Pubdate: Fri, 10 Mar 2017
Source: Metro (Vancouver, CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Metro Canada
Author: Wanyee Li


Activist couple arrested in Toronto, face 15 drug charges

Vancouver police raided Cannabis Culture, headquarters of marijuana
activists Marc and Jodie Emery, Thursday morning at the request of
Toronto police.

The couple were arrested in Toronto Wednesday and face 15 counts,
including trafficking, drug possession and proceeds of crime charges.
Police across the country have raided seven shops in the Emery chain,
branded Cannabis Culture. The federal government has said it will
legalize marijuana this year.

A Cannabis Culture employee, who identified himself as Chris, said
police took marijuana products as well as routers and computers from
the store on West Hastings Street near Cambie Street.

A handful of Cannabis Culture employees in Vancouver confronted police
as officers raided the store and lounge upstairs. One employee sat in
front of a police vehicle parked in the back alley and told reporters
she would stay until the Emerys' lawyer showed up.

"I don't trust them," said Alisa Vail, a Cannabis Culture

"If they want to stay here fine, but I'll make sure they stay here
until we get some answers."

Vancouver police were seen loading up a second van in the back alley
with boxes and two officers stood guard at the store's front entrance.
Interactions between the employees and police were peaceful, with
protesters smoking pot and one officer agreeing to feed the four cats
that live inside the store.

A Vancouver police spokesperson confirmed officers were executing
search warrants issued in Toronto.

But marijuana advocate Dana Larsen said he didn't understand why local
police would deviate from the city's current strategy of regulating
the industry.

"I think it is pretty shocking that we're seeing VPD raiding
dispensaries and cannabis outlets in Vancouver again. I thought we
were past that," said Larsen, a long-time friend of the Emerys.

"I think it is inappropriate for the VPD to be taking marching orders
from other police departments from other parts of the country."

He says Vancouver police also executed a search warrant for Jodie
Emery's home Thursday.

A lawyer who has represented the Emerys in the past said the two were
in custody but in good spirits as they waited for their bail hearing

"We've been fighting this battle an awfully long time. And we're going
to fight it right to the end. And I expect we're going to be
victorious," said Vancouver lawyer Kirk Tousaw.

Meanwhile, Vail and other protesters outside Vancouver's Cannabis
Culture criticized the officers for not focusing on the fentanyl
crisis instead.

"It's absolutely ridiculous. The fentanyl crisis is actually insane
right now and they're wasting so much of their time on us."

In addition to the Cannabis Culture location in Vancouver, police
searched five Cannabis Culture stores in Toronto and one in Hamilton
as part of a Toronto police investigation dubbed Project Gator.

Toronto police charged three other people in addition to the Emerys -
37-year-old Chris Goodwin and 31-year-old Erin Goodwin from Toronto as
well as 29-year-old Britney Guerra of Stoney Creek face charges that
include conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
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