Tag Archives: Jodie Emery

Future of Cannabis Culture dispensaries up in smoke after police raids

“Our livelihood, our brand, our money, our inventories all gone!” says owner Marc Emery, after co-ordinated police operation shuts down storefront marijuana shops in Toronto and franchise’s head office in Vancouver 

 Cannabis Culture’s Queen West location was closed after Friday’s police raids. 

The faint smell of marijuana smoke hung in the halls of Old City Hall on Friday, as dozens turned out for the bail hearing of Cannabis Culture dispensary owners Marc and Jodie Emery.

The “Prince and Princess of Pot,” were arrested, along with business partners Chris Goodwin, Erin Goodwin, and Britney Guerra, on Wednesday night and charged with raft of marijuana-related offences, including trafficking and possession of the proceeds of crime. The arrests were part of Project Gator, a nationwide operation co-ordinated by Toronto police specifically targeting six Cannabis Culture locations in Toronto and Hamilton, and Cannabis Culture’s magazine offices in Vancouver, where no charges were laid but computers seized. Two Cannabis Culture stores in Ottawa were also raided, though police say those were not connected to Project Gator.

Police seized more than 65 kilograms of cannabis and 2.4 kilograms of concentrates, as well as more than $250,000 in cash, ramping up a police war on dispensaries that has been escalating in recent weeks as the Trudeau government, which has promised a recreational marijuana regime by spring, continues to drag its feet on legalization.  

It’s unclear why Cannabis Culture was targeted. One might interpret Project Gator as a final swipe by the police at the Emerys, who have had a long history of facing off against law enforcement as the faces of the legalization movement in Canada. The couple were front and centre during last May’s Project Claudia raids, with Jodie Emery crashing the police press conference at City Hall to protest the police action. 

But a number of armed robberies of dispensaries in recent months, including at a dispensary on Eglinton West in midtown February 15, has sparked renewed calls from local politicians to shutdown the operations.

And while the Emerys were released Friday, there will be questions about the future of their storefront franchise, which boasts some 19 locations in B.C., Ontario and Quebec.

As a condition of their release, both Marc and Jodie Emery must not aid in the operation of their businesses. The Emerys were given two weeks to extricate themselves from the day-to-day operation of Cannabis Culture or risk violating the terms of their release and being sent to jail.

There are no clear answers on how the stores will operate without the involvement of the Emerys, who have been the face of the franchise. But the couple seem prepared to comply with the terms of their release for now. 

“Jodie and I can no longer be involved with Cannabis Culture stores or the brand, despite it being the culmination of 24 years of hard work and struggle,” wrote Emery in a Facebook post late Friday, that he says was written in an internet cafe after police seized their phones and computers. “You won’t find me at any Cannabis Culture stores, or any dispensary, for that matter. Our livelihood, our brand, our money, our inventories all gone!” 

Emery writes that plans are in the works for a cross-Canada tour in May, but the couple’s current bail conditions forbid them from leaving Ontario. 

According to Emery, Cannabis Culture employees are “keen to take over” the businesses.

Certainly, by Friday afternoon, even before the Emerys had been released, Cannabis Culture’s Church Street store had re-opened, with staff openly defying the police by selling a special strain, “OG Gator,” as a middle finger to the police operation.

“We’re going to re-open every time,” said Chris, an employee at the store, who did not provide a last name. He, along with other employees and the store manager, were present during the raids, but not charged. It was another twist in a day full of them.

What should have otherwise been a fairly routine bail hearing was marked by confusion from the start. First scheduled for 10 am, the start time was pushed back an hour to accommodate the large crowd of supporters in the courthouse. Proceedings were delayed again, because the defendants had not fully read the 50-page summary setting out the charges against them. Shortly after noon, the court learned that the Justice of the Peace assigned to the court had become ill and needed to be taken to hospital, delaying proceedings until after 2 pm, when another justice could be found. All five were eventually released at around 7 p.m. on Friday.

