Article by CBC News
Vancouver pot activist Jodie Emery says she was “distressed” when Royal Bank suddenly notified her it was closing her account and stopping her credit cards.
“I’ve had that bank account since I was a little kid with my babysitting money,” she told CBC News. “I’ve paid taxes. I’m a great client. I don’t carry a lot of debt.”
Emery believes the bank is making the move because she has a criminal record for cannabis.
“I was distressed to find out that I don’t have banking abilities likely because I am now a convict,” she said. “A lot of things can get in the way once you get a record.”
In December, Emery and her husband, Marc Emery, who describes himself as the Prince of Pot, pleaded guilty to a number of drug-related charges in a Toronto court. The two were fined $195,000 each.
Emery said she needs the account to pay the penalty as well as her rent and bills.
“Like many other Canadians who have any connection to cannabis or a criminal record, they’re denied bank accounts,” she said.
“They’re discriminated against because of a stigma that doesn’t relate to any sort of dangerous or threatening behaviour. I hope I’ll be able to find perhaps a credit union or another bank to take me.”