The self-proclaimed “Prince” and “Princess of Pot” appeared in a Toronto courtroom today on a number of drug-related charges on Friday but the matter was set aside until May 23 pending further disclosure from the Crown.
Marc and Jodie Emery were arrested at Pearson International Airport in March and charged with a combined 20 offences following the raid of seven Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensaries - five in Toronto, one in Hamilton and another in Vancouver.
The raids were part of a Toronto police investigation dubbed Project Gator.
That investigation has been criticized for coming as the Liberal government prepares to legalize marijuana, though police have defended their actions and have vowed to continue to target dispensaries that are operating outside of current laws.
Speaking with CP24 outside the court on Friday, Marc Emery said he is looking forward to his day in court and expects to emerge “triumphant.”
“We don’t know the actual details of the case they built against us, but we are pretty transparent in what we have done and we look forward to going to court,” he said. “We think we are going to be triumphant and we look forward to coming out of this court case with our movement and reputation intact.”
Marc Emery has been jailed for marijuana-related offences on a number of occasions, most notably in 2009 when he was handed a five-year sentence in a U.S. federal prison for his involvement in a mail-order cannabis seed business.
These latest charges could send him back to prison again as some of them can carry a sentence of up to 14 years but on Friday he said that he usually finds jail time “worthwhile” and isn’t scared about behind bars again.
Jodie Emery, however, said that her husband’s bravado shouldn’t be taken to mean that prison is a reasonable place to put people convicted of marijuana-related crimes.
“Don’t let him make it seem like prison is easy,” she said as she stood beside him outside Old City Hall. “I have been through five years of visiting Marc in Mississippi and Georgia and there were horrific times. He was put in solitary confinement, there was issues with violence, there was times that he got life-threatening illnesses and infections. Prison is not safe, prison is not a place for peaceful and law-abiding people but these drug laws are sending peaceful law abiding people into cells with handcuffs.”
Emery hopes to have bail conditions changed
The bail conditions placed on Marc and Jody Emery prohibit them from operating their Cannabis Culture business and limit their travels. Marc Emery is required to stay in Ontario while Jodie Emery is allowed to travel to B.C. with permission because she is a resident of that province.
Marc Emery told reporters on Friday that he hopes to have his bail conditions amended so he and Jody can participate in a “30-city nationwide tour” in June and July.
He said that he ultimately “hopes to go back into business again” and revive his shuttered Cannabis Culture dispensaries.
“We have to tell Canadians that they have to beware of this Trojan horse legalization the Liberals are presenting to Canadians. It is not real legalization, it is prohibition 2.0 but we are going have to work hard to make it the legalization we would like to see.”
The Liberal government has said that it will table its legislation to legalize marijuana before July 1, 2018.
The legislation, released earlier this month, will set a minimum age of 18 for purchasing marijuana but will leave it up to provincial governments to decide how it will be sold.
The legislation will also set strict penalties on the sale of marijuana to minors.