On Monday morning the Cannabis Culture crew sat in the docket awaiting the outcome of a trial that started nine months earlier.
Marc Emery, Jodie Emery, Chris Goodwin, Erin Goodwin and Britney Guerra helped pave the way to Canadian marijuana legalization through dispensaries, courts, jails and demonstrations. As a reward for being first through the green doors of Canadian perception, Cannabis Culture was rewarded with a very special undercover operation, sponsored by the Pot Czars of Canada, called Project Gator. Unfolding on March 9th, 2017 Gator also roped in seventeen other defendants from other Cannabis Culture franchises.
Coinciding with the rise of marijuana stocks, Project Gator was designed to snare marijuana activists from Toronto, Hamilton, Vancouver and Stoney Creek. Project Gator and Claudia would serve as a sidewalk for the Liberal pot Czars of business to walk on.
Cannabis Culture went far beyond expectations to discredit prohibition and this made Canada so upset she created a multi-billion dollar, cutting-edge industry that now leads the world. The Emery’s dividend and reward for this act of patriotism are fines approaching a half million dollars less time served being spied on. Their activism would inspire Canada to billions of dollars and create a totally new job market.
All these years, all this time millions have put forth that marijuana could change the world for the better. Soon we will find out. Just how much more tolerant and polite can Canada become? Will Canada smooth over the globe?
Cannabis Culture has been among the first to kick down the modern doors of prohibition. When Batman and Robin go through the front door first, sometimes they get punched out.
The evening before the trial, I sat down with Marc and Jodie in their cozy apartment and I asked a few questions about the case.
“I thought it was interesting that the police did not report the sixteen thousand dollars they took from my apartment,” said Jodie Emery.
“How many police do you have as marijuana traffickers now Jodie? I understand you are creating a list for Santa.”
“There are thirty-nine carpet baggers on my list now,” she said. Jodie pointed to a list of 38 police chiefs, mayors, ex-cops and other wise-guys from the Liberal party who were part of the licensed producer regime printing stock market shares like pop-tarts. Hello, Julian Fantino.” Jodie laughed. “That’s a lot of carpet baggers.”
“You were charged with an indictable offence. Why did you not choose a jury trial and go for jury nullification?
Jodie explained, “The cost of the legal battle would be enormous financially and also emotionally leaving me on bail and sidelined and under restrictive conditions so any possible time or money I have should go towards securing my future and getting a job rather than trying to fight it out in a legal court and typically with any court case they arrest you and charge you with a lot of offences that carry a very serious penalty in order to encourage you to accept a smaller penalty than what they initially saddle you with. They hit us with a lot of very serious charges and I’m pleading guilty to two.
Marc says, “My answer is that I did it so there’s really no argument about that. I don’t feel bad about what I did but I did do it so the guilty plea is just an acceptance of reality. A trial wouldn’t prove anything different. A trial would validate it because I would boast. If I had to be a witness I would witness against myself by saying I was proud of selling all that marijuana and I’m proud of my business. I did what they said. I sold marijuana for six months and eight days and I was really happy to do it. So you can’t really go to trial if you’re going to admit that and so all that needs to be debated is what should the punishment be? It’s a lot of money but like thirty years ago it probably would have been worse. It would have been jail time and money. The thing about putting someone in jail is it’s hard to pay fines from that position so they have opted to ask for an enormous amount of money as punishment and leaving us at large to try to earn it and pay it and that suits their demands as much as mine really because no one benefits by going to jail for marijuana but at the same time there is a price to be paid and they want a lot of money.”
“Where will the money come from to pay the fines?”
“Well for me that’s an interesting thing,” says Marc, “because to pay a hundred and ninety-five thousand dollar fine would require an income of about $350,000 less income tax, so I’ve got to find some legal way to earn that kind of money to just end up with the fine and then there would be nothing left. Now there’s not a great incentive to do that to go earn all that money. Boy to earn that much money legally you have to do a lot of stuff. So I don’t even know how that’s going to happen. Suffice to say I will make every attempt to pay regularly. It may take a number of years to pay the whole thing. That’s pretty well the truth.
“I’d rather go to jail than pay the fine,” Marc reiterated. But Marc will not get any Escoffier meals in prison this season because the Crown will only accept cash.
“I’m going to Uruguay to see how things are going on there. And I’m going to go to Chile where I know lots of people. They are going through the same legalization pains. Argentina not at all, but Chile and particularly Columbia have a lot of companies, a lot of foreigners coming in trying to get these licenses and what have you. I’m looking forward to five weeks in Columbia, maybe Peru for a week. Then Ireland, Scotland, England for May and a few other European nations.
“So anybody listening to me I would say, don’t exclude ordinary people, cause it should be amongst the people. It’s not supposed to be a rich person’s elitist rare herb. It’s supposed to be that the common ordinary people can find in plentiful supply at cheap prices because they are the people who need it the most. I dare say rich people have a wide assortment of things they can do for euphoria and inspiration. For the ordinary man, marijuana is expensive. It needs to be a lot cheaper everywhere in the world. The only way we can have that is if everyone is permitted to grow it. These exclusionary regimes that we’re having in Canada that we’ve always had under prohibition don’t do anything good for our culture. Try and keep it as close to the people. Try and keep it from government and money as much as possible.
