Planetary Pride busted

Planetary Pride Hemp Store in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, had ten Ontario Provincial Police serve a search warrant on the store at 11.00 a.m. Wednesday, May 25.
The police seized catalogs of suppliers to Planetary Pride and did not seize any merchandise. Police said they were serving a warrant and gathering information to provide the Crown Attorney in Sault Ste. Marie with information regarding the supply of paraphernalia in contravention of section 462.2 of the Canadian Criminal Code.

Section 462.2 of the Criminal code says:

“Every one who knowingly imports into Canada, exports from Canada, manufactures, promotes or sells instruments for illicit drug use is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction
(a) for a first offence, to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both; or
(b) for a second or subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding three hundred thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.”

Although rarely enforced, selling bongs, pipes, and other paraphernalia is illegal in Canada.

However, police in this instance copied the entire hard drive of the store computer with the intent to find out who was supplying Planetary Pride with goods, as well as seizing supplier catalogs. Revealingly, police did not take any of Planetary Pride’s retail catalogs.

Suppliers to Planetary Pride Hemp store include Chill’s Canada, High Times Quebec, Red Eye Glass, Amsterdam Seed Company, Philco’s, HBI, Treating Yourself, Allie’s Wholesale, HydroQuebec.

Shades of Operation Headhunter

Although no charges have been laid, this police operation has shades of Operation Headhunter to it. Operation Headhunter was the DEA and US Justice Dept. investigation into the paraphernalia industry and attacked the manufactures and suppliers to the trade of paraphernalia with arrests (Tommy Chong, Chris Hill), seizures of factories and distribution centres, seizing of websites for those businesses. The next issue of Cannabis Culture Magazine, #56, released July 5, looks in depth at Operation Headhunter and Operation Pipedream.

This ongoing investigation adds a chill to the current climate in Canada, where suppliers and retailers of marijuana related items have felt relatively safe from arrest and forfeiture since Marc Emery’s many arrests at HEMP BC in Vancouver from 1996 to 1998. Emery lost over $1,000,000 in assets over 4 raids by Vancouver police in the early years of the hemp retail revolution period, as well as getting convicted of “promting illicit paraphernalia,” “selling illicit paraphernalia,” “trafficking in marijuana seeds.” Since 1998, paraphernalia arrests or raids in Canada have been rare, but have happened in Saskatchewan.

Planetary Pride sponsors the 7th Annual HEMPFEST 2005 in the Sault Ste. Marie area (Ophir), from August 25 to 28.

Contact Rob Waddell at 705-971-4367