By Aron Anthonymuttu
Seven ‘Cannabis Culture’ dispensaries across Canada have been raided following the arrest of two eminent Canadian marijuana advocates,
Canada’s ‘Prince’ and ‘Princess’ of Pot, Marc and Jodie Emery, were arrested Wednesday morning at Pearson Airport and the couple’s chain of dispensaries were targeted during Toronto Police’s ‘Project Gator’.
In a press release on their website, Toronto Police said 11 search warrants were executed under the Criminal Code and Controlled Drugs and Substances Act as part of ‘Project Gator’. Police refer to ‘Project Gator’ as a “Toronto Police Service project targeting marijuana dispensaries.”
Executive Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Canada, Dr. Craig Jones, said despite efforts to target the Cannabis Culture dispensaries, marijuana advocacy has come too far to turn back now. He said it’s unlikely raids will deter the marijuana movement from progressing legalization.
“What’s happening is cannabis culture, broadly defined, has a momentum and a life energy of its own and it is rolling forward and responding to market demands and the needs of cannabis users” Jones said. “I think [the government] found themselves in a cat and mouse situation and they’re trying to reign in and constrain this life energy with the only instruments they have, which is law enforcement.”
In a January news release, a spokesperson for the Toronto Dispensaries Coalition said there is a link between the recent police raids and targeted robberies.
“The raids themselves are violent, and since criminals believe dispensaries will not have the support of the police, dispensaries are viewed as easy targets for robberies,” the news release reads.
Executive Director of the Canadian National Medical Marijuana Association, Deepak Anand, said the raids aren’t a reflection of the current process of legalization.
“I think once we get a decision from the provinces in terms of how they wish to go as far as marijuana distribution is concerned, we’re going to have dispensaries that are legal in some provinces and illegal in others,” Anand said.
“I think until we reach that point I think it’s too soon for people to take the law into their own hands and be doing stuff as it does relate to the distribution of what is a controlled substance.”
Along with the seven ‘Cannabis Culture’ dispensaries, several search warrants were executed at private homes in Toronto, Vancouver and Stoney Creek.
Both Marc and Jodie Emery have been officially charged.
Marc Emery, 59, has been charged Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence, three counts of Trafficking Schedule II, five counts of Possession for the Purpose Schedule II, five counts of Possession Proceeds of Crime and Fail-to-Comply Recognizance.
Jodie Emery, 32, has been charged with Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence, Trafficking Schedule II, Possession for the Purpose Schedule II and two counts of Possession Proceeds of Crime.
Also charged is Chris Goodwin, 37 of Toronto, Erin Goodwin, 31, of Toronto and Britney Guerra, 29, of Stoney Creek.
All five are scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall on Friday at 10 a.m.