Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jun 2016
Source: Toronto 24hours (CN ON)
Page: 3
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Inc.
Author: Nick Westoll


The hits keep coming for Toronto's pot shops.

Cops raided four marijuana dispensaries on Thursday - the blitz comes 
almost one month after Toronto Police raided dozens of shops across the city.

And Chief Mark Saunders delivered a blunt warning to any Hogtown bud 
businesses still operating when asked about these latest raids.

"It's an ongoing investigation. I've never minced my words," Saunders 
said. "This is a result of what I said. If you have a dispensary 
open, your chances of going to court and being charged are very high, 
so I highly recommend that you stop."

Saunders also took aim at those operating the dispensaries.

"This investigation has nothing to do with personal use, this has 
everything to do with people that are entering into this for the sole 
purpose of making money, using it as a guise under medical marijuana 
- - this is a falsehood."

At Cannabis Culture on Queen St. W., police arrested three people 
from inside the store Thursday afternoon and plainclothes officers 
were seen leaving with two large bags of evidence.

Jodie Emery, who owns the Cannabis Culture chain with her husband 
Marc Emery - the so-called Prince of Pot, called the raids a "waste" 
of police resources.

Emery called for a moratorium on arrests for marijuana-related 
offences and the acceleration of planned federal marijuana legislation.

"This inequality is unjust when Canadians will be buying pot legally 
in the near future," Emery said. "If Canadians are not going to be 
arrested in the future for pot, they shouldn't be arrested today."

Emery acknowledged marijuana distribution is illegal, but said she 
and others are engaging in peaceful disobedience.

"We believe that in this case breaking the law to demonstrate the 
injustice of the law is essential to change the law," she said.

"Civil disobedience is the only reason legalization is happening 
after 20 years plus of heavy activism."

Police carried out Project Claudia in May. That operation saw 90 
people arrested and 186 charges laid as officers executed search 
warrants on 43 storefront locations. Those charges have yet to be 
tested in court.

A police spokesman said an update on the raids will be released Friday.

- -With files from Jenny Yuen and The Canadian Press
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom