Trudeau Lied About Legalization. The Cops are Lying About Cannabis Culture

Photo courtesy Canadian Press

Everything you need to know about the money, power and public relations behind the attempted monopolization of Canadian cannabis.

“As for adopting the ways of the State has provided for remedying the evil, I know not of such ways. They take too much time, and a man’s life will be gone.” – Thoreau, Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience), 1849

I’m dirt, motherfuckers, I can’t be crushed.” – Run The Jewels, “Talk To Me”, 2016

Toronto Police “Service”

It’s been a few weeks since “Project Gator,” the Toronto Police’s name for the raids on various Cannabis Culture dispensary locations across Canada. According to the Toronto Police “Service” website, “During the morning of Thursday, March 9, 2017, 11 Criminal Code and Controlled Drugs and Substances Act search warrants were executed in Toronto, the Hamilton area and Vancouver as part of Project Gator, a Toronto Police Service project targeting marijuana dispensaries.”

Normally I don’t associate nationwide brutality, destruction and oppression with the concept of “service.” I guess the police are serving someone. Just not average Canadians.

The truth obfuscation began with the press release itself. The police didn’t target “dispensaries” (plural) in Project Gator. Just one dispensary chain (singular), “Cannabis Culture”. The very people who brought you the website you are reading this from, and, arguably, some of the main people that brought Canada the legalization that is now being debated. (@TorontoPolice Project ‘Gator’ Marijuana Dispensary Arrests | A/Insp. Steve Watts)

The police came out with the classic justify-being-a-dick-cop argument: ‘we must obey and enforce every law in the book’. “The dispensary advocates want you to believe … there’s a grey area. There isn’t,” said Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash. “The fact is, however you try to shine this, it is against the law.”

In the very same news story, a lawyer pointed out the obvious response. “It’s a bit of a fiction to say that the police enforce every single law on the books. The criminal code, when I last checked, had over 800 sections. There’s necessarily some exercise of discretion when it comes to law enforcement.” Chan argued that in a world of “limited resources,” police attention on marijuana shops takes [resources]away from other areas, a problem in a justice system he described as “overburdened.”

Lawyer Kirk Tousaw made a very important point about Prime Minster Pierre Trudeau – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s father – knowing when to enforce laws and when not to.

What did our Prime Minister’s father say about homosexuality in 1967, when it was illegal and people were serving time in jail for being gay? Was it “the law is the law” (he was the Justice Minister, after all) and should be enforced? No, it wasn’t. – Kirk Tousaw, Facebook, March 12, 2017

The cops also made the claim that “organized crime” is behind the supply of cannabis sold at Cannabis Culture.

Officers seized $250,000 in cash in several currencies, 65 kilograms of marijuana and 2.4 kilograms of cannabis extract and other drug paraphernalia after searching seven Cannabis Culture stores and several homes on Thursday, police said. Given the amount of marijuana the stores “can only be supplied by illegitimate sources often tied to organized crime,” acting Insp. Steve Watts alleged. “The public should know that this isn’t an altruistic venture, this is purely a profit-motivated venture,” Watts said. “Anyone with a prescription for marijuana can go through Health Canada, who have an abundant supply.”

As lawyer Kirk Tousaw rightly pointed out:

With exactly zero supporting evidence cited, TPS claimed a link to organized crime based on seizure size: 5 stores, 62 kilos, $250k. So, what, about $50k per store and 25 pounds per store? Assuming each store had 25 strains on the menu, that’s a pound of each. And enough money to restock once. In other words not very much at all for a busy retail store front. Either they are deliberately propagandizing or they are incredibly obtuse about the consumer demand for dignified access to cannabis. Or both. – Kirk Tousaw, Facebook, March 10, 2017 at 18:52

Technically any three people who break the law together are defined as “organized crime”:

Section 467.1(1) of the Criminal Code defines a criminal organization as, “a group, however organized, that (a) is composed of three or more persons in or outside Canada; and, (b) has as one of its main purposes or main activities the facilitation or commission of one or more serious offences, that, if committed, would likely result in the direct or indirect receipt of a material benefit, including a financial benefit, by the group or by any one of the persons who constitute the group.”

