Pubdate: Fri, 10 Mar 2017
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Authors: Maryam Shah and Kevin Connor
Page: 4


Cop raids on pot shops catch staff by surprise

"Oh great." That's the first thought 26-year-old Rebecca said she had
when she saw police officers enter the Cannabis Culture store on Queen
St., near Broadview, in a Thursday morning raid that targeted the
chain of dispensaries nationwide.

"I actually didn't have much of a reaction time," she said, declining
to provide her last name, but identifying herself as one of five
employees at the store. "I couldn't even yell, 'Raid!' "

Cannabis Culture dispensaries in Toronto, Hamilton and Vancouver were
the target of Project Gator, hours after Marc and Jodie Emery - who
are associated with the stores - were arrested in Toronto.

Officers executed 11 search warrants at five stores in Toronto, one in
Hamilton, and one in Vancouver, and private residences in Toronto,
Vancouver and Stoney Creek.

"Our history of enforcing the law against illegal cannabis
dispensaries is well established," said Toronto Police spokesman Mark
Pugash. "This is the latest effort in our law enforcement, and I'm
certain there will be further action."

The raid didn't stop defiant and determined Cannabis Culture employees
from speaking out.

No staff were charged or arrested - they were given verbal warnings
that the next time they're caught at the store could result in arrest.

"I'm an activist, I'll be here," Rebecca said about showing up for
work the next day. "I'm in it for the long haul."

Outside the Church-Maitland Sts. dispensary, supervisor Mark Harrison
said they plan on opening up after cleaning up the mess inside.

Empty jars and packets littered the store, which was emptied of

A lone joint was found by one employee after officers had

"There's no point in doing this if we're going to shut down after a
raid," said general manager Jamie McConnell. "So hopefully (Friday)
around sometime in the afternoon, the store will reopen."

The Emerys weren't granted bail and will appear again at Old City Hall
court Friday.

Marc, 59, and Jodie, 32, face various charges, including conspiracy to
commit an indictable offence, trafficking and possession.

Marc was also charged with failing to comply with recognizance.

Three other people - two from Toronto, one from Stoney Creek - also
face charges.

Lawyer Jack Lloyd said his clients were doing well after being in

- - With files from The Canadian Pres
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