British Columbia

Marc and Jodie Emery charged with trafficking after raids on pot shops in Toronto and Vancouver

The couple was arrested in Toronto Wednesday night at Pearson Airport while enroute to a cannabis festival in Spain.

The couple was arrested in Toronto Wednesday night

Vancouver police arrived at the Cannabis Culture location downtown early Thursday morning. (Christer Waara/CBC)

Marijuana activists Marc and Jodie Emery have been charged with multiple trafficking-related counts, following raids Thursday on their pot shops in Vancouver, Toronto and Hamilton, Ont.

Vancouver police raided the couple's Cannabis Culture store at 307 East Hastings Street after the couple was arrested in Toronto on Wednesday night.

About a dozen police officers were visible inside and around the shop on East Hastings Street at 8 a.m. PT Thursday.

The pair are facing multiple charges including drug trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

Sgt. Randy Fincham said that the raid was done at the request of Toronto police. 

In total, 11 search warrants were executed in Toronto, Vancouver and the Hamilton, Ont. area, according to a Toronto police statement.

It was not clear how many of those warrants pertained to property owned by the Emerys. 

The couple have a bail hearing scheduled for Friday.

Vancouver police officers guard the store entry. (Christer Waara/CBC)

Lawyer Kirk Tousaw spoke to the couple after they were taken into custody at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

"Marc was in good spirits, as was Jodie. Obviously both were disappointed at being in custody," he said.

Tousaw has represented Marc in past legal cases and remains close to the couple, although he is not their lawyer on this case.

History as pot advocate

Marc Emery has been a marijuana advocate for more than 30 years.

In the '90s, he had another pot shop in Vancouver called Hemp B.C. It was raided multiple times before its business licence was revoked by the city in 1998.

Every time the store was raided, Emery was fined thousands of dollars.

In 2005, Emery was arrested at his Vancouver store — following an investigation by Canadian and U.S. police — for allegedly selling marijuana seeds over the internet from Vancouver to residents of the U.S.

After fighting extradition for several years, he was extradited to the U.S. and sentenced to five years in prison in 2010. He was released on Aug. 12, 2014 after serving four years. 

Jodie Emery has said that opening the illegal Cannabis Culture locations in B.C., Ontario and Quebec was necessary as Canada looks to legalize recreational marijuana.

She's also called for a federal task force to study legalization.


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