That means every grower who sells to a dealer who sells to a user is involved in “organized crime”. This is the excuse they use to brutalize and destroy the life of 99% of the growers and dealers in Canada.

I personally have no problem with transforming illegal organized criminals into non-criminals by encouraging them to invest their illegal profits in legal agricultural-based businesses and then retiring from all other illegal activities. I think the Bible has this in mind.

“…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”Isaiah 2:4

It would probably be more like “guns into shovels” these days but the principle is the same. According to Professor Susan Boyd, most growers and dealers don’t even have guns. “In fact, only 6% of the cases included in the study were reported to have firearms on site, which is only slightly higher than the 5.5% of the Canadian population overall that has valid firearms licenses.”

I’ve worked as a writer at Cannabis Culture since 1995, and the only people I saw associating with the Emerys were the non-violent type. But again, I support a path out of the black market for 100% of responsible, ethical growers and dealers.

Over 175 Raids Since Elected

There have been over 175 anti-pot raids since Trudeau took power, most of them on medical cannabis dispensaries with practitioner-supervised use. These raids are mentioned in the mass media, but rarely in the context of their totality.

This is the biggest list of them so far.

Apparently at least one of these raids shows signs of being directed from Trudeau’s office, on March 3rd, 2017.

Asked this week whether he’s relaying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s message that municipalities should enforce the law when dealing with dispensaries, Blair told The Free Press police should set their own local priorities.

Blair’s Tuesday meeting with London police Chief John Pare didn’t have anything to do with the raids, said Const. Sandasha Bough, calling it a “coincidence”.

“We’ve actually been working on these warrants now for approximately two weeks, and they were as a result of community concerns and complaints,” she said.

Police Protecting Youth from Truth

It’s not like the police haven’t lied in order to attack activist pot businesses in the past. The police lied about cannabis being sold to teens at the 2015 Cannabis Day rally in order to justify their brutal arrest of four activists, with no evidence of selling to teens provided to the arrestees. (I was one of the four arrested. My obstruction charge related to that unjust arrest was later dropped.)

And “Jim’s Weeds” was closed down when the police accused them of sales to minors. No evidence was ever produced.

I would guess the evidence of harm done was never produced even when cases go to trial. In that respect they are similar to the witch-hunts and the pogroms of yesteryear.

Furthermore, even if there was evidence of selling to teens – and there wasn’t any evidence of that – a review of the facts suggest that there’s no harm (and much benefit) to young people from proper cannabis use.

Furthermore providing teens safe access to quality cannabis along with education on how to use it properly and a safe place to smoke it would help prevent teen suicide and alcohol/pharma-related overdoses and car crashes.

The “pot makes kids stupid and crazy” myth is how the police and the government justify the continued, ongoing, never-ending brutality and oppression. Our persecution will not stop until everyone is familiar with the fact that pot doesn’t make anyone stupid or crazy. There is zero evidence of psychosis increasing or I.Q. decreasing globally, in spite of massive increases in cannabis use rates.

After the raid the CBC had three non-activists debate the issue.

Tasha Kheiriddin used Reefer Madness 2.0 to justify the oppression and brutality, parroting the Liberal talking points, saying “It’s false to say nobody believes in the law – that’s absolutely false. To say it’s socially acceptable I agree. Within certain groups in society a lot of people accept it – but not everyone accepts, for example, people who are 18 years old should be smoking marijuana. The CMA doesn’t accept that. … The CMA has said that age is too young. … So there’s a lot of debate still around the law. A lot of debate and a lot of regulation that has to happen before the law goes in.” – CBC National, March 12, 2017 – segment at 19:00, quote at 25:50.

One week before the raids began Trudeau was in BC reminding everyone dispensaries are illegal because he’s trying to protect the kids. “Right now, we know that young people have easier access to marijuana than just about any other illicit substance. It’s easier to buy a joint for a teenager than it is to buy a bottle of beer. That’s not right,” he said.

It appears that this lie of “inherent harm to teens” must be addressed or the police will continue to feel emboldened and able to brutalize any of our community, especially the most active and outspoken.

Trudeau Lied

Discussion about “Project Gator” online and in the pot cafes of Vancouver involve the feeling of betrayal. Trudeau promised us so much, and we put him into power, and now he’s out to eliminate us using every greasy tactic available, including lying about Cannabis Culture’s involvement with “organized crime”.

