Pubdate: Fri, 10 Mar 2017
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Dan Fumano
Page: 6


The day after Marc and Jodie Emery were arrested by Toronto police,
B.C.-based cannabis advocates and business people said they expect the
retail bud business to continue as usual in Vancouver.

Jeremy Jacob, the Vancouver-based head of a national industry
association for dispensaries, said Thursday its members "have a good
relationship" with the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Police
Department "and we expect that to continue.

"We value the position the VPD has taken during this transition to a
regulated market," said Jacob, president of the Canadian Association
of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries and owner of The Village Dispensary
near Vancouver's Granville Island. None of the Emerys' businesses are
members of his association, he said.

Like the Emerys, Donald Briere is a longtime and high-profile B.C.
cannabis advocate-turned-national business operator. He appreciates
the Vancouver police's approach to dispensaries, which has
traditionally been less aggressive than the Toronto police behind this
week's arrests and charges of the Emerys and three Cannabis Culture

Briere, whose company Weeds Glass & Gifts runs 18 retail locations
across Canada, said the Toronto police actions represent a "colossal
waste of tax resources." He does not believe Vancouver police will
alter their approach to dispensaries, despite executing search
warrants in Vancouver for Toronto police.

"We will not back down," Briere said. "We're not changing ... This
only makes us more determined."

Similarly, Dana Larsen, who runs the Vancouver Dispensary Society and
has known Marc Emery since the 1990s, said: "These raids are not going
to stop the dispensary movement ... There's more dispensaries in
Canada now than ever before."

By the scheduled 10 a.m. Thursday opening of the Emerys' Cannabis
Culture dispensary at 512 Beatty St., there was no police presence at
the shop, but store manager William Austin said he was keeping the
location closed temporarily that morning following raids at other
locations and awaiting instructions for when to reopen.

At the Cannabis Culture outlet at 1674 Davie St., doors also remained
locked Thursday morning. But by early afternoon, they had opened and
were conducting business as usual, said a man who answered the phone

Jason Tarnow, a Richmond-based criminal lawyer, said Thursday after
reviewing the charges: "I'd go on record saying it's extremely heavy
handed and it's so perplexing because we're so close to

"On the face of the charges, they are serious. However, it will be
interesting to see how they are dealt with by the courts considering
the near-legal status of cannabis," Tarnow said.

"One has to question the huge expense to the taxpayers for today's
cross-jurisdictional, multi-police department, co-ordinated and
lengthy investigation. One has to also question the public interest in
such an expensive investigation and whether there is really a public
appetite for it anymore."

- - With files from Glen Schaefer
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