Pubdate: Sat, 11 Mar 2017
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Dan Fumano
Page: A14


Conditions include not operating or being at pot shops

Canada's first couple of cannabis and three associates were released
from jail Friday evening in Toronto after a string of arrests and
raids over the previous two days that gripped the attention of legal
observers and pot advocates across the country.

Marc and Jodie Emery, Canada's "Prince and Princess of Pot," were
arrested Wednesday in Ontario. The following day, police in Toronto,
Hamilton and Vancouver executed 11 search warrants, while three of the
Emerys' associates in their Cannabis Culture dispensary franchise
business were also arrested.

The five defendants were charged Thursday with a range of counts,
including drug trafficking and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

At Friday's bail hearing, the five defendants were represented by
Toronto lawyers Jack Lloyd and Dan Stein. All five were released on
bail Friday afternoon with conditions, Lloyd said when reached by
phone in Toronto. Those conditions include not operating or being at
Cannabis Culture locations.

The Emerys, longtime staples of B.C.'s pot advocacy scene, own the
Cannabis Culture brand that has been used by a chain of marijuana
dispensaries in B.C., Ontario and Quebec that has expanded over the
last two years.

Although Canada's Liberal government has said it plans to introduce
legislation later this year to legalize non-medicinal marijuana sales
and use, pot dispensaries remain illegal under federal law.

While hundreds of dispensaries have spread like weeds across Canadian
cities in recent years, the Toronto police probably chose to target
the Emerys because of their especially high-profile and
envelope-pushing strategies, said Rob Gordon, a professor of
criminology at Simon Fraser University.

"One of their characteristics is always to cross the line in as
dramatic and public a manner as they can, because that's how they
advance their particular cause," Gordon said, adding police may have
wanted "to make an example out of them."

"They're thumbing their nose at government, the federal government in
particular," Gordon said, adding the Toronto police may have felt
pressure "from on high."

"Quite clearly the message from government to those police forces is:
'enforce the law,' " Gordon said.

The pot sold in retail dispensaries across the country probably comes
from a range of sources, said Gordon. Possible sources include growers
licensed for personal medicinal production selling their surplus, or
unlicensed grow-ops, whether run by criminal organizations or
small-scale farmers. Gordon said he wouldn't be surprised if some pot
makes its way north from American states like Washington where
recreational use has been legalized.

Details of the supply chain for Cannabis Culture, as with every other
storefront dispensary in the country, remain unclear. The source of
their cannabis is illegal, even for dispensaries that have received
business licences from municipalities like Vancouver and Victoria.
There are 39 producers across Canada, licensed to produce cannabis,
but their only legal distribution channel is to sell through the mail
to patients registered with Health Canada.

Earlier this year, Jodie Emery told the Financial Post the pot sold at
Cannabis Culture locations comes from "brokers who get it from those
with medical growing licences. Many of the connections have stood for

"She equates the growers to farmers at a local market," The Post

"They are proud of their product and would like to come forward, but
prohibition forces them to stay in the dark."
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