Power tends to corrupt (isn't there a saying about that somewhere?) Lately, the world has been forced to reckon with that fact as more and more stories of harrasment, aggression, and violence surface in seemingly every single industry. And in our world, the people with the most power tend to be in positions of authority over others, white, and male.
So maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that the weed industry, too, needs to shine a harsher light on workplace policies.
Marc Emery, who is something of a Canadian golden boy in Cannabis political circles for serving a stint in jail related to his marijuana business, has allegedly (hello lawyers!) abused employees at his shop Cannabis Culture. Located in downtown Toronto, an anonymous source told HuffPost Canada: "He yelled at me and said this is what I had done wrong. I was embarrassed. There were so many people around me. He didn't seem to care at all that a lot of people were witnessing it."
She also claimed that in the decidedly alarming workplace environment, Emery would lean in close, or graze her ears with his lips. While Emery denies such claims -- well, besides the kissing, which he bizarrely seems to cop to -- Devyn Stackhouse (another former employee) attests to both the aforementioned incident, as well to the "really awkward, sexualized work environment."
According to Stackhouse: "Marc felt like he was entitled to the lingering hugs, and hands on the shoulders and touching without permission" and "it is not a healthy workplace." (Same, dude.)
There's a whole laundry list of morally questionable to morally repugnant behavior towards teenagers and women that Marc Emery is accused of, but that's not really the point, is it?
Even one of these offenses, right when it happened, should have been the first and only red flag. Because what happens when behavior goes uncorrected, or even tacitly encouraged? The behavior doesn't stop. In fact, sometimes it gets worse. Shocking, we know.
Stories like Marc Emery's have to remind us that Cannabis is in the unique position of actually getting to start from a systemically blank canvas (besides all those smudges from the Crime Bill that will never come out). We have a chance to define and shape how this industry grows, and it'd be unwise and unimaginative to simply mimic existing power structures.
Becaue, as they say, "Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely." Nailed it.