Pubdate: Fri, 10 Mar 2017
Source: Vancouver 24hours (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Vancouver 24 hrs.
Author: Dan Fumano
Page: 5


Marc and Jodie Emery face drug charges after latest

A dozen Vancouver police officers raided Marc Emery's Cannabis Culture
headquarters on West Hastings Street on Thursday morning.

Marc and Jodie Emery were charged with drug-related offences in
Toronto on Thursday after police also raided seven of the couple's
Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensaries.

The self-styled "Prince" and "Princess of Pot" were arrested Wednesday
evening as they were about to board a plane to Spain at Pearson
International Airport. They were heading to Barcelona to attend the
Spannabis marijuana expo.

The pair appeared briefly in a Toronto courtroom on Thursday afternoon
before police announced the full list of charges they faced.

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 Emerys own the Cannabis Culture brand, which is used by a chain of
19 marijuana dispensaries in B.C., Ontario and Quebec.

The arrests and raids were part of a Toronto police operation called
Project Gator, said force spokesman Mark Pugash, which included the
execution of 11 search warrants under the Criminal Code and Controlled
Drugs and Substances Act, and the arrests of five people.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson's staff said neither the mayor nor
Vancouver police would be commenting as the operation was being led by
Toronto police.

"Vancouver police assisted us," Pugash said. "It's a TPS (Toronto
Police Service) project."

B.C. Solicitor General Mike Morris said he wasn't aware of any planned
and coordinated crackdown on marijuana in both Ontario and B.C. that
targeted Marc and Jodie Emery.

"Not that I'm aware of, it's just against the law to traffic in
marijuana right across Canada," he said. "The law is the law, so if
somebody is breaking the law the police need to take whatever action
they deem necessary."

Morris said he had not been in talks with provincial or federal
counterparts about the arrest of the Emerys or the raids on their 

"I don't get involved in the day-to-day operations of the police
forces in B.C.," he said. "But as long as they are enforcing the law
at their discretion with the resources they have available to them
that's up to them."

However, Morris said he is worried that the federal promise of
eventual decriminalization of marijuana has confused the public,
because it remains illegal in the meantime.

"You bet I am, it is (confusing) and the sooner the feds come out with
the legislation the sooner we can get on determining what direction we
need to do," he said.

Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott said Thursday that the federal
government remains committed to introducing legislation on the matter
in the spring but noted that it would have to go through a rigorous
parliamentary and regulatory process.

"It's a firm commitment of our government to legalize access to
cannabis, to regulate

that access and to restrict it appropriately," she said. "We want to
make sure this is done properly and people need to recognize it will
take some time but it will be done."

Victoria cannabis lawyer Kirk Tousaw called the raids and arrests the
"latest salvo in Canada's senseless war on cannabis."

"That we continue to waste resources and ruin lives in the pursuit of
the futile goals of cannabis prohibition is immoral and a national
disgrace," said Tousaw, who has known the Emerys for several years,
said on Thursday.

Marc Emery's chain of dispensaries - Cannabis Culture - has 19 shops
in B.C., Ontario and Quebec, selling to anyone aged 19 and over,
without membership or medical requirements. They also sell pot
paraphernalia - pipes, vaporizers and other products - on their
Cannabis Culture website.
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