that a lot of the police propaganda is untrue,” she said.

Rob Gordon, a professor of criminology at Simon Fraser University, said that while hundreds of dispensaries have opened across Canadian cities in recent years, the Toronto police probably chose to target the Emerys because of their high profile and envelope-pushing strategies.

“One of their characteristics is always to cross the line in as dramatic and public a manner as they can, because that’s how they advance their particular cause,” Gordon said, adding police may have wanted “to make an example out of them.”

“They’re thumbing their nose at government, the federal government in particular,” Gordon said, adding the Toronto police may have felt pressure “from on high.”

“Quite clearly the message from government to those police forces is: ‘enforce the law,’” Gordon said.

The pot sold in retail dispensaries across the country probably comes from a range of sources, said Gordon. Possible sources include growers licensed for personal medicinal production selling their surplus, or unlicensed grow-ops, whether run by criminal organizations or small-scale farmers.

Gordon said he wouldn’t be surprised if some pot makes its way north from U.S. states such as Washington, where recreational use has been legalized.

Details of the supply chain for Cannabis Culture, as with every other storefront dispensary in the country, remain unclear. The source of their cannabis is illegal, even for dispensaries that have received business licences from municipalities like Vancouver and Victoria.

There are 39 producers across Canada licensed to produce cannabis, but their only legal distribution channel is to sell through the mail to patients registered with Health Canada.

Earlier this year, Emery told the Financial Post the pot sold at Cannabis Culture locations comes from “brokers who get it from those with medical growing licences. Many of the connections have stood for decades.”

“She equates the growers to farmers at a local market,” the Post reported. “They are proud of their product and would like to come forward, but prohibition forces them to stay in the dark.”


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Re: Marc and Jodie Emery ordered to cease operation of Cannabis Culture

Post by notsofasteddie » Tue 14th Mar 2017 08:34 pm

Please Stop Arresting Marijuana Activists, For Canada's Sake

Ian Carey
Updated: 03/14/2017

Last week police arrested Marc Emery for the 30th time. It is believed this is the first time he's been arrested since police in Montreal picked him up in December, but it's tough to keep track. Police also raided Cannabis Culture dispensaries owned by him and his partner Jodie in Toronto, Vancouver and Hamilton. Emery faces 15 charges relating to distributing marijuana, and Jodie Emery has been charged with five such offences.

Some say what the dispensaries are doing is blatantly illegal, others say the issue exists inside of a legal grey area. By the time the courts make sense of it, however, the laws probably won’t exist anymore anyway.

The federal government plans on introducing legislation later this year which will legalize the sale and distribution of non-medicinal marijuana. Despite this the police just can't stop themselves from arresting Marc Emery.

To many this will seem as though the police were just arresting business owners who were operating outside the law, and this will not prevent true medical marijuana patients from accessing their medication. However, this couldn't be farther from the truth. If it wasn't for the work of Marc Emery and other dispensary owners operating in a legal grey area, the quality of life for many medical marijuana patients would be greatly reduced.

Marc Emery at the reopening of his Cannabis Culture pot shop, a day after Toronto Police shut it down in a raid.
(Photo: Michael Robinson/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Medical marijuana patients in Canada have three options:

1. Receive a license to grow their own marijuana

Growing enough marijuana for regular consumption without having access to high-end equipment is considerably more difficult than those guys from your high school made it seem. Many people just do not have the space, know how or time to make this a realistic option.

2. Purchase legal-grey-area marijuana from a dispensary

The option most people choose is purchasing marijuana from a legal-grey-area dispensary, such as Cannabis Culture. The non-government approved variety of marijuana supplied by these dispensaries comes with more variety for patients.

“We shouldn't be arresting these people.

Thanks to people like Marc and Jodie Emery, a medical marijuana patient can go into a dispensary and purchase a strain of marijuana specifically geared towards their affliction. A chronic pain sufferer can access a strain of marijuana that has been reported as beneficial for pain. A person with generalized anxiety can get a strain that won't cause them paranoia. Someone who has to work all day can get a smooth sativa strain that won't leave them mentally foggy afterwards. Such niceties are not afforded by the government's medical marijuana program.

3. Purchase government grown and approved medical marijuana

The government program is light years behind where the dispensaries are in terms of being able to provide a variety of strains that are geared towards specific afflictions. For many years all that was available for medical marijuana patients was one strand of marijuana, take it or leave it. Though some government-approved providers now have as many as 10 strains available at a time (dispensaries often have dozens of different strains), they still do not have the variety often required for a medical marijuana patient to find the strain which works best for their affliction.

By having access to a greater diversity of strains geared towards their affliction, many Canadians are able to lead better quality lives. The work of Marc and Jodie Emery helps people, improves their lives and increases the amount of joy in the world. We shouldn't be arresting these people.

Marc Emery smokes marijuana in front of Toronto Police Headquarters.
(Photo: Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

"But they sell for non-medicinal use!"

The main focus of many anti-dispensary crusaders is that dispensaries are selling to people for recreational use. How terrible, right?

In all likelihood such use is going to be legal soon, and our economy is going to be far better off for it. Last year the state of Colorado brought in $135 million off taxes from legal marijuana sales. The state of Oregon brought in over $60 million.

With recreational marijuana use legalized in Canada, the whole country will feel the positive financial impacts. It will be an industry we need to make sure is run well, and who is in the best position to do that? The government and their one-strain of terrible medical marijuana? Or the guy who can re-stock seven dispensaries within hours of being arrested?

(Photo: Michael Robinson/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Arrest, wasted resources

The reason so many dispensaries have cropped up since the last federal election is because lawyers know by the time any charges make their way through the court system, the laws they are charged with won't exist.

In the end, all of the charges against Marc and Jodie Emery will be dismissed. So why bother arresting them? Every second of time and every cent spent to arrest the pot power couple will lead to absolutely nothing productive, and nothing which benefits Canadians.

The raids will, however, increase the cost of medication for marijuana patients, decrease access to medication and further signify to medical marijuana patients that police still see them as criminals.

Thank you, Marc and Jodie Emery, for risking your freedom to ensure Canadians have access to medicine that can help improve the quality of their life. Thank you for fighting against outdated laws that harm good people. Today the government of Canada is trying to hurt Marc and Jodie Emery, but future governments will be thanking them.


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this blog indicated that government programs offer only one strain of marijuana. In fact, government programs offer several strains, but not nearly as many as some dispensaries.

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