The pundits on TV are ignorant of his promises. Supriya Dwivedi argued that “They never said we’re going to allow storefront dispensaries.”  (CBC National, March 12, 2017 – segment at 19:00, quote at 27:36.)

This statement is untrue. Trudeau has discussed a broadly inclusive model:

“We have to create an entire system that controls and regulates marijuana that will include medical marijuana and properly licensed dispensaries. How we go about doing that will be deeply informed by the lessons learned by the United States and other places so we build the right model for Canada,” 

And,

“The challenge of getting this important initiative right is one of ensuring we are broadly listening to partners, to folks in the medical marijuana industry, to municipal partners, to provinces and drawing from best practices from around the world,” he said. “We’re going to get this right in a way that suits Canadians broadly.”

and,

We need a fresh approach that controls and regulates marijuana…”

In this video Trudeau mentions dispensaries in a list of things he’s in support of (YouTube – Steven Stairs – Oct 12, 2015).

Trudeau also appears to support home-growing, and throughout his speech he says he’s in favor of “freedom.” (Youtube – Steven Stairs – Oct 9, 2013)

Right off the bat Trudeau appeared eager to move quickly:

In a March 15 interview with CKNW, the leader of the Liberal party told Gord MacDonald he would take immediate action to decriminalize the drug. “Will you bring forth legislation to do that in the first session of Parliament … ?” MacDonald asked. Trudeau’s response: “Yes, it is our intention to move on this in a very rapid fashion. I mean, there were some mistakes made south of the border that we can learn from about leaping before looking and thinking it through. But it is something we plan on moving on immediately.”

Raiding is the opposite of “including” us. It’s excluding us. Raiding is the opposite of “listening” to us. It’s ignoring our voices. And raiding is not a “fresh approach.” It’s the same old, tired, brutal approach. It’s not “best practices”. It’s not “freedom”. And the raids will not end immediately, they will go on until the new law replaces the old law – sometime around 2018 we are told – and it very well might keep happening after legalization, too.

Apologists for Trudeau say it’s unfair to judge him until his version of legalization is put into place. The obvious answer is that he has already put it into place by his current actions: 1) stressing enforcement and 2) the spreading of reefer madness 2.0. His current actions are the antithesis of his former promises. His vision of “brutal, exclusive legalization” could not be more clearly articulated.

He never stressed “enforcement” before the election. He’s certainly stressing it now:

Asked what municipalities could do to deal with the scourge of such pot shops, Trudeau did not mince words: “You can enforce the law.”

 

Conflicts Of Interest

Face it. Trudeau lied to us to get elected. The reason he did this is very plain to see. His fellow Liberals are in bed with the Licensed Producers, like the cannabis task force head, Anne Mclellan.

“McLellan is engaged by the law firm Bennett Jones, which advertises and promotes itself today as the go-to law firm for government-backed licensed marijuana producers. So why is she permitted to chair the task force on marijuana legalization?”

Do you still work for the law firm of Bennett Jones LLP that describes itself as a ‘very entrepreneurial law firm’ that wants to be the ‘go to’ law firm for licensed producers (LPs) of marijuana in Canada?” This last question is what should disqualify McLellan for the appearance of a conflict of interest. But then Justin Trudeau was first introduced to “legalization” by Tweed Marijuana licensed producer cofounder Chuck Rifici, who has gotten rich as a consequence of his investment in his LP, and who has been agitating for all competing dispensaries and cannabis sellers to be arrested and shut down. Rifici is also the chief financial officer of the Liberal Party of Canada. McLellan’s place of employment openly seeks licensed providers to represent while she maintains impartiality on this task force.

