Pubdate: Thu, 05 Oct 2017
Source: Niagara This Week (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Richard Hutton


The approach being taken by federal and provincial governments, when
it comes to the legalization of marijuana is just another form of
prohibition, says a woman who is a longtime advocate for allowing
unrestricted access to cannabis.

"We're seeing prohibition 2.0," said Jodie Emery, who along with her
husband, Marc, have been campaigning for legalization for more than
two decades. Jodie will be among the speakers taking part in the Grow
Up Cannabis Conference & Expo taking place Friday and Saturday at the
Scotiabank Convention Centre. "It's very upsetting."

By restricting sales - such as the Ontario plan to market cannabis
through an LCBO-style facility - will do little to stem the black
market for cannabis.

"We want to make sure people who want to grow it are allowed. We want
to make sure existing providers are included. It's an opportunity they
are being denied."

Financially, the approach the government will still be pumping $250
million into ferreting out illegal growers and distributors, money
that could be better applied elsewhere.

"It remains costly to taxpayers," she said.

Emery, who has also been labelled "the Princess of Pot," will be in
Niagara Falls for the conference where she is among a lengthy list of
guest speakers. Among the others are "Guru of Ganja" Ed Rosenthal,
Jesse Stanley, co-founder of CW HEMP, medical marijuana advocate Mandy
McKnight, Rory Johnathan, who heads up the Grower Support department
at Advanced Nutrients and Brad Rogers, COO and president of CannTrust,
one of the largest MMPR licensed producers in the country.

Emery, meanwhile said that people that have been campaigning for years
for legalization and who have chosen to take a risk by opening
marijuana dispensaries early are being shut out.

"It's very disturbing to see those who did the complaining are now the
ones who are all looking to make big money out of it."

That flies in the face of what has been done in some jurisdictions in
the United States. In Oakland, for example, there's something Emery
referred to as "reparations" in laws governing cannabis.

"Fifty per cent of the dispensaries must be owned by people who have
been arrested in the past," Emery said.

And in Colorado, dispensaries that opened prior to legalization were
allowed to stay in business and "make the transition."

The Emerys have had several brushes with the law. When they opened six
Cannabis Culture dispensaries in Montreal as well as others in
Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and Vancouver even though legalization had
yet to be approved. Marc was charged with several offences, including
conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, trafficking, possession
for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of proceeds of crime.
Jodie Emery is faced with five similar counts.

"We could end up with life in prison," Emery said.

"We should be promoting the hell out of it," she said. "It's safe but
unfortunately when it's not available, people turn to alcohol and
opioids. Statistics show there's a 25 per cent drop in opioid use when
a dispensary is available."

For more information on the Grow Up Cannabis Conference and Expo,
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt