TORONTO – Prominent marijuana activists Marc and Jodie Emery have been arrested in Toronto and police are raiding several pot dispensaries associated with the couple.
Lawyer Jack Lloyd says the couple was taken into custody at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Wednesday evening.
Neither Lloyd nor Toronto police could confirm what, if any, charges the Emerys are facing. Lloyd says the Emerys are due in a Toronto courtroom on Thursday.
The couple own the Cannabis Culture brand, which is used by a chain of 19 marijuana dispensaries in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.
Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash says five people have been arrested and 11 search warrants were executed in Ontario and Vancouver on Thursday as part of Project Gator. Pugash says details of the charges were being finalized.
He says seven Cannabis Culture locations – five in Toronto, one in Hamilton and another in Vancouver – were searched along with two homes in Toronto, one in Stoney Creek, Ont., and one in Vancouver.
No employees of the dispensaries were arrested, Pugash said.
“Our history of enforcing the law against illegal cannabis dispensaries is well established,” he said. “This is the latest effort in our law enforcement, and I’m certain there will be further action.”
A Vancouver-based lawyer for the Emerys said in a statement that “several cannabis activists” have been arrested in addition to his clients.
“Co-ordinated country-wide raids attempting, futilely, to enforce an outdated and harmful law degrades public confidence in the administration of justice, wastes valuable taxpayer funds, wastes scarce police, prosecutorial and judicial resources and benefits precisely no one,” Tousaw said.
Marc Emery, the self-styled “Prince of Pot,” was previously arrested at one of his new Montreal dispensaries in December and charged with drug trafficking.
The federal government is moving to legalize marijuana, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized late last year that the current laws exist.
Police forces across the country have been raiding pot shops in recent months and charging owners with trafficking-related offences.