Pubdate: Tue, 13 Dec 2016
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2016 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Christopher Curtis
Page: A2


Chain sells to recreational users who are over 19 years of age

'Prince of Pot' ready to set up shop in Plateau Canada's
self-described "Prince of Pot" is expanding his chain of illegal
marijuana dispensaries into Montreal as of Thursday, according to sources.

A blogger made the announcement on marijuana advocate Marc Emery's
online magazine last week. His wife, Jodie, posted a cryptic tweet on
Dec. 8, counting down the days until the dispensary's Montreal debut.

Two sources close to Emery have confirmed he intends to open as many
as three dispensaries in the Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood.

"I've known (Emery) for some time and when he says something, he means
business," said MarcBoris St-Maurice, who runs the Fondation Marijuana
dispensary on St-Laurent Blvd.

Unlike St-Maurice's dispensary - which, while unlicensed, sells pot
only to patients with a prescription for medical marijuana - Emery's
chain of Cannabis Culture dispensaries is open to recreational users.
The only requirement is that customers be over 19 years old.

Emery has aggressively expanded his business this year, opening
locations in Toronto, Hamilton and Port Coquitlam, B.C. He also has
dispensaries in Vancouver - which carry playfully named strains like
Moby Dick, Sticky Fingaz, Love Potion #1 and Pink Death.

Police raided the Toronto, Hamilton and Port Coquitlam stores last
summer and in November, but most have since reopened. St-Maurice,
whose dispensary was raided twice, says Montreal police will take
notice of Emery's activities.

"My experience with law enforcement in our wonderful city, they won't
respond well to this type of thing," he said. "Especially people
coming from out of town making a big show. Who knows what's going to
happen, but I can't see it ending well."

The Montreal police did not return the Montreal Gazette's phone calls
about the dispensary.

According to a report by La Presse, the dispensaries might open on
St-Laurent Blvd. near Roy St.; on Mont-Royal Ave. near Papineau Ave.;
and on Amherst St. near Ontario St.

While a task force has been studying how to implement Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau's promise to legalize and regulate marijuana, it
remains illegal for recreational purposes. Ottawa will release the
task force's report today, the federal Health Department said.

Adam Greenblatt has been advocating for legal but regulated access to
marijuana in Montreal since 2010. He says Emery's bold action could
provoke a "political backlash" that would compromise efforts to
regulate distribution of the drug in Quebec.

"There is indeed a real need in terms of both public health and
consumer demand for retail cannabis distribution," said Greenblatt,
the head of Quebec engagement for Tweed, a medicinal cannabis
manufacturer. "But the proliferation of dispensaries in the absence of
regulation is problematic. There is no transparency in the dispensary
supply chain; nothing is properly tested or handled."

Emery has never shied away from brushes with the law. In a 2015 blog
post, the "Prince of Pot" wrote that he had been arrested 28 times for
cannabis-related offences. He also served a five-year prison sentence
in the U.S., beginning in 2009, for selling marijuana seeds online.

After his release in 2014, Emery said he would campaign for Trudeau in
the 2015 federal election - praising the Liberal leader's stance on
marijuana legalization. But Emery's public support of the Liberals
waned last February, when he criticized Trudeau's appointment of
former Toronto police chief Bill Blair to oversee the legalization

"I am merely the most notable Canadian cannabis prisoner of the drug
war," Emery wrote in a 2015 column for the Georgia Straight. "But
hundreds of thousands of Canadians have experienced the trauma of
arrest, stigma and suffering under Canada's three-generation reign of
cannabis prohibition."

Emery could not be reached for comment on Monday.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt