Opening Statement



Sunday, 24 December 2017

Guilty Plea: The Cannabis Culture 5 Deal!



Guess what? Don't be shocked! A pre-trial settlement has suddenly been reached for the Cannabis Culture 5! They plead guilty! Get huge fines! No jail time! It's a big, sensational, front page news story! Across Canada, in the US, around the world, onboard airplanes, and even ships at sea! [1]

But you read it here first! Way back in November! Got it directly from the CC5! [LINK] [LINK]

Yup, Oh Cannabis been dutifully covering the CC5 court hearings, ever since the big bust last March! Now, the mainstream media's all over the story again too! 

The news links are below! So how to still report this story for our cannabis activist purposes, in an interesting, meaningful way? Here are a few observations:

It's Monday, December 18th, upstairs in Courtroom 124, old Toronto City Hall:



After 9 months of court room wrangling -a hushed silence. Our illustrious Canadian Prince o' Pot, Marc Emery, stands respectfully, school boy style, before the judge, awaiting sentence. 

Speaking politely for the record, very clearly and in no uncertain terms, Marc explains that he's "very willing" to go back to jail again, for his grievous crimes! 

No qualms. Nor regrets. Quite plain and simply, he engaged in "peaceful civil disobedience". He broke the law. No argument there!

The judge leans forward, gazing down from her legal perch. Sadly, she wags her head in silence! Sighs! Agrees! Thinks jail would be "very appropriate" too. 

A pregnant pause ..... Jail time? 

Anybody else?!? 

Alas! It's not to be! 
The crown chirps in! Breaks the deafening silence! 

That's not necessary!

Nope! The lawyer's have reached a deal! It's the best the CC5 can expect, whether the case goes to trial or not. Instead, they're head whacked with a huge wad of onerous fines! Justice has been served! The CC5 walk free!


Seems a solid kick to the old wallet, albeit on an much abbreviated list of charges will suffice, instead of some more time in the pokey for the CC5. 




To wit:

Marc Emery: 2 charges of trafficking, 1 charge for proceeds exceeding $5000, and a $195,000 fine!


Jodie Emery: 1 charges of trafficking, 1 charge for proceeds exceeding $5000, and a $195,000 fine!


Britney Guerra: 1 charge of trafficking, 1 for proceeds exceeding $5000, and a $13,000 fine!


Chris Goodwin: 1 charge of trafficking, 1 for proceeds exceeding $5000, and a $13,000 fine!


Erin Goodwin: 1 charge of trafficking, 1 for proceeds exceeding $5000, and a $3,900 fine! [2]


More:



Also, the CC5 forfeit the proceeds of their "crimes"! That includes all of the "illegal" cash receipts seized in the Project Gator raids, somehow minus the $16,000 that's now mysteriously missing from the court records! [LINK]

Good bye bud and shatter! Nor can the CC5 own or carry any firearms, weapons or ammo, for the next two years. As if .......

The CC5 fine's are quite onerous! But there's a small silver lining. They set a high precedent, one that could help other less eager dispensary owners and staff avoid jail time too. It's based based upon the Crown's incorrect calculations of the CC franchise's actual net worth at the time of the bust. 



According to Jodie Emery, the Crown mistakenly used a dispensary contract that she was developing for future, additional CC franchise royalties, costs and various fees! It doesn't accurately reflect the actual CC receipts from the opened outlets last March. 

Only a dozen or so of the 200 franchises CC hoped to open in 2017 were actually up and running. Except for Marc's own, very successful Church St Toronto outlet, those that were still hadn't earned the huge profits, upon which the Crowns numbers are based! [LINK]

Sadly, this costly travesty of justice now leaves the CC5, especially Marc and Jodie, looking for a new job to pay off the fines. However, the CC5 are also prohibited from "directly or indirectly participating" in an "illegal dispensary", their main source of livelihood, for the next 2 years.




Help! Help! It's the Cannabis Cult's CC's Bonnie y Clyde!

Get this

The CC5 can still work for a "legal dispensary" when cannabis is legalized in 2018. Perhaps apply for a legal license of their own. Or work their well established brand name for somebody else instead. Still, that depends upon an allusive Trudeau government amnesty for weed convictions. 

It's far from a sure thing! Particularly for the CC5! Ironically, they're sidelined for now. That despite having putting everything on the line in the good fight to reform Canada's unjust cannabis laws! