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Cannabis Culture pot shops raided across Canada, Marc and Jodie Emery arrested

Last Updated Mar 9, 2017 at 7:51 pm EDT

Police raided Cannabis Culture pot shops in Toronto and across the country, the day after Marc Emery and Jodie Emery were arrested at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Marc Emery, known as Canada’s Prince of Pot, owns the Cannabis Culture shops with his wife, Jodie.

They are both facing possession and trafficking charges, and Marc Emery faces additional charges of violating conditions from a previous arrest. (full list of charges below)

Toronto police took part in the raids in Toronto, Hamilton, and Vancouver as part of an investigation dubbed Project Gator.

Just after 11:30 a.m., the Cannabis Culture at 461 Church St. posted a video of what they said was an ongoing raid at the store.

Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash said 11 search warrants were executed in total. Seven were at various Cannabis Culture locations and four were at private homes — two in Toronto, and one each in Stoney Creek and Vancouver. Five people were arrested.

Pugash added that no so-called “bud-tenders” who work at the dispensaries were arrested.

“As long as the law is clear, and it is absolutely clear that dispensaries are illegal, we will continue to enforce the law,” Pugash told CityNews.

Marc Emery, 59, of Toronto, was arrested and charged with:

  • Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence
  • three counts of Trafficking Schedule II
  • five counts of Possession for the Purpose Schedule II
  • five counts of Possession Proceeds of Crime
  • Fail-to-Comply Recognizance

 

Jodie Emery, 32, of Vancouver, was arrested and charged with:

  • Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence
  • Trafficking Schedule II
  • Possession for the Purpose Schedule II
  • two counts of Possession Proceeds of Crime

 

Chris Goodwin, 37, of Toronto, was arrested and charged with:

  • Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence
  • Possession for the Purpose Schedule II
  • Possession Proceeds of Crime

 

Erin Goodwin, 31, of Toronto, was arrested and charged with:

  • Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence
  • Fail-to-Comply Recognizance

 

Britney Guerra, 29, of Stoney Creek, was arrested and charged with:

  • Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence
  • three counts of Possession for the Purpose Schedule II
  • three counts of Possession Proceeds of Crime

Click here to see video from Hamilton.

The Emerys were arrested at around 7:30 p.m. at the departure area of the airport. Earlier Wednesday, Marc Emery had posted on Facebook that he and Jodie were heading to Spannabis, a cannabis expo, in Barcelona.

The couple appeared briefly in court on Thursday, but their bail hearings were put over until Friday morning at 10 a.m. They will remain behind bars in the meantime.

Ontario’s Attorney General, Yasir Naqvi, defended the raids, telling CityNews: “They (dispensaries) are illegal … the only way to get medical marijuana is through the mail from approved distributors … ”

The federal government has committed to legalizing recreational marijuana. Legislation is expected to be tabled this spring.

On Thursday, Health Minister Jane Philpott said the government hasn’t wavered on its promise to legalize and control the sale of marijuana.

“We made a commitment last April that we would introduce legislation in the spring of 2017. I know spring is around the corner and spring runs until June 21st and we are firm in our commitment to having that legislation in place.”


Related stories:

Jodie Emery opens pot shop near Parliament Hill

Trudeau says current pot law stands until new legislation is ratified

Marijuana activist faces eviction from Church Street pot shop


Thursday’s raids are the latest clampdown on the burgeoning illegal dispensary industry.

Last May, Toronto police arrested 90 people and laid 186 drug trafficking charges as part of Project Claudia, which targeted 43 marijuana dispensaries across the city.

The raids did little to deter the dispensaries. Many reopened shortly after and some charges were tossed in court, leading lawyer Selwyn Pieters to call the police action a “colossal waste of private and public resources.”

Dispensaries have also been frequent robbery targets over the last few months. Several shops have been held up, often at gunpoint, and in some instances shots were fired.

Police said their investigations into those hold ups were being hampered due to lack of cooperation from dispensary employees and owners.

Statement from Tousaw Law Corporation, which represents Marc and Jodie Emery

Late last night and this morning a variety of police departments executed warrants that appear to have been sought by the Toronto Police Services. Marc and Jodie Emery have been arrested, along with several other cannabis activists including Chris and Erin Goodwin, Britney Guerra and perhaps others.

This latest salvo in Canada’s senseless war on cannabis and cannabis consumers is a moral outrage and has no place in a free and democratic society. The Canadian public has supported legalization for many years. Our government has finally gotten around to moving, slowly, toward ending prohibition after at least 45 years of studies, Royal Commissions, government reports and other evidence that legalization is the only rational, compassionate and sensible policy option.

And yet good people continue to be arrested, locked into cages and have their liberty infringed in the pursuit of our immoral and senseless war on this beneficial plant. Make no mistake, this is not about public safety. This is not about protecting the public. There is no harm being done by the production and sale of cannabis, for medical or recreational purposes, in storefront dispensaries. In fact, dispensaries quite clearly reduce harm, reduce street sales, create good jobs, increase economic activity and assist in the transition away from a black market for cannabis. Dispensaries are a public good.

Arresting anyone for a cannabis related offence is unjust, immoral and creates harm. Coordinated country-wide raids attempting, futilely, to enforce an outdated and harmful law degrades public confidence in the administration of justice, wastes valuable taxpayer funds, wastes scarce police, prosecutorial and judicial resources and benefits precisely no one.

Our Prime Minster has promised to legalize cannabis. That promise is now two years old. Yet the arrests continue and the harm continues to be done by this terrible law. This is Canada in 2017, some 45 years after Mr. Trudeau’s father accepted the Le Dain Commission’s findings that prohibition was an abject failure that should be repealed. In that span hundreds of thousands of good Canadians have been harmed by prohibition. Enough is enough.