Pubdate: Wed, 04 Jan 2017
Source: Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2017 The Halifax Herald Limited
Author: Jordan Parker


Police stay silent on their plan if store reoffends

A leading Canadian marijuana activist is standing behind a bid by Auntie's
Dispensary to reopen after a police raid shut them down.

Last week, Halifax owner Shirley Martineau and three others were charged -
and had their inventory seized - after complaints led the Halifax Regional
Police to take action.

Martineau, who hasn't returned phone calls, vowed to reopen and has
volunteers working at the shop right now.

Toronto marijuana legalization activist Jodie Emery, who is married to
fellow activist Marc Emery, knows what Martineau is going through.

She and Marc - the latter known in the media as the Canadian Prince of Pot
- - were raided in Montreal in December, just one day after they opened
recreational pot franchises under their Cannabis Culture banner.

Eighteen kilograms were seized in the raids and 10 people arrested,
including the Emerys.

Police had received complaints about the couple's Cannabis Culture
dispensaries, according to the Toronto Sun, and police stressed that
possession and trafficking of marijuana is still illegal, whether a shop
has a permit or not.

"We are 23 years old as a magazine, headshoppe and vape lounge, but we
began recreational dispensaries in April of last year," said Emery during
a phone interview with the Chronicle Herald.

"We had massive expansion, and huge support. That prompted our city and
the police to take action against us."

She has been following the unfolding story of Martineau and her shop, and
applauded when the Halifax woman announced she would sell to marijuana
users 19 and over - even without medical marijuana prescriptions.

"Cannabis Culture openly used that model as well, and the shutdown isn't
just hurting Shirley. She is trying to help so many people who need her,"
said Emery.

"It's unfair that you need to be sick to get access. You have to pay for a
doctor's permission. People end up lying to get it."

She said people like Shirley are tired of waiting for Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau to legalize marijuana - a platform he stood behind during
the election - and she understands why Martineau expanded her client base.

"These raids are because Trudeau says this is still illegal. He and the
Liberals want the law still enforced," she said.

"He's a hypocrite. He admits to smoking marijuana and passing a joint . .
. But he's dragging his feet when it comes to his promises."

She said Martineau is being punished for taking a stand.

"The government and police don't like when you're loud and outspoken.
People like Shirley are serving a need, and they should inspire others to
do the same," she said.

Jodie and Marc are pleased Martineau is in the midst of reopening.

"She's one of the bravest women in Canada and she's refusing to be bullied
into submission. She's doing what she knows is right," she said.

Meanwhile, police will not say what will happen if Auntie's begins to
illegally sell marijuana again.

Police say the Barrington Street location was raided due to a number of

Asked what will happen if Auntie's continues to sell marijuana illegally,
the spokeswoman for the Halifax Regional Police was cryptic.

"We will assess the situation and act accordingly," wrote Const. Dianne
Penfound in an email to the Chronicle Herald.

"Given that we're in the midst of a change in the regulatory environment
on marijuana, we are monitoring the situation and will look at each
marijuana storefront on its own merits," she wrote.

"Generally speaking, we'll look into the activities of a storefront if we
receive a complaint from the public about trafficking. There are strict
regulations around the selling and buying of medical marijuana. Police
don't target people who are complying with these regulations."

Of the four Auntie's locations - the other three are in Dartmouth, Bible
Hill and Windsor - none of the others have been raided or shut down. They
have different owners.

Derek Eisnor, owner of the Auntie's location in Windsor, said he wasn't
surprised by the arrests.

"After seeing Marc Emery shut down, it's all possible. We figured this
would happen when Shirley changed who she sold to," he said.

"We made the right move by not doing this. We are being patient and
waiting for legislation. If we are being left alone, why poke the bear?"

Eisnor and his business partner are war veterans, and are looking to help

"She is a trailblazer, and what she has done takes courage. But what we
are providing here is a service, and we can't do that if we're shut down."
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