Marijuana activists and dispensary operators Marc and Jodie Emery were released on bail Friday following their arrest and police raids on many businesses operating under the Cannabis Culture brand. As part of their release agreement, the couple is barred from participating in their businesses—Pot TV, Cannabis Culture Magazine, head shops, a vapor lounge, and 19 illegal storefront dispensaries—because of law enforcement allege a connection to organized crime.
Their bail relies on the pair keeping their distance from all businesses, though their charges still stand. Marc faces 15 charges, including conspiracy to commit an indictable offense, trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime; Jodie Emery faces five counts.
Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash verifies that seven Cannabis Culture locations—five in Toronto, one in Hamilton and another in Vancouver—were searched on Thursday along with two homes in Toronto, one in Stoney Creek, Ont., and one in Vancouver. Officers seized $250,000 in cash, 65 kilograms of marijuana and 2.4 kilograms of cannabis extract and other drug paraphernalia from seven Cannabis Culture storefront dispensaries and homes that belong to the Emery’s and their business partners and franchisees.
Because marijuana is not yet legal to the public, patients must go through a Health Canada program where licensed growers are limited to distributing medical pot via mail delivery. The Emerys called on the federal Liberals to promise legalization of marijuana sooner, or at least to stop raiding cannabis businesses. And now they feel that it was their high profile role in activism that made them a target for these arrests and enforcement measures.