The Canadian government announced last year that pot would be recreationally legal by July 2018. However, some dispensaries have been getting a head start on sales and on charges.
It hasn’t been an easy year for a lot of dispensaries. Even Cannabis Culture is facing one of the hardest of their days today in court. After promises from the Liberal government on legislation in 2017, hopes seemed to dwindle. But the cannabis community never lost hope. Dispensary owners pushed and will continue pushing to keep their stores open through until July of 2018.
For a normal employed Torontonian in can be hard to understand the complexity of the raids. Why would people stay when it is so risky? For one, the money is good. Great even, especially for those who have already been through a raid. Secondly, getting a job after receiving charges such as trafficking and money laundering can be difficult. Lastly, a lot of the employees are medical cannabis patients just trying to get their medicine and a job that understands.
Due to the raids, the court is now seeing a huge influx of charged employees from several dispensaries. Popular names like Cannabis Culture, who are in court today, Canna Clinic, Eden and Toronto Dispensary have all experienced raids. And in turn, many employees who have now been locked into a system by peace bonds.
Cannabis Culture Raids – Court Today
Marc and Jodie Emery appeared at Old City Hall today, today, along with 20 others, to face charges in nationwide pot dispensary raids conducted earlier this year. Jodi and Marc have pled guilty and now the court remains in limbo. Sentencing is set to happen at 2:30 pm. All 17 in-store employees charged from dispensaries were released with no charges.
The so-called “Prince of Pot” and his activist wife were arrested during the Cannabis Culture raids. The police issued a large company wide raid in Vancouver, Toronto, and Hamilton in early March.
Eleven search warrants were executed in total during the raids, which police dubbed “Project Gator.” Seven were at various Cannabis Culture locations and four were at private homes. Two homes in Toronto, and one each in Stoney Creek and Vancouver. A total of five people were arrested. Cannabis culture has seen raids consistently in 2016 and 2017 and most recently in Ottawa on December 7th.
The day before the raids took place, the Emerys were arrested at Pearson International Airport coming home. The Emerys and three other owners face several trafficking and possession charges, as well as conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. Seventeen other employees also face less-severe charges.
Cannabis Culture’s Original Plans
Just before the arrests on March 8th, 2017, Jodi was finalizing details for a franchise model. The was planning to send 300+ individuals, entrepreneurs, activists and business owners into this model.
With the costs of legal fees, prison expenses, and more hardships, Jodi and the company struggling. It is a struggle to keep the Cannabis Culture magazine, headshop and vapour lounge business afloat. Consequently affecting our ability to support the activism and political work.
Posting to social media on Sunday night, Jodie said she was “Nervous. Anxious. Depressed … But not afraid” and that the charges are related to peaceful political activism. Click here for Jodi’s recent blog on today’s court and their challenges with the law.
Eden and the Recent Raids
via Global News
The Toronto Police have charged seven people when executing a raid on a marijuana dispensary last Tuesday. This is long overdue for Eden, stating their last raids were in May of 2016. Police say they executed a search warrant at Eden on Queen St. W. seizing marijuana flower, oil, hashish, shatter, resin and over $3,000 in cash.
The charges include possession for the purposes of trafficking, possession and possession of proceeds of crime under $5,000. All seven people charged appeared in court Wednesday morning.
Just a week before, Eden was raided arresting five people and seized nearly 10 kgs of marijuana. The five people arrested are facing a total of 15 charges for drug possession, trafficking and possessing proceeds of crime over $5,000.
Eden is scheduled to appear in court this year and into the New Year.
The Real Deal for Canna Clinic
via Metro News
Tracey Cook, executive director of Municipal Licensing and Standards in Toronto, orchestrated a massive raid of the Canna Clinic chain of dispensaries in late June. Eventually led to charging 120 people with more than 180 offences, from a possession of cannabis to “possession of the proceeds of crime.” In early July, it was announced that the vast majority of those arrested wouldn’t go to trial. That has yet to be done or seen. Many are facing court leading up to July of next year and are facing peace ponds, volunteer hours and probation.
After many raids from March 2016 on, the business always opened and returned to help their active visitors and patients. The city took this into their own hands and took Canna Clinic to court. However, like the community, this did not stop the company from getting an injunction against the city also. Sadly, the company lost when they had no proof of legitimacy or medical purposes.
Canna Clinic took a huge hit for Project Claudia and now again in 2017. The city and Toronto police have shut down illegal pot shops, including the B.C.-based Canna Clinic chain, in a series of raids across the city over the last 18 months. Shop owners and clerks have faced criminal and bylaw charges. Head representatives of Canna Clinic faced charges refusing them access to the City of the Toronto. Canna Clinic has since been closed.
More to come about Canna Clinic and employees.
2018 The Year of Court Dates and Dropped Charges
So, will dispensaries continue to be open and shut down? The answer is yes. Between the money to be made and the push from patients for more active availability, it will continue to run. Dispensaries, more importantly, the front of the line employees are working hard to provide those with their medication.
Until July, the law will be enforced and heavily. Tthe government has stated they will shut down all dispensaries.
As Cook says with a chuckle, “I don’t know where it’s gonna end up.”
Earlier this month Toronto Mayor John Tory expressed his concern over the number of dispensaries in the city that are still in business and went on to say he will continue to support additional police and municipal bylaw enforcement.