Nova Coates recognized the armed man in the black balaclava as soon as he burst into her Bank Street store.
The clerk had served him as one of her “patients” at the Weeds Glass & Gifts marijuana dispensary.
“I said to the cop, ‘I recognize you.’”
The undercover Ottawa police officer and other squad members raided Weeds that afternoon in January, hauling away bags of dried weed, cannabis oils, cookies, candies and concentrates.
Coates and the other clerk behind the counter, Cassandra Morrison, were arrested. The handcuffs were pink, Coates recalls. “I was like, ‘Wow, did you know there were two women working here?’” (Coates correctly speculated that the pink cuffs were part of a police campaign to support a breast cancer charity.)
“They were very nice, very polite,” Coates says. Customers in the shop were released. Coates and Morrison were taken to Ottawa police headquarters, where they spent about 12 hours in adjoining cells before being released with a promise to appear in court.
Coates pulls out a sheet of paper that lists the charges against her: 19 counts related to drug trafficking and possessing the proceeds of crime. “And I only worked there for two weeks,” she says ruefully.