The Emerys will appear in court again on April 21. Their lawyer had initially proposed April 20 (also known as 420, the day reserved for the annual smoke-out at Nathan Phillips Square), but moved the date at Marc Emery’s immediate – and passionate – objection. 

Original article can be found here

Jodie Emery forced to give up Cannabis Culture

Canada’s “Princess of Pot” has been dethroned.

After her recent arrest along with husband Marc at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport as part of a sting operation targeting Cannabis Culture outlets across the country, Jodie Emery has been set free but with cruel and unusual bail conditions.

Including giving up her life’s work with Cannabis Culture.

In a Facebook post, she recounted her ordeal to supporters:

“I’m finally free, along with my beloved husband and friends, after I spent two long nights in remand and then a women’s jail here in Toronto. It was horrific and degrading and unjust, being stripped naked twice, caged in numerous cells, and put through that entire ordeal but now I know first-hand what so many hundreds of thousands of people have suffered and experienced at the hands of sadistic prohibitionists.”

In order to be released on bail, I am no longer allowed to be the owner and operator of Cannabis Culture — including the magazine, headshops, and vapour lounges. I cannot attend any location, not even our 307 West Hastings Street headquarters, where I’ve spent 13 years devoting my life 100% to ending cannabis prohibition and the drug war worldwide. My advocacy won’t end. My activism won’t stop. But it will all be done as the individual Jodie Emery, not as part of Cannabis Culture, which utterly breaks my heart.

We have had everything taken from us by these actions of the Toronto Drug Squad, Toronto Police, and the Trudeau Liberal government but we have survived cruel injustices before, and we will survive this massive effort to destroy us and our hard work. And I know I can live in peace, knowing that we have NEVER hurt anyone — it’s the prohibitionist government and police who have hurt and even killed millions of people in their drug war — and knowing our decades of activism work has helped millions of people worldwide. The aggressors and oppressors are the evil-doers… we’ve only every been peaceful and passionate in our campaign for true cannabis freedom.

Tomorrow, we hope to get phones so we can speak with family, friends and loved ones. For now, I want to say thank you to everyone who supports us, and I promise that I will NEVER stop pushing for liberty for our people, our culture, and our plant. That’s been the goal all along, even those long hard years of Marc’s 2005-2014 extradition battle and imprisonment, when we had next to nothing, but still gave our all to the marijuana legalization movement.

Sending love to everyone who fights alongside us for freedom.”

Original article can be found here

Marc and Jodie Emery Arrested In Toronto

What Kind Of Path To Legalization Starts With A Crackdown On Legalization Activists?

Toronto cannabis activist Chris Goodwin posted on his facebook page late Wednesday night (March 8, 2017) that prominent legalization activists Marc and Jodie Emery have been arrested and their bail hearing is set for 10 AM Thursday morning (March 9, 2017).

This was confirmed shortly after by lawyer Kirk Tousaw.

This is far from being Marc Emery’s first arrest, his longstanding career in libertarian civil disobedience has landed him in jail, including a 5 year stretch in the US following a one-sided extradition process.

Their arrest is another in a Canada-wide crackdown on the same compassion clubs and activist networks that championed Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party in the 2015 election based entirely on Trudeau’s legalization promise.

Trudeau’s legalization promise has proven to be yet another example in a long line of promises that were made to be broken, while making token gesutres to give the appearance of keeping them.

Other examples include the hearings and consultations for electoral reform, which was another major promise, before declaring that Canadians weren’ interested in it anymore and giving a litany of reasons why it was a bad idea, and announcing he had ended the Harper Government’s P3 requirement for federal infrastructure funding while actually expanding the P3 requirement with the formation of the P3 driven ‘infrastructure bank’.

In this case, Trudeau is playing the long game against legalization, using delay tactics to keep the ball rolling in circles, possibly until the next election when he can use it to win another term, as some activists are suggesting.

The most insulting of these delay tactics is his decision to give control over the legalization process to Bill Blair, a long time anti-cannabis lobbyist and former chief of one of Canada’s most corrupt police forces.

Original article can be found here