Montreal

Pot activist Marc Emery gets $5K fine for drug trafficking in Montreal

Pot crusader Marc Emery will pay a fine for trafficking cannabis after briefly opening Cannabis Culture boutiques in Montreal a year and a half ago.

Emery pleaded guilty to charge linked with Dec. 2016 opening of Cannabis Culture locations

Marc Emery speaks to reporters in the Montreal courthouse after being fined $5,000. (Radio-Canada)

Pot crusader Marc Emery will pay a fine for trafficking cannabis after briefly opening Cannabis Culture boutiques in Montreal a year and a half ago.

Emery's fine is $5,000. Two other charges he was facing — drug possession and conspiracy —  have been dropped.

The Crown said he got a lighter sentence because the federal government is already on the cusp of legalizing marijuana.

"Cannabis will be legalized eventually, so it has an impact on the sentence," said prosecutor Philippe Vallières-Roland.

Emery told reporters as he was leaving the courthouse Wednesday that the province's plan to take over the sale of cannabis once it is legalized "will be a disaster."

"This is a corrupt province, and the people are an afterthought," Emery said. "There is no freedom in Quebec. There is not good access to cannabis at a reasonable price. So the new government program here will be a disaster."  

The federal Liberal government plans to legalize recreational cannabis by late summer, but each province will be responsible for setting regulations about how it can be sold and consumed.

In Quebec, government-run pot stores will be the only places allowed to sell it.

The sale and distribution of marijuana will be overseen by the SAQ, the province's publicly owned liquor agency.

Short-lived Montreal Cannabis Culture locations

Emery opened six Cannabis Culture locations in Montreal in December 2016 and the recreational marijuana stores were raided by police the following day.

Jodie Emery, who owns the Cannabis Culture brand with her activist husband Marc Emery, left, talks to reporters at the opening of one of their stores in Montreal in 2016. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

The federal government still had not set a date for legalization at that time, but big businesses were already expressing an interest in selling it.

Jodie Emery said in 2016 that would mean people like her husband, who've been jailed for their pot advocacy, would be locked out of the industry they helped build.

With files from The Canadian Press and Radio-Canada

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