And it’s not just the chairperson of the Task Force who is facing a conflict of interest. A long list of Liberal Party insiders and government officials connected to the cannabis economy has been circulating around social media:

  • Chuck Rifici, is currently the CFO of the Liberal Party of Canada. – founder and former CEO of Tweed
  • Mark Zekulin, CEO of Tweed – former senior adviser to former Ontario finance minister Dwight Duncan
  • Norman Inkster, Independent Director at Mettrum – former head of the RCMP
  • Dr. Joshua Tepper, Independent Director at Mettrum – formerly Assistant Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Health , Senior Medical Officer for Health Canada,
  • Tom Shipley, Director of Quality Assurance, Tweed – formerly worked on toxicology research, while at Health Canada,
  • Mike Harcourt, Chairman of True Leaf Medicine Inc – former B.C. Premier
  • Kash Heed, strategic consultant with National Green BioMed – Former B.C. Solicitor General and former West Vancouver police chief
  • Herb Dhaliwal, Chairman, National Green BioMed – former Vancouver MP and federal cabinet minister.
  • Neil Belot, Board of Directors for Aurora – was a public servant in several ministries within the Ontario government
  • Brian Wagner, Company founder and CEO of NHP Consulting (consults for prospective LP’s) – Brian was invited to play a strong role in Health Canada’s Program Advisory Committee
  • Tim Humberstone, ABcann Director / Senior Person in Charge – former twenty year member of the RCMP included roles in Municipal/Federal Drug Enforcement and with the Joint Forces Organized Crime Agency. Tim has also received extensive training by the RCMP in providing expert court opinion in the fields of cannabis trafficking and production techniques.
  • Ivan Vrana, founder of Aslan Ross Consulting / speaker mmpr summit – Previously Mr. Vrána worked for the Federal Government for over 15 years. He worked at the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, Finance Canada and in various senior policy positions at Health Canada. At Health Canada he was in charge of the team that developed the policy rationale which led to the implementation of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. Mr. Vrána is also a regular Lecturer at both Carleton and Concordia universities and teaches a course that examines the internal communication tools governments use to development and implement public policy.
  • Sandy Pratt, Chief Financial Officer, Emerald Health – Worked at Deloitte (auditing firm involved in the senate scandal), Vice President of Business Development and Executive Financial Officer of the Royal British Columbia Museum, a Crown corporation.
  • Shane Morris, VP, Scientific Affairs and Stakeholder Relations Hydropothecary CEO (now Canadian Cannabis Corp.) – Since 2000 Shane has been in a range of leadership roles within the Federal Government, from Treasury Board of Canada’s senior advisor (Cabinet Operations) on regulatory affairs to director of policy leadership and Reporting for Resources Canada’s major projects management office.
  • George Smitherman, THC BioMed – former Ontario Liberal Deputy Premier with more than 30 years in public policy fields at the Municipal, Provincial and Federal Level, where roles as Senior Advisor, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure and Ontario’s Minister of Health were held.
  • Jake Ryan, Director of Security: Tilray – former RCMP Intelligence Officer and federal criminal investigator overseeing all aspects of Tilray’s security protocols and operations.
  • Ernie Eves, Chairman, Timeless Herbal Care, a Jamaican medical marijuana company – former Progressive Conservative premier of Ontario
  • Kim Derry, a promoter of marijuana facility THC Meds Ontario Inc. – Deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service under Mr. Blair.
  • John Reynolds, advisor to Vodis Innovative Pharmaceuticals Inc – former MP with the Progressive Conservative, Reform and Canadian Alliance parties
  • Senator Larry Campbell, advisor to Vodis Innovative Pharmaceuticals Inc. – former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer and Vancouver mayor. And sitting Senator.
  • Barry Daniel, Wildflower’s head of security – Former Abbotsford police chief.
  • Cam Battley, Aurora Senior Vice President, Communications and Medical Affairs – Former Legislative Assistant to the Canadian Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, where he was responsible for developing legislation and steering it through the House of Commons, as well as negotiating with Opposition parties and stakeholder groups.
  • John Turner, medicinal marijuana applicant in Ontario (With Kash Heed) – Former Prime Minister of Canada.

The Toronto Sun has fact-checked and published part of the list.

Even police officers have been getting into the game.

“A Durham police officer for six months co-owned a medical marijuana company that is not licensed and offers consumers pot brownies and other products the government says are illegal to sell.” These establishment types never seem to get raided, though. Regardless of public harm.

At Least The Stocks Are Getting Higher

News of the raids from “Project Gator” sent LP’s stock prices soaring.

