Pubdate: Mon, 13 Mar 2017
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Nick Eagland
Page: A6


The business empire built by B.C.'s "Prince and Princess of Pot" is on
the verge of collapse.

Marc and Jodie Emery have been ordered to cease operating their
Cannabis Culture dispensary business after they were arrested
Wednesday at a Toronto airport, Jodie said Saturday in a phone interview.

Emery said they were taken into custody by plainclothes officers as
they got out of an Uber vehicle and were later strip-searched. She
described their treatment by police as "disturbing and shocking" and
said they were only permitted to speak with lawyers hours after the

"We've literally been stripped naked in the strip search and stripped
of everything we've built, everything we've worked so hard for all
these years," Emery said.

The following day, police in Toronto, Hamilton, Ont. and Vancouver
executed 11 search warrants, while three of the Emerys' associates in
Cannabis Culture 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 a bail hearing Friday, the five defendants were represented by
Toronto lawyers Jack Lloyd and Dan Stein. All five were released on
bail that afternoon with conditions, Lloyd said when reached by phone
in Toronto. They are set to appear in court the morning of April 21,
he said.

Emery described the conditions handed to her and her husband as
"onerous." The Vancouver couple are now required to stay in Ontario,
though Jodie may visit her home city with court permission, she said.

They have been banned from entering any Cannabis Culture location or
office, including the B.C. Marijuana Party and Cannabis Culture
magazine headquarters in Vancouver, and Emery can't speak with staff
or deal with business operations in any way, she said.

The couple have been given two weeks to remove themselves from any
bank accounts associated with the business.

"It's utterly heartbreaking, really," Emery said. "My entire adult
life has been 100 per cent dedicated to Cannabis Culture and our
mission for legalization and cannabis for freedom."

The Emerys, longtime staples of B.C.'s pot advocacy scene, own the
Cannabis Culture brand. It 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.

Emery said she believes they were targeted for their longtime activism
and civil disobedience, and believes Toronto police, who co-ordinated
last week's "Project Gator," may have been exacting revenge after
charges were dropped against employees arrested during the "Project
Claudia" raids in Toronto last May.

"I feel fair to say this is a political persecution and the police and
the government are looking at preventing us from being able to
exercise our right to be active and to run businesses," she said.

Emery said the couple will speak on Monday with lawyers, who have
advised them not to discuss specifics around charges and allegations
made against them.
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