If you’re known around Canada as the country’s Prince of Pot, you would probably want to keep a low profile. But not Marc Emery. He’s the activist, entrepreneur, and politician who’s Canada’s most well-known legal weed advocate. As one of the leading proponents of reforming international drug laws on cannabis, Emery is used to making waves. And the new recreational marijuana store he recently opened in Montreal did just that. As a result, Canada’s self-proclaimed “Prince of Pot” was arrested on major drug charges. Now, he’s facing allegations of drug trafficking, possession for trafficking, and conspiracy.
Busting Marc Emery the ‘Prince of Pot’
The scene of Marc Emery’s arrest was a chaotic one. Crowds immediately gathered as police took Emery and his wife Jodie away in handcuffs. But Emery was defiant, challenging the police who arrested him and flashing the peace sign to supporters. As police loaded Emery into the waiting squad car, he railed against Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. And he called his arrest despicable and an injustice. Meanwhile, the crowds who rallied behind Emery’s cause cheered and chanted, “Free Marc Emery!”
The arrests came during a raid that targeted the Prince of Pot‘s recreational cannabis storefront, Cannabis Club. Emery, though, is no stranger to handcuffs. His wife Jodie said it was her first time being arrested, but Marc’s arrest last Friday counts as his 29th. Police arrested nine other people. However, none of the people arrested were customers. In fact, Emery received a tip about the raid and was able to warn customers to leave the premises. In addition to the arrests, police seized 40 pounds of cannabis and items they described as “paraphernalia for trafficking.”
A Setback To The Pro-Cannabis Movement?
The retail location owned by Marc and Jodie Emery wasn’t the only store authorities raided. In fact, police conducted raids at five other stores. The raids came just days after the recreational cannabis stores opened and began selling to eager customers. Braving the cold, many customers stood in long lines waiting for their chance to buy some weed. As one customer put it, “I’m glad to be here. It’s an historic moment.”
But not everyone is as excited as that. Sante Cannabis founder Adam Greenblatt spoke out against Emery’s actions, even though he believes in the cause of legal weed. He worries that the raids and arrests will set back the pro-cannabis movement in Canada. The raids, he says, don’t play very well politically. Greenblatt went on to describe Emery’s pop-up pot stores as a “stunt” that could hurt the legalization movement. “He could undermine the potential for small businesses and licensed but private cannabis retailers going forward by doing this very brazen political and publicity stunt,” Greenblatt told reporters.
Selling cannabis is still illegal in Canada. But the Prince of Pot wanted to create a publicity stunt that would show how safe and normal cannabis is. His plan, however, may have backfired. Montreal is not a city that has a very tolerant stance on the sale of illegal substances. And now, anti-cannabis politicians are ramping up their “zero tolerance” stance toward cannabis. For now, Emery is out of jail. He paid his $5,000 bond, and he cannot sell, possess, or smoke any cannabis as the conditions for his release.