Ontario Updates: Raids, Arrests and 420

Article by Tracy Lamourie, Cannabis Digest

Ontario Updates: Raids, Arrests and 420

This issue marks my one year anniversary writing this column,  so let me start it by thanking you all for coming along on this journey with me.  The last 12 months have been interesting ones in the canna world, to say the least, and as we look ahead to spring and summer 2017, 420, and the Global Marijuana March, it’s hard to say where we’ll be when all the smoke clears.

Normally at this time of the year, the canna-community’s thoughts are on the 420 celebrations.
From the iconic Yonge-Dundas Square event in Toronto, where each year’s event is bigger than the last, seeing upwards of 20,000 people creating literal clouds of smoke in the skies, to the smaller towns and cities where 420 celebrants still face arrests and police actions.

With the government’s promise of legalization in the air, initially many expressed the hope, and concern, that this might be the last traditional 420.  Perhaps the years to come would bring attempted corporate co-opting of the day, much the way Pride has gone from an activist event to a corporate behemoth!

But in March, the government and local Police forces ramped up their battle against the plant, most notably the Toronto Police, who added the well-named Project Gator (it’s a croc! It’s slimey!) to their list of shame, right beside 2016’s Project Claudia.

I attended the Bail Hearing for the Cannabis Culture 5 in Toronto after the Project Gator arrests, and I shared my thoughts in AN OPEN LETTER TO MY FRIENDS IN MEDIA, MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT, MEMBERS OF PROV PARLIAMENTS AND MUNICIPAL POLITICOS, which was published in its entirety on the CannabisDigest.ca a day after the hearing.  I’ll share a short excerpt of that here, because I think it’s important to consider.

“I’d like to clear a few things up for you. Whatever you think of Marc Emery, and we certainly have had and still do have our major disagreements and differences, and we are not friends, it will not keep me from saying this: the action he and Jodie Emery took in opening Cannabis Culture dispensaries across Canada serving adults over 19, showed thousands and thousands of people across this country what a store selling cannabis as a regular consumer product could look like.  Canadians voted with their dollars, each CC practically had lineups around the block upon opening.  Most of those people had never had the chance to see a medical dispensary in operation.  People liked what they saw, regular people, regular Canadians. The government noticed, and saw it as a threat to the plans they have for cannabis distribution.

Though the initial media reports parroted the police department’s lines (full of fear of the new drug, ‘shatter,’ and equating a dispensary using a franchise model to “organized crime,’)  in recent days, many more thoughtful pieces have appeared from all sides of the political spectrum denouncing the Project Gator raids.

Read full article here.

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