While the raids on several Cannabis Culture outlets yesterday was bad news for both common sense and the craft cannabis industry, it was good news for licensed MMJ producers and their investors. … Shares of Canopy Growth Corp. closed nearly six per cent higher at $11.07, Aphria Inc. was up six per cent to close at $6.67 and Aurora Cannabis Inc. rose six per cent to close at $2.41 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

“Investors may have interpreted the raids as the government attempting to ‘draw a line’ between the kind of operations that will eventually be allowed in the legal recreational market and those that will be forbidden, said an analyst who did not want to be named because he does not follow dispensaries. ‘Once there’s a line drawn, they’re going to crack down significantly harder on whoever is out,’ he said.”

In fact marijuana stocks are very sensitive to any news about dispensaries, positive or negative. On March 7th, 2017 – one day before Marc and Jodie Emery were arrested and two days before the “Project Gator” raids began – pot stock prices took a beating from news that the government would “take its time” with the roll-out of legalization.

Lawmaker Bill Blair — the former Toronto police chief leading Trudeau’s legalization effort — confirmed a bill is due in parliament this spring, but it won’t be the last hurdle as ample regulatory work remains. The federal government will take its time and work with provinces, territories and cities to build a framework and develop specific regulations, he said. … Canopy shares fell as much as 7.5 per cent in Toronto while Aurora tumbled 5.1 per cent and Aphria slid 3 per cent.

Smoking In The Lobby

As well as having a massive incentive to lobby the government, which they can certainly afford, they have a very big budget earmarked to eliminate their competition.

Early this month, Canopy Growth Corp., the largest legal marijuana producer in the Canadian market, announced it was buying competitor Mettrum for $430 million. 

It comes as no surprise to anyone that the LPs have been lobbying hard for dispensaries to be shut down.

“Canopy Growth has been working since December with lobbyists from Ensight Canada to persuade the government to start the production of recreational marijuana along the same lines as medical marijuana.”

More than half of the slightly over 31 licensed marijuana producers in Canada are members of a lobby group called Cannabis Canada. Members of Cannabis Canada have been vocal in their opposition to illegal marijuana dispensaries, like the ones raided at the end of May in Toronto. The group talked to city authorities months before the police crackdown, warning them of the rapidly growing number of pot shops operating outside the law.

“… Aaron Salz, an analyst at Interward Asset Management, estimated dispensaries are doing more than $500 million sales a year. By comparison, he said the legal medical market is worth perhaps $130 to $140 million. He said dispensaries are currently the biggest threat to the legal medical industry.”

Last year the LP market was about 1/8 the size of the dispensary market: “Some estimates suggest that dispensaries serve around 300,000 Canadians who categorize their cannabis use as medical, while the MMPR only serves around 40,000.” 

LP’s have been attacking their competition – both the dispensaries AND home growers – from the beginning.

MediJean’s website also features quotes from a lawyer and some cops claiming that “people normally don’t produce their own medicine”, (12) that “three pounds of dope” is way too much cannabis to be for a legitimate medical need, (13) and that “there’s a lot of over-growing” from “organized crime” in the old program (14) – without citing any evidence to support these opinions. … Lawyer John Conroy, representing those who grew their own cannabis under the old MMAR program, (31) recently won an injunction against the government’s plans to shut down personal cultivation in order to (according to the government’s lawyer in the case) help the LPs grow their business more easily. The government’s lawyer claimed – in court – that the LPs would “need a captive market to get established”. (32)

The LPs are in direct competition with the dispensaries – and the dispensaries have advantages.

1) You can inspect and smell the pot before you buy.

2) You can ask the bud-tenders unlimited questions (and they have smoked it all, so they can give you good information) and

3) There’s less bullshit. Some dispensaries (like CC) just ask for ID and nothing else. Plus the mail can be slow and sometimes things go missing. LPs have no storefronts. They are “mail only”.

The LPs often argue that their product is cleaner than the dispensary cannabis, but this has been proven false repeatedly. In the only head-to-head comparison of LP and dispensary cannabis quality that this author knows of, dispensary cannabis came out much cleaner.

Health Canada has demonstrated it has not been doing its job when it comes to testing LP cannabis for pesticides.

The LP’s are also lobbying hard for home growing to be shut down.

