Denis Coderre defends police raid on illegal cannabis boutiques

Coderre said that opening the stores was a pointless stunt since federal legislation to legalize marijuana is expected in the spring


 
Shutters are shown at a Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensary in Montreal, Saturday, December 17, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Shutters are shown at a Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensary in Montreal, Saturday, December 17, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL — Montreal’s mayor said Saturday that police were doing their jobs and upholding the law when they launched raids against newly opened illegal cannabis stores.

Denis Coderre said that opening the stores was a pointless stunt since federal legislation to legalize marijuana is expected in the spring.

“What I don’t understand is, legalization of marijuana is going to happen, so why do this kind of stunt?” he told reporters at an unrelated event in Montreal.

Police said they arrested 10 people Friday in the raids on the cannabis stores that opened one day before by the self-styled “Prince of Pot,” Marc Emery, and his wife, Jodie.

All but one person, who refused to sign the release documents, were released on a promise to appear in court.

Local television outlets broadcast images of police taking Emery outside one of his stores in the city’s Plateau neighbourhood. Social media accounts listed as belonging to Jodie Emery said her husband was among those who were arrested.

Cannabis Culture, the brand owned by the Emerys, already has a dozen shops across Canada.

On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Montreal “until we’ve changed the law, the current laws exist and apply.”

Ottawa is moving “properly and responsibly,” to legalize marijuana, Trudeau said, but the current law governing cannabis will stand until new legislation is ratified.

Coderre reiterated that message on Saturday, saying that marijuana advocates need to be patient and respect the law until it is changed.

“Police did their jobs, as they should, and we have to send a message to the community that this is not the right way to do (civil) disobedience,” he said.


 

Denis Coderre defends police raid on illegal cannabis boutiques

  1. It’s hard to walk away from a fight even when you’ve won or are winning.
    Battle gets under the skin.
    I don’t agree with any further protest on the issue.
    I fully agree we’ve right to protest, and must, unjust laws.
    This issue is won.
    There’s nothing left to fight.
    After all these years, it’s going to be tough for those from the lobby to accept that now they are irrelevant, when once advocates for legalization were the most relevant voices in town.
    It’s hard letting that fighting spirit go once it’s become a way of life.

    • These stores aren’t a “protest” – they are traffickers trying to look legit, and trying to make a quick buck.

      I have no qualms with legalizing pot use, and we are clearly heading that way. But profiteers jumping the gun, thinking that cops or courts won’t crack down because a change in the law is imminent, deserve to get busted for trafficking.

  2. I have often wondered why politicians never stop to consider the potential outcomes of drug policies. Chess players anticipate how their opponents will respond to moves, the great ones consider variations several moves deep. What would happen if all the dispensaries were closed? Patients and patrons would return to the black market, where anyone of any age can buy a myriad of drugs of unknown potency, purity and provenance, tax free. The Montreal Association of Alleyway Dealers applauds these raids.

    The government should immediately instruct the police and crown prosecutors to make the laying and prosecuting of simple possession charges their lowest priority. The law is already unevenly enforced, with discretion and discrimination based on jurisdiction, age, gender, skin colour, class and fashion sense. Due to court congestion, some of those busted while we wait for legalization will not get a hearing before their crime is no longer a crime. Others will join the masses demanding pardons. There is no evidence that criminalizing consumers reduces demand, and Trudeau has acknowledged the harm, waste and expense.

    • Psst! These “dispensaries” are the black market. At present, the only non-black-market sources are the companies licenced to sell medical marijuana to those with prescriptions.

      If someone were to open a store selling bootleg booze or smokes, how quickly do you think they’d be shut down and the owners arrested?

      I can see law enforcement easing up on simple possession. But letting these store-front operations continue to flout the law is simply unwise, as it sets an example that can directly lead to others flouting other laws.

      • In addition to the licensed producer system, there is the personal license to produce and the designated grower system. With friends like that, who needs Emerys? I appreciate that by garnering so much media attention, the authorities could not look the other way, even if they wanted to.

        Yes, dispensaries are prohibited, but my point remains. Closing them makes matters worse. If the only source of tobacco and alcohol was the criminal underworld, armed gangs that also sell fentanyl, dedicated storefronts that only sell alcohol or tobacco to adults would be an improvement.

        Slippery slope? Dispensaries have been operating for about two decades in Vancouver. Off hand, I can’t think of any other laws people feel emboldened to flout as a consequence. For one thing, they know the cops aren’t otherwise occupied investigating and raiding dispensaries.

  3. Zoolander said himself the Laws were still on the books…….