Pubdate: Wed, 15 Mar 2017
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Wayne Moriarty
Page: 6


I am reminded often of how we live in something of a pot bubble here
in Vancouver - how marijuana advocates enjoy a mostly hassle-free ride
from the local constabulary.

These reminders come in the form of news stories and anecdotes from
other jurisdictions where the sale and use of marijuana is not treated
with the benign indifference it receives here. Surrey, for example. A
lawyer friend was telling me just the other day how a client of his
was arrested recently when the RCMP shut down a dispensary in that
city. His client had no stake in the dispensary other than as a
customer. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As well, there's the story - correction: stories - of Canadians being
barred from the United States as a result of admitting at the border
to having ever smoked grass. Ever! The most recent reminder that
marijuana can still get you into - um - a pot of trouble came last
week with the news that Marc and Jodie Emery were arrested at Pearson
International Airport in Toronto en route to Europe.

The Emerys - Canada's most renowned marijuana activists - were getting
out of an Uber car when undercover police swooped on to the scene and
took them away to jail.

The charges are numerous and include formidable words like
"trafficking" and "conspiracy" and "indictable."

I don't know the specifics of the investigation but, from where I sit,
some 3,000 kilometres away in the cosy confines of the Vancouver pot
bubble, busting the stuffing out of these two feels overly punitive.

I met Jodie for the first time a few weeks back at a coffee house
downtown. We talked for a couple hours. She's charming, funny and
sharp. Hardly seems like a criminal.

My interest in meeting her was to better understand why she is such an
obsessive marijuana advocate. And I mean obsessive. If you follow her
Twitter feed, pot advocacy is pretty well it.

We talked again Tuesday by phone to discuss her recent ordeal at the
airport in Toronto.

She told me it was the first time she'd been arrested.

"It was truly harrowing," she said. "Not pleasant at all." I asked if
she was scared. "I wasn't scared at any point during the process (of
the arrest and incarceration). For me, I mostly thought about how much
worse it is elsewhere - that in so many other places around the world
people in jail are subjected to torture and all sorts of other cruelties.

"It was after the fact, looking back on the experience, when I started
to feel traumatized by it all.

"In my mind, whether I was being naive or hopeful, I truly believed
that getting arrested in Canada wasn't going to happen to us. I was
wrong. It looks like (the Toronto police) really, really hate me and
really, really hate Marc." For now, Jodie is stuck in Toronto. She can
ask the police for permission to return to Vancouver to tend to
personal matters, but she will have to eventually go back to Ontario
to await trial.

The Vancouver bubble, it seems, can only do so much.
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MAP posted-by: Matt