Marijuana activist Marc Emery – better known as the ‘Prince of Pot’ – caused a stir on social media Friday when he claimed during a live stream on Facebook that he thought he was being arrested.
Emery began a live stream as several Toronto police officers gathered outside his shop, Cannabis Culture, on Church Street near Gloucester Street, just before 10 a.m.
However, police said they were not there to raid the pot shop but for an eviction notice, and were called to keep the peace.
— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) September 9, 2016
Emery said he’s in danger of being evicted from the pot shop by his landlords, Adam Sud and Elliot Sud.
“I’m not going anywhere, they’re going to have to drag me out too. I’m just going to sit here and you can carry me out, guys, or whatever it is you need to do,” he said.
“I love Church Street, I love Ontario, I’m as proud to be arrested here as any place on Earth.”
On the live stream, Emery suggests that if the landlord wants him out, he wants his money back. He said the original lease stipulated the space is for a marijuana dispensary.
It is not known what the dispute is or why the landlords want him out, saying the landlords “took our money enthusiastically.”
On Facebook Live, Emery accused their landlords of trying to get the property management company to change their locks.
“After taking $24,000 from us for three months rent, for what our lease specifically says is a marijuana retail outlet, on the first day we got in here, Adam Sud and Elliot Sud, our landlords, had their property management company try to change the locks and kick us out on the first day we were here.”
Media flocked to his shop and when asked what he was going to do if his shop was shut down, Emery said “it depends if they put me in jail … if not, I’ll open another shop.
Emery believes the property manager usurped the landlords’ authority and is trying to get him out.
“My lawyer would probably tell me to use more temperate language,” he said about the property manager’s behaviour.
Emery said he has been “betrayed” by his landlord and believes the landlord called police to evict him.
He said he doesn’t think police had a warrant since they did not enter the shop.
“If the cops had a warrant they’d have been in by now,” Emery said.
Earlier this summer, police raided four marijuana dispensaries in the city’s downtown – two Cannabis Culture and two Canna Clinic locations – as part of Project Claudia and arrested 23 people.
At the time, Emery said that his store would continue to reopen every time it is raided by police, and added that they are even looking into opening more franchises around the city.
Many have criticized the raids as being heavy-handed, especially with legalization looming, but police Chief Mark Saunders said the arrests were a result of numerous community complaints, as well as health concerns regarding unregulated products.