Opening Statement



Monday, 13 March 2017

Oh Cannabis Culture: The Project Gator Bust!


 
Welcome to a "Special Edition" of "Oh Cannabis Winter News and Views"[Here]! I've already posted a firsthand account of my 2 days spent at the Toronto court house covering the proceedings on social media. [Here] You'll find the the best of the mainstream news links below. Together, they can hopefully help us better understand the awful, twisted pretzel logic behind the Project Gator Cannabis Culture [CC] Busts. Here's what we know:

CC's Marc and Jodie Emery were arrested at Pearson International Airport on Wednesday night, March 8th, while departing for a flight to Spain. The Church St. dispensary's Chris and Erin Goodwin, as well as Britney Guerra from the Hamilton shop, were also arrested Thursday morning as a part of "Project Gator". Seven Cannabis Culture [CC] dispensaries were raided simultaneously across Canada in all, in Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and Vancouver.

Toronto Police Services [TPS] arrested, handcuffed and charged Chris and Erin, the former Church Street managers, in a chilling police state show/ non show. It happened before our very eyes inside the old Toronto courthouse, where they'd come for the Emery's bail proceedings. Britney, from Stoneycreek, was arrested as TPS raided her Hamilton Cannabis Culture dispensary location. 


Britney at work ...

All were finally released on $30,000 bail early Friday evening, then unceremoniously tossed out into the bitterly cold Toronto night. The charges include "trafficking", "possession", "failure to comply" and a "conspiracy to commit an indictable offence". There is a rather confusing publication ban on further court proceedings. Meanwhile, the accused cannot talk or meet, except with their spouses. They are to live at their places of residence, the Emery's and Goodwin's here in Toronto, Britney in Stoneycreek. They can't be involved in any way with "Cannabis Culture and marijuana dispensaries". 

Here are the complete "who", "where" "what" along with the 11 specific charges that have been laid by the TPS @ TPS

 
"Targeting Unlawful Dispensary Danger": In a further news release, the TPS cite organized crime, and the seizure of "shatter". It's a popular, widely available distilled cannabis resin that they describe as very "potent" and "dangerous". They stress the danger of manufacturing "shatter" and include a vague reference to an August 2016 Eglinton Avenue dispensary explosion, for reasons unknown. The accused will be disputing all of these charges. They see this as a civil liberties/ civil disobedience case. They do not believe that they have broken the law. However, here's how the very heavy handed TPS are arguing their case against them;
"Project Gator was designed as a large franchise operation of alleged high level drug traffickers. The public should know that this isn't an altruistic venture, this is purely a profit-motivated venture. Anyone with a prescription for marijuana can go through Health Canada, who have an abundant supply." [TPS]  
More on the conspiracy, the court ban, and the police report on "illegitimate sources", including the TPS concerns about shatter are @ CP24

Time Line: Here's an excellent one for the events at the courthouse. It includes many insightful social media links. The social media surely owned the day, compared to the mostly befuddled and ham fisted mainstream media. Sadly, they often seemed to be struggling for a credible news handle to help explain the developing Canadian legalization issues and cannabis scene. Read @ Leafly

Hamilton CC Bust: Here are some further news details @ Spectator


The Vancouver CC Headquarters Bust: Watch @ CannabisLifeNet

Re-Opened -The New "Village Dispensary": Cannabis Culture Church St. has changed hands. It reopened for business Friday March 10th, under new management with a new name. Employee Jamie McConnell is now 55% owner. Also 3 more staff each own %15 of the business. Jamie advises me that the LGBTQ/ cannabis good fight on Church Street continues. We are watching some more pure, undistilled civil disobedience, this time without Marc! Details @ Dankr.ca

The Speeches: Upon his release, Chris Goodwin very succinctly explained that CC was being targeted for it's political activism and civil disobedience in challenging Canada's flawed legalization process. Also, that CC does not produce shatter, nor sell dangerous drugs. Erin, he and the family have put everything on the line for this case. Britney Guerra denounced the "dirty, crappy" conditions that they were kept in while under arrest. On this, the occasion of Jodie's first arrest, she emphasized how the ongoing and "unjust" police busts are hurting lots of innocent people. In no uncertain terms, she also expressed her humiliation at being strip searched twice as a part of a cannabis bust, from a distinctly Women in Cannabiz perspective. Marc Emery ruminated on his 36 jail visits. He was quite positive. Thankfully, CC is now "making progress" in finally getting the real civil liberty issues behind prohibition legalization openly discussed as a very necessary democratic part of the legalization debate. My phone died in the freezing cold, but here's an excellent video of the speeches, courtesy @ Dankr


"I am finally free ..." Upon her release, Jodie rallies the protest troops as she confidently assesses the ongoing fight from the Emery's Toronto home front @ Facebook

"When We Rise 2" or "The CC Legal Briefs":  Emery barrister Kirk Tousaw explains the cannabis communities "moral outrage" over the raids. There is no place for any of this in a "free" and "democratic" society @ TousawLaw 

Barrister Dan Stein, compares the TPS legal ignorance about CC to the 1980's Toronto bathhouse raids. He also touches upon other significant policing horror shows that helped create change. Police are actually the ones showing "blatant disregard" for the true "legal", "social", and "political" issues at stake on the eve of legalization. He provides pertinent legal and case references for our perusal @ DanSteinLaw

"We Are Seeds" Here are some notes on the Vancouver CC headquarter raids. Incoming Cannabis Culture magazine editor DanKres square frames the dispensary raids as a Big Pharma and Licensed Producer [LP] big business/ monopoly issue @ CannabisCulture


TCOB!

