One of Canada’s most high profile cannabis advocates is being accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with a teenage girl.
Marc Emery — the self proclaimed Prince of Pot — admitted in a lengthy Facebook post to being “a touchy guy” and “sexually outspoken” but maintains he’s never sexually harassed or assaulted anyone.
Deidre Olsen, a freelance reporter, began a twitter thread writing about her alleged encounters with Emery in 2008 when she was 17 and was offered a job at his Cannabis Culture store in downtown Vancouver.
Olsen says they began chatting online and the nature of the chats quickly became sexual.
“He started telling me about his genitalia and his sex life with his wife over Facebook messenger,” she told CityNews.
Olsen says she eventually agreed to meet Emery and he gave her a tour of the Cannabis Culture lounge. That’s when she says he encouraged her to sit on his lap.
“I mean, I was very uncomfortable sitting on his lap smoking from a bong knowing that it was obviously simulating oral sex,” she recalled. “He was 50. I was 17. It was obviously very uncomfortable.”
When asked why she agreed to sit on his lap, Olsen, now 27, says as a teen she felt pressured to fit in.
“It’s one of those things where it’s in the moment and someone asks you and you don’t really want to but you’re like ‘I guess so, sure.’ I just wanted to like feel cool and be a part of something.”
Olsen claims her mother became aware of the allegedly inappropriate Facebook messages and demanded she stop communicating with Emery immediately.
Olsen believes Emery was attempting to groom her and says he went into graphic detail about sexual experiences.
“I don’t think there is ever an appropriate time to talk about sexual exploits with 15-17 year old girls present,” she said.
Olsen never reported any of Emery’s alleged behaviour to police, but is now speaking out because she feels empowered by the MeToo movement.
CityNews reached out to Emery several times for comment, but he did not respond.
Just after midnight on Thursday morning, Emery took to Facebook, responding to the accusations in an 1,800 word statement where he admitted to engaging in provocative behaviour, but says it never crossed the line into anything illegal.
“I do say outrageous things, but it is my sincere belief that I have never harmed anyone, or sexually aggressed anyone, in my life,” Emery wrote.
“I’ve never had sex with anyone under 19 ever, so this idea that I’m grooming young women is not true.”
“I am a touchy guy probably,” he added. “But I would like to think that it was modest non sexual touching always … It was only adult women or men I would be giving back rubs to.”
He also directly addressed Olsen’s allegations saying: “Deidre and I had a pleasant correspondence when she was 17, nearly 18, as she wanted to work for Cannabis Culture. I never asked her for sex and offered to talk to her parents if she wanted to work at CC. I don’t know what grooming was going on.
“I regret Deidre finds the experience now traumatizing. To you Deidre, I’m sorry I went out of bounds and the experience has become unpleasant. It was immature of me and bad judgment, but I only ever felt positive and glad to know you in our correspondence.”
CityNews reached out to police in Toronto, Vancouver and Hamilton — all former locations of Cannabis Culture stores. Due to privacy reasons, police cannot comment on any complaints or investigations unless charges are laid.
No charges have ever been laid against Emery related to inappropriate sexual behaviour.