“Police chiefs and ex-police chiefs and ex-politicians have a very strong incentive to lobby to send SWAT to deter the current dispensary system. That coupled with the fact that people do actually like marijuana how do you expect a boycott to succeed in that environment?”
“It will be tough. First off people most likely to shop in a government store will not be the hardcore cannabis culture types. First, off we’re all going to have our own supply and I doubt people are going to give up their suppliers until they have confirmation that these government stores have a regular source of good material. I don’t think that will be the case. They will run out a lot. I think they will have dodgy pot. At the same time, a lot of people will still go to it if it’s near them and the other people will continue to deal with the black market dealer and there will be this detente going on for awhile.
Jodie. ” I want Cannabis Culture to be around to allow people to come together, consume together.”
“Your fine was fifteen times higher than anyone else’s. Do you feel like you won a prize?”
“I realize that I was the one that organized and orchestrated the entire vision. Out of the co-accused and myself, I was the one in charge so I came up with the idea and they all wanted to follow that vision so the prize is that I can feel proud about inspiring and enabling others to live their dream to create their vision of a great job. I am proud to say that I did all of that. I’ll pay the price for it. But that’s part of civil disobedience and I knew what I was getting into in a way and I could be facing so much worse.”
“I’m going to go back to do a regular Pot-TV show and I should be doing some writing. I’m going to get back to writing for Cannabis Culture and doing videos for Pot-Tv,” said Jodie.
In the morning we met again but in the courthouse.
The trial was originally scheduled for 10 AM and was later shifted to a different room for an 11:30 AM start.
Once assembled the Crown read out a list of the defendant’s lengthy accomplishments.
Warrants, conspiracy counts, trafficking, VIOLATING SCHEDULE II, possession of JAZZ CABBAGE, proceeds of HIPPIE CRIMES and other indictable Kangaroo offences for the sole purpose of inflating marijuana stocks owned by a trainload of carpet baggers who wear ‘Free The Leaf For Cash’ buttons on their lapels were recited to the court.
At one point there was evidence to suggest that Marc Emery had sold two grams of marijuana to an undercover officer.
Jack Lloyd, the crew’s lawyer, spoke how the rule of law requires open democracy. “Civil disobedience is a way to over turn unjust law for those historically disenfranchised. Without activists, we would not have made the changes we already have. My clients have forced the government to change the law through activism.”
At one point the judge said,“Canada is a country of law. They knowingly broke the law. Jail would be appropriate in my view.”
Jodie took the stand and said as part of her defence, “The Liberal party encouraged me to be civilly disobedient..”
The judge was staring darts at Jodie while she laid out those facts.
Erin said, she was proud of her activism. Chris refused to say anything. Britney was proud.
Those first through the door as archangels of liberty are bitten by the purgatory dogs, yet having significantly changed public perception and attitude they are rewarded with a massive club of a fine.
Neither the judge nor the Crown attorney was hip to beatniks on jazz cabbage. At one point the Judge said that, “My feeling is that jail time would be appropriate.”
The accused stood up at 12:25 PM. At 12:26 PM Marc pled guilty – $195,000 fine. At 12:28 PM Jodie pled guilty – $195,000 fine. At 12:34 PM Erin pled guilty -$3,900 fine. At 12:35 PM Britney pled guilty – $13,000 fine. At 12:36 PM Chris pled guilty $13,000 fine.
The crew was also restricted from owning fire arms,.weapons or ammunition for ten years. The judge waived a DNA sample. The holiday season will not start with iron bars for the Emery’s but there won’t be any gold watch fobs or turtle shell hair bushes in their stockings this year either.
The judge’s decision was one that prohibits any of the crew from participating in any way with an illegal dispensary. They are however all allowed to work for a licensed producer. So we’ll see whose phone rings the fastest. Marc does claim to be one of the best marijuana salesmen in the world. Who needs someone like that?
“ The judge withdrew charges on the 17 employees who worked for other Cannabis Culture stores during the Project Gator Raid. The other locations were franchises and not owned by Jodie or me. None of my employees were charged because I was the owner and that’s who they wanted. So I didn’t have any employees charged because as the owner they were charging all the employees if the owner didn’t fess up. But when they took our place I was the owner and no one else was charged.”
“A bad peace treaty is better than a war,” said one of the supporters.
Jodie spoke to the media scrum outside the courthouse. “It really says something when the government decides to set up their own marijuana shops modelled on the very same recreational adult use store that we started opening with our franchises. We’re victorious in that legalization is coming. We devoted our entire lives to it. I’d like to move on.”
The big LP’s would do well to patch the CC crew over and bring everyone in from out of the cold.