Pubdate: Fri, 10 Mar 2017
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Authors: Dan Fumano and Nick Eagland
Page: A6


'Prince' and 'Princess of Pot' face several drug-related charges after
Toronto arrest

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 "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 are accused of trafficking marijuana between last May 27 and
this Thursday, according to an indictment in a Toronto court. The
Emerys are also alleged, between last May 27 and this 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 those provinces.

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.

"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 go."

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.

The Emerys' chain sells 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.

Karina Smeds, a host at the Cannabis Culture lounge on Hastings in
Vancouver, arrived at work at around 9 a.m. to find the doors locked.
She was distraught.

"It's more than just a business because it's a place that people have
been coming ... to get away from what's happening in the Downtown
Eastside," Smeds said. "It's just safe. And I'm so worried."

Melissa Zorn, manager at the Hastings Street Cannabis Culture, said 14
or 15 people work there.

Marc Emery is no stranger to the legal system, having been arrested
numerous times over the years for pot-related offences. He served more
than four years in a U.S. prison for selling marijuana seeds across
the border from Vancouver.

Vancouver cannabis advocate and dispensary owner Dana Larsen, the former 
editor of Emery's Cannabis Culture magazine, said Thursday: "I feel like 
we're stuck back in the 1990s."

"Back then they were raiding us for bong shops," he said. "The same
thing is happening, and it's worth remembering that every step of the
way, it's been the police and the courts and the government that have
stepped down. … We're winning the civil disobedience campaign and, I
believe, that's why we're on the verge of cannabis

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