A former high-ranking colleague and friend of MP Bill Blair, the Liberal government’s point man on marijuana legalization, will lobby the ex-Toronto police chief in hopes of ensuring a tightly controlled system in which only licensed firms are allowed to grow the lucrative drug.

Kim Derry, a deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service under Mr. Blair, is a promoter of marijuana facility THC Meds Ontario Inc., along with George Smitherman, a former Ontario Liberal deputy premier. Mr. Blair, put in charge of the marijuana file last week, will play a key role in determining who gets to grow the product once it is legalized.

‘Why don’t the dispensaries just apply to become licensed producers?’ I hear some people say. The answer is simple. It’s a game designed to exclude non-millionaires. Even the government’s own estimates indicate that the accounting and security features required to become a Licensed Producer alone run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Buyer’s Remorse

Facebook seems to be rife with armchair activists attacking the Emerys for supporting the Liberals. What they don’t mention is that there was no other alternative.

The Greens – while having the best platform by far – ran a lackluster campaign and thus had no chance of success.

The Conservatives under Harper promised more prohibition.

The NDP proposed “decrim now, legalization later” without sharing how long the wait would be. And the legalization the NDP promised didn’t appear to be the type that would respect the cannabis community. It appeared to be the type that would satisfy the police community.

“His party, [Mulcair] said, would sit down with the police and discuss how to proceed.” 

Critics have also echoed the government’s view that all activists should refrain from any illegal activity until the Liberals get around to legalizing cannabis in 2018 or 2019. The obvious response to this is that civil disobedience got us this far. If we want to avoid being excluded from the legal marketplace, we must continue to use civil disobedience to demonstrate what we think is a reasonable model.

Public Opinion Is Pro Dispensary

So far Canadian public opinion is in support of “stand alone stores” rather than pharmacies or liquor stores.

36 per cent of all Canadians say they’re cool with pot being sold in stand-alone stores set up for the purpose of selling cannabis products versus 29 per cent who think it should be sold in drugstores or pharmacies, while 16 per cent think selling pot products is a job best left to liquor stores or other outlets where alcoholic beverages are sold.”

Out east,

One half of Ontario voters think the most appropriate place to sell legal marijuana is either at specialized marijuana dispensaries (52%) or at pharmacies or drug stores (51%), rather than at the LCBO (38%).”

As well, on the west coast, a vast majority of Vancouverites are opposed to police raids on dispensariesThat’s because a poll by Nanos shows that only 10 percent support the City of Vancouver’s ban on edibles in licensed dispensaries, whereas 85 percent were opposed.” And “…only 14 per cent of respondents supported the idea of a complete ban on medical-pot dispensaries, saying they ‘should not be allowed anywhere.’”

What Now?

The Liberal’s “Legalization Task Force” published their report on December 13th, 2016.

A task force appointed by the Canadian government to study the legalization of marijuana determined Tuesday that sales should be restricted to those 18 and older, with a personal possession limit of 30 grams. … Cannabis should be sold in storefront locations, the report said, but it recommends a ban of co-locating cannabis with alcohol and tobacco products, a blow to some provinces, like Ontario, which had hoped to sell marijuana in government-owned liquor stores.” … However, McLellan said, the task force does not want to see production concentrated in the hands of only large producers. “We heard from a great many parties that they wanted a diversity of producers, and we agree with that,” she said, adding she hopes some black market producers will choose to bring their operations under the new legal regime. Personal cultivation should also be maintained, the report recommended, but with a limit on four plants per home, and a height restriction of 100 centimetres to reduce fire risks.

This report was a considerable improvement over a “discussion paper” issued by the Liberals five months earlier that recommended banning home growing and set the legal age of purchase at 25 years old! 

The task force recommendations were still awash with “reefer madness,” the modern mythology of cannabis making teens stupid and/or crazy. The task force continued to use concerns over “the developing minds of young people” to justify all sorts of unreasonable restrictions.

In the mean time, the Canadian government plans to take as long as two more years to actually put the law into effect.

The Canadian government is giving itself until late 2018 or early 2019 to open up the market for recreational marijuana, based on a road map that will allow everyone over 18 to purchase pot from a variety of producers and retailers or to grow their own.

And now people are wondering if the VPD have changed their policy of toleration of the dispensaries.

