Marijuana activists Marc and Jodie Emery arrested in Toronto, stores raided
The Canadian Press, with files from CTV Ottawa
Published Thursday, March 9, 2017 11:54AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, March 9, 2017 3:46PM EST
TORONTO - Ottawa Police conducted a raid Thursday morning at the Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensary on Bank Street.
About a half dozen police officers were seen in the store when the raid began at about 11 a.m.
The Ottawa store is owned by the so called 'Prince of Pot' Marc Emery. The Ottawa raid comes just hours after Marc and his wife Jodie were arrested in Toronto.
TORONTO -- Prominent marijuana activists Marc and Jodie Emery were charged with multiple drug-related offences in Toronto on Thursday after police in several cities raided pot dispensaries associated with the couple.
The self-styled "Prince" and "Princess of Pot" were arrested at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on Wednesday evening. The pair appeared briefly in a courtroom on Thursday afternoon before police announced the full list of charges they faced.
Marc Emery faces 15 counts, including conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of proceeds of crime, while Jodie Emery is charged with five similar counts.
The Emerys own the Cannabis Culture brand, which is used by a chain of 19 marijuana dispensaries in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.
Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said seven Cannabis Culture locations -- five in Toronto, one in Hamilton and another in Vancouver -- were searched on Thursday along with two homes in Toronto, one in Stoney Creek, Ont., and one in Vancouver.
"Our history of enforcing the law against illegal cannabis dispensaries is well established," Pugash said. "This is the latest effort in our law enforcement, and I'm certain there will be further action."
In addition to the Emerys, police charged three other people on Thursday. Thirty-seven-year-old Chris Goodwin and 31-year-old Erin Goodwin, both of Toronto, and 29-year-old Britney Guerra of Stoney Creek, Ont., face charges that include conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
Toronto Police say the Ottawa raid was not part of Project Gator.
The federal government is moving to legalize marijuana, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized late last year that the current laws exist.
Police forces across the country have been raiding pot shops in recent months and charging owners with trafficking-related offences.
In Vancouver, a lawyer for the Emerys said "several cannabis activists" were arrested Thursday, in addition to his clients.
"Co-ordinated 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," Kirk Tousaw said.
A group of protesters gathered outside Cannabis Culture headquarters in Vancouver on Thursday afternoon, decrying the latest raids and the Emerys' arrest.
"This is a move to attack Jodie and Marc Emery," said Danny Kresnyak, editor of Cannabis Culture magazine. "It has nothing to do with protecting the children or keeping it out the hands of organized crime or anything else that they're saying in their statements."
Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott said Thursday that the federal government remains committed to introducing legislation on the matter in the spring but noted that it would have to go through a rigorous parliamentary and regulatory process.
"It's a firm commitment of our government to legalize access to cannabis, to regulate that access and to restrict it appropriately," she said. "We want to make sure this is done properly and people need to recognize it will take some time but it will be done."
British Columbia's public safety minister Mike Morris said Thursday, however, that he was concerned about public confusion about marijuana in Canada.
"The sooner the feds come out with the legislation, the sooner we can get on with determining what direction we need to go," he said.
Marc Emery was previously arrested at one of his new Montreal dispensaries in December and charged with drug trafficking.
With files from CTV Ottawa.