"Not-Yet-Legal": Much of the main steam media seems ready to write off Marc Emery as a crazy "die hard libertarian". Indeed, Canada's "National" newspaper tries to argue a very lackie "law is the law" and "rule of law" case against CC. Their fallback is an old, discredited "Reefer Madness" prohibition argument. Read how they attempt to discredit the very viable, democratic, and socially aware free enterprise/ free market option provided by the dispensary movement. Obediently, Canada's establishmentarian rag follows the tired TPS script. Accordingly, CC is just run by criminal opportunists trying to cash in on legalization for profit and self gain @ Globe

A Hallelujah Chorus: Too bad for Marc's critics! Turning him into a martyr can only strengthen his case @ Georgia Straight

"Justice Tarnished" Then come hints of a sea change, from Canada's hardnosed neo conster Sun news chain @ VSun


A Different Kind of Trudeaumania #1: The shifting parliamentary dates for legalization, and the ongoing police busts are a blatant power play to totally remove the dispensaries from the Big Pharma/LP legalization game plan. As a result, the real "pioneers" of legalization are being cut off from even participating in the consultation process. The aim? To exclude them totally from the new legalization business model. Marc Emery has largely footed the bill for while helping to champion legalization in Canada since the 1990's. Many of the former Reefer Madmen whom now stand to profit from his absence, were very busy fighting against legalization back then. This is just plain wrong! However, beware of the Sun. It is NOT a progressive newspaper, but read on @ TSun

Medical Cannabis Denied: The courts have all ready ruled that the government is unable to supply us with our prescription needs, regardless of the TPS and Health Canada's claims. The ruling should be used to allow the dispensaries to help fill them for us. Instead, they are being busted. Not fair! Very unjust @ Globe

How badly do medical cannabis patients need the dispensary's? Even after the busts, patients were lined up outside Jodie's Ottawa CC store, in our nation's capital @ OSun and @ Citizen


In Warmer Daze: Chris y Erin Goodwin!

Libertarian Food For Thought: Cannabis as a  freedom of choice issue. Marc has shared this Ron Paul video link online. Cannabis prohibition exposes a glitch in the political matrix, revealing the police state at work in our own backyard. In Canada we have our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, this speech is US content. Still, Project Gator shows us the police state mentality here, baring it's teeth. The Goodwin courthouse arrest certainly helped make that clear @ Ron Paul

Meet Jodie Emery: activist, entrepreneur, and pothead @ Flare

The Britney Guerra story: from a student to a teacher @ HighwayPage62

Erin Goodwin is @ PotTV

Here are some interesting Marc Emery documentaries:

Marc Emery -Canadian activist @ Youtube

Marc speaks at IdeaCity 2003 @ Youtube


The Prince of Pot verses the US government @ Youtube

Marc Emery verses Justin Trudeau @ Youtube

Follow Jamie McConnell @ Facebook


The Village Dispensary is open to serve you ....

COMMENTARY: Just some thoughts-

Our local cannabis community shared the Project Gator Bust story best using the social media. It was timely. It was unfiltered. It was informed and empowering.  Much more so than a lot of the mainstream stuff. I was very honored to meet those of you who've read my blog and tweets. Also humbled by those of you whom are doing so much more.

Maybe we should consider organizing our social media skills and resources, in whichever ways we reasonably can, to help support and further the local activist legalization agenda? Flash mobs are one useful technique used by other groups, to rally support for a protest event. What might we be able to do, for the cause, in the daze ahead, as the CC case makes it's way through the courts? As the other dispensary raids continue full thrust?

Civil Rights Now: Most unfortunately, the Trudeau government has proven itself in gross neglect of it's responsibilities and duties. The often critical needs of many medical cannabis patients are simply not being met. Meanwhile, the government continues to run roughshod over our rights and freedoms. Where's the medical compassion in that?

Despite our other handicaps, we sometimes have more free time than other activists. While we need to have our own medical needs met, our good fight can also help others a lot too. As medical cannabis patients, we get that. With so much at stake, the time to act is now! How might we best use some of our free time to help support the fight for charge, at the grass root level? Can we afford not too?

A Different Kind of Reefer Madness: Marc once told me that he's sold the movie rights to his life story. He has had so little time to write, until now that is!

Have no doubt, Marc Emery is still living the story too! It's not over yet! We look forward to the next chapter! Ditto for Jodie, Chris, Erin, Britney and all our other warriors in the legalization good fight too! Let's make sure that Trudeau gets it right, rather than leave it to sheer dumb chance! Or god forbid, the big Pharma and LP boys!

Peace + Solidarity!

David C


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