Certainly the raid in Vancouver has raised the question of whether the VPD’s policy on policing pot shops has shifted. For Heed, it could be a signal that the VPD “will pay attention to this matter more so than they have previously.” Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, city manager Sadhu Johnston and the city’s media relations staffers all refused to take questions on local police policy. Bizarrely, VPD directed that policy question to Toronto police. In so doing, they refused to answer whether their approach to dealing with local dispensaries had changed, or under what conditions they would raid a pot shop.

Bill Blair – the ex-police chief of Toronto’s Police Service – suggests in an interview that legalization might provide the police with more – not less – work to do:

Q: Based on your experience as a former police chief, what’s the biggest impact legalization and regulation will have on policing?

A: Right now, the police are expending resources and the criminal justice system is somewhat burdened by the enforcement of the criminal law . . . I believe we’re going to have to ask more of the police, particularly at the introductions of these regulations, while people learn how this system will work.

In the mean time the Emerys and the other 3 people arrested in Project Gator (Chris Goodwin, Erin Goodwin and Britany Anne Guerra) – as well as any other past or future arrested dispensary owner – all face life in prison for their victimless crime.

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, offenders found trafficking in a Schedule II controlled substance (e.g. Cannabinoids) in an amount greater than three kilograms are liable for an indictable offence with a maximum penalty of life in jail.

The future of the Cannabis Culture stores – and the Emerys ability to pay for food and rent – are in doubt.

“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,” wrote Emery in a Facebook post late Friday, that he says was written in an internet cafe after police seized their phones and computers. “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!”

On the upside, Project Gator seems to have created a lot of sympathy for the Emerys, and reignited an intelligent conversation about what legalization really means:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/ian-carey/marc-emery-marijuana-arrest_b_15336702.html

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/the-latest-weed-raids-by-toronto-police-arent-helping-anyone

http://www.tousawlaw.ca/2017/03/09/statement-cannabis-culture-raids/

http://www.torontosun.com/2017/03/09/trudeau-dragging-his-feet-on-pot-legislation-stinks

http://www.dansteinlaw.com/news/cannabiscultureraids

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/national/mulgrew+arrest+emerys+police+tarnishes+justice+canada/13076657/story.html

http://www.attn.com/stories/15739/justin-trudeau-supports-marijuana-raids?utm_source=twitter

Now is the time to step up the pressure on our elected officials at all levels of government to get them to adopt a more inclusive legalization model, one that allows non-millionaires to grow and deal, and young people a safe place to buy and smoke. Mail may be sent postage-free to any Member of Parliament.

Please be respectful yet firm about insisting that Canadians have an inclusive legalization model that protects the poor and the young from the ravages of prohibition:

Office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Telephone: 613- 995-0253
Fax: 613-941-6900

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Rebould

[email protected]

Hill Office House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1A 0A6
Telephone: 613-992-1416
Fax: 613-992-1460
Constituency Office(s) 1245 West Broadway (Main Office) Suite 104
Vancouver, British Columbia V6H 1G7
Telephone: 604-717-1140
Fax: 604-717-1144

Anne McLellan
Telephone: 780.969.2648

Bill Blair: [email protected]
Hill Office House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1A 0A6
Telephone: 613-995-0284
Fax: 613-996-6309
Constituency Office(s) 2263 Kingston Road (Main Office)
Scarborough, Ontario M1N 1T8
Telephone: 416-261-8613
Fax: 416-261-5268

Vancouver City Council
[email protected]

Vancouver Police Department: (604) 717-3321

Outside Vancouver phone: (604) 873-7000

Toronto Police Service Drug Squad: 416-808-7100

Be sure to do this, but don’t limit yourself to just this. There are rallies to plan. Marches to prepare for. Art installations to create. Letters to the editor to write. Talk shows to call into. Stickers and posters and other decorations to fill your surroundings with. There are new businesses to open up, have raided, and open up again the next day. There are ways to get our message out that haven’t even been invented yet. The important thing is to get our message out.

Everyone who wants to smoke should be allowed to smoke. Everyone who wants to grow should be allowed to grow. Everyone who wants to deal should be allowed to deal. No more harmless people should be targets in the pot war. Everyone is going to be taken off the battlefield.

David Malmo-Levine