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Canadian Recreational Weed Chain to Open Montreal Stores, Defying Standing Law

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Come this Thursday recreational marijuana users in Montreal will be able to walk into a store, browse for their favourite strains and walk away with a few grams of cannabis — all in defiance of federal drug laws. That's because a Canadian chain of recreational marijuana dispensaries is planning to open multiple locations in the city. But how long they'll stay open is another question.

    Cannabis Culture, which operates dispensaries in 12 locations across British Columbia and Ontario, said it will announce the new Montreal locations on Dec. 14. They will open their doors to the public the next day.

    The company's policy is to sell marijuana to anyone over the age of 19 and require a photo ID. They do not require a membership or a medical note. That means that under current federal law they operate illegally.

    "All adults should have access to cannabis in an open manner," said Jodie Emery, who is the co-owner of Cannabis Culture with her husband Marc Emery, also known as Canada's "Prince of Pot."

    "We've always pushed the boundaries, we use civil disobedience."

    Emery said the dispensaries will serve as an example of what Canada's legalization model should look like. The locations to be opened in Montreal will be operated by a franchisee, she said.

    The store will be supplied by growers in B.C. as well as local producers. Emery explained that she sees Cannabis Culture as a stepping stone for those growers to begin to transition into a legitimate operation ahead of legalization.

    Federal legislation to legalize marijuana is expected to be tabled this spring. However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that he wants local police forces to continue to enforce the law and criminally charge operators of illegal marijuana dispensaries.

    Police raids looming?

    Cannabis Culture dispensaries have had run-ins with police in the past. Over the summer a number of their dispensaries were raided by police in Ontario. Employees have been charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime.

    Cannabis Culture provides a lawyer for employees if they are arrested and charged.

    Emery said she has not yet spoken to Montreal police, but is hoping for a face-to-face meeting. "Hopefully we can engage with the local community and authorities to explain why these peaceful businesses should be allowed to operate," said Emery, adding that their dispensaries contribute to the local economy.

    If the Montreal police do end up raiding their locations, Emery said their policy is to reopen the next day. Montreal police said in an email that the dispensaries operated by Cannabis Culture are not permitted under current federal regulations that allow access to medical marijuana. They also said they would intervene if any dispensaries open.

    Anna Maddison, spokesperson for Health Canada, the federal body that oversees the medical marijuana system, told CBC in an email that dispensaries are "illegally supplied, and provide products that are unregulated and may be unsafe."

    In one case, Emery said police were able to stop a location from selling marijuana. She said the police in Peterborough, Ont., were particularly heavy-handed and the Cannabis Culture location in that city now is just a head shop, which sells accessories like pipes.

    Cavalier, cowboy approach

    For over 20 years Marc-Boris St-Maurice has helped Montrealers get access to medical marijuana, he also runs a compassion centre and is a registered lobbyist for the legalization of marijuana. In an interview Monday with CBC Montreal's Homerun, St-Maurice said Cannabis Culture's strategy shows a "cavalier attitude and cowboy-style approach of marching into town."

    "I know there's a lot of money to be made and people want to position themselves in a new market," he said. "But it has to be done properly."

    What's in your pot? Marketplace tests today's weed
    His own centre has been raided in the past and he believes authorities will be less likely to tolerate Cannabis Culture locations because of their recreational nature.

    St-Maurice said he fears that people, who may have been on the fence about legalized marijuana, will come away with a negative view of the industry. For the moment St-Maurice believes it's better to wait and respect the process the federal government has set out to move towards legalized marijuana.

    By Brennan Neil - CBC/Dec. 13, 2016
    Photo: Jodie Emery, insert-CDC
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Cannabis Culture's Montreal Store Openings Fail, with "Prince of Pot" Owner Arrested

    [IMGL=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=53412&stc=1&d=1481992094[/IMGL]A day after six Cannabis Culture locations opened in Montreal, the recreational marijuana stores were raided by police on Friday, with 10 arrests made. Among those arrested was longtime marijuana activist and Cannabis Culture co-owner Marc Emery, also known as the "Prince of Pot." He was arrested at the Mont-Royal Avenue location.

    "This arrest is wrong and the prohibition is wrong — and the prime minister is a disgrace," Emery yelled during his arrest. Some onlookers began shouting, "Free Marc Emery."

    The raids started around 5:30 p.m. Friday. Officers seized a total of about 18 kilograms of cannabis, money and equipment.

    Those arrested will face charges of drug trafficking and drug possession with the intent to traffic, police said.

    Emery's wife told CBC News they knew arrests were possible, but she hoped police would "exercise tolerance."

    "We have thousands of supporters in this city lining up to show their support and yet the police are using the tax dollars to do something no one supports," Jodie Emery said shortly after her husband was arrested. "I'm asking the police to please let Marc Emery go."[IMGR=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=53413&stc=1&d=1481992398[/IMGR]

    Emery and his wife have Cannabis Culture locations in B.C. and Ontario. They were in Montreal for Thursday's opening of the new stores. Emery handed out free samples of pot as customers waited in line to make purchases.

    During last year's election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would legalize marijuana for recreational use, but the government is still studying the issue. A bill to legalize the sale of recreational pot is not expected until the spring.

    The Emerys had plans to open eight locations in Montreal on Thursday, but two did not open as expected due to permit issues. But business appeared brisk at the locations that did open.

    The raids come after Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre vowed to put a stop to Cannabis Culture's operations in the city.

    By Kalina Laframboise - CDC/Dec. 16, 2016
    Photo: 1-Danny Gosselin, radiocanada; 2- twitter capture
    Newshawk Crew
  2. Beenthere2Hippie
    Montreal Mayor Coderre Defends Police Closings of Marijuana Stores

    [IMGR=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=53416&stc=1&d=1481999375[/IMGR]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.

    Canadian Press/Dec. 17, 2016
    Photo: CTV News capture
    Newshawk Crew
  3. tasteful
    This seems like overconfidence. Nothing wrong with being eager. By all means, get your paperwork ready, do your research, work up your branding. But for goodness sake, why get yourself into legal trouble when national legalization is upcoming?
  4. rollerz70
    This does nothing for the cause and only hurts the owners, employees the brand and actually hurts furthering the legal process. I've always told people that at least weed would be legal by the time I'm dead. They always thought I was crazy saying that.
    I think there will be a day that all drugs are legal. That's really the best approach if you have very strict guidelines that the people and businesses selling the drugs have to abide by to keep the legal status for that person or business. Help even the advertisement companies could get in on it. Say if one person wanted to go buy some coke. The daily amount limit would be say .5grams. The store would have to have a computer that's linked to a database and they input your ID and say some kind of verification app on your phone stating you won't buy anymore drugs of any kind for that day up to 3 days. I think the 3 day thing would be wise for harder drugs. To help keep people from getting addicted from every day use.
    But the app on your phone would make you agree to receive ads from treatment centers and the like to help people get off drugs. Also if you have say 6 months to a year continuously using coke every 3 days then it's mandatory you talk with a counselor every few weeks. If the counselor thinks you need help to slow your consumption they can have you put inpatient care for up to a week. Unless you get in there and they see no signs of withdrawal or addiction. Then you could get out earlier.
  5. Alfa
    What is the point here? Is this a commercial move to quickly take the prime strategic market position ahead of all others?
    Or is there some other benefit to this?
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