Last week’s coordinated raids of Canada’s Cannabis Culture dispensaries sent a shock wave through the country’s marijuana community. Executing ‘Operation Gator,’ local police shut down seven Cannabis Culture locations throughout Toronto, Hamilton and Vancouver, and arrested the brand’s owners, Marc and Jodie Emery.
Since Jodie and Marc’s arrest last Wednesday and the ensuring raids on Thursday, the ‘Prince and Princess of Pot’ have posted $30,000 bail, and Cannabis Culture stores have reopened, but the future of the brand is still very much in jeopardy.
The Emerys have been charged with drug trafficking, conspiracy, and possession, and could potentially spend the rest of their lives in prison. For Marc and Jodie, who have made careers as public figures in the fight for legalization - a fight they thought they’d won thanks to Justin Trudeau - the arrests are downright terrifying.
"I feel like it's very much targeted political persecution," she told CBC. "Now that's extremely frightening considering we've never hurt anyone, we've never used force, we've never used weapons. We're peaceful, political activists ... it sounds like we face life in prison for our activism and for these allegations. Throughout the experience I reminded myself that this exactly what I've dedicated my entire life to ending: the unjust imprisonment and prosecution of peaceful people for cannabis."
Police confiscated over 140 pounds of cannabis buds, over five pounds of concentrates, and $250,000 in cash. But despite the severe loss of product, the raided locations began reopening only hours after police left, even selling a new strain, dubbed ‘OG Gator’ as a jab at the boys in blue.
“We’re going to reopen every time,” Chris, a Cannabis Culture employee told Toronto Now. If Cannabis Culture is going to continue to hold its place in Canada’s marijuana industry, it’s employees like Chris that will need to step up. Not only are Marc and Jodie facing serious charges, but they also will no longer be able to take part in their business.
“Jodie and I can no longer be involved with Cannabis Culture stores or the brand, despite it being the culmination of 24 years of hard work and struggle,” Marc Emery wrote on his Facebook page. “You won’t find me at any Cannabis Culture stores, or any dispensary, for that matter. Our livelihood, our brand, our money, our inventories all gone!"
The Emerys next appearance in court is set for April 21st. The court had intially suggested the couple face their day in court the day before, on 4/20, but in an immediate and exuberant request, Marc and Jodie’s lawyer was able to postpone the date - at the Prince and Princess of Pot will be able to enjoy this year’s holiday in the midst of the legal battle.