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


Dispensaries: First couple of cannabis face multiple charges after 
police operations in B.C. and Ontario

Marc and Jodie Emery, Vancouver's first couple of cannabis, have been
arrested as police across the country raided seven of the couple's
Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensaries, including a shop on West
Hastings and a residence in Vancouver.

The Emerys were charged Thursday with drug-related offences in Toronto
after raids in Toronto, Hamilton and Vancouver. They are due back in
Toronto court this morning.

The self-styled "Prince" and "Princess" of pot were arrested Wednesday
as they went to board a plane at Toronto's Pearson International
Airport for a cannabis expo in Spain.

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. Jodie Emery is
charged with five similar counts.

The pair is accused of trafficking marijuana between May 27, 2016, and
Thursday, according to an indictment in a Toronto court. The Emerys
are also alleged, between May 27, 2016, and Thursday, to have
conspired to commit an indictable offence "by entering into an
agreement to run a franchise whose main purpose is the trafficking of
controlled substances."

They are alleged to have committed conspiracy in B.C., Ontario and
Quebec, where Cannabis Culture has opened more than 15 dispensaries
and lounges. The Emerys own the Cannabis Culture brand, which is used
by 19 marijuana dispensaries in B.C., Ontario and Quebec.

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

On Thursday morning, a dozen Vancouver police officers, acting for
Toronto police, raided the Cannabis Culture headquarters on West
Hastings Street. Pugash said search warrants were also executed
Thursday at three Cannabis Culture stores in Toronto and one in
Hamilton. Four warrants were executed at residences in Toronto, the
Hamilton area and in Vancouver.

Three others were charged. Chris Goodwin, 37, and Erin Goodwin, 31,
both of Toronto, and Britney Guerra, 29, of Stoney Creek, Ont., face
charges that include conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

B.C. solicitor general Mike Morris said he is worried that the federal
promise of decriminalization of marijuana has confused the public as
it remains illegal in the meantime.

"The law is the law, so if somebody is breaking the law, the police
need to take whatever action they deem necessary," he said. "The
sooner the feds come out with the legislation, the sooner we can get
on determining what direction we need to do."

Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott said Thursday that her
government remains committed to introducing legislation on the matter
this spring.

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," he said.

- - With files from Rob Shaw, Kim Bolan, Glen Schaefer, Scott Brown,
Matt Robinson, Postmedia News and The Canadian Press
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MAP posted-by: Matt