Pubdate: Fri, 10 Mar 2017
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Molly Hayes
Page: A4


Hours earlier, activists Marc and Jodie Emery were arrested at

Toronto police raided a Hamilton dispensary Thursday morning just
hours after two prominent Canadian marijuana activists were arrested
at Pearson airport.

Undercover officers raided the Hamilton location of Cannabis Culture
on King Street East - easy to spot from its bright green exterior,
between Walnut and Wellington streets - manager Rex Mekkem said.

"I'm just letting people know. Metro Toronto is raiding the Hamilton
store," Mekkem said in a live cellphone video posted to his Facebook
page Thursday just before noon.

In the video, he says police were taking merchandise but otherwise
letting people go.

"They're just taking everybody's names and everybody's phones and
kicking us loose because it has to do with Toronto, they said."

Mekkem noted he'd hoped to be back open by 6 p.m. Calls to the
business went straight to voicemail.

Marijuana dispensaries operate in a grey area with no governing bylaws
in Hamilton. They're against the law, but the federal government has
said legalization is on the horizon with a legislative framework
expected this spring.

Thursday morning's raid on Cannabis Culture in Hamilton was just one
of several on the chain's stores across Canada Thursday after the
arrest of the company's owners, Marc and Jodie Emery.

The prominent pro-marijuana activists were charged with multiple
drug-related offences after police arrested them at Toronto's Pearson
International Airport Wednesday evening.

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 couple's Toronto lawyer said his clients were expected to appear
in court again on Friday.

"My clients were uncertain of what they'd been arrested for," Jack
Lloyd said outside court.

"They're in good spirits ... but they're in custody, hopeful that we
can have a productive bail hearing tomorrow."

Toronto police spokesperson 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 and one in Vancouver.

In addition to the Emerys, police charged three other people on
Thursday. Chris Goodwin, 37, and 31-year-old Erin Goodwin, both of
Toronto, and 29-year-old Britney Guerra of Stoney Creek face charges
that include conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

In Vancouver, another lawyer for the Emerys said "several cannabis
activists" were arrested Thursday.

"Co-ordinated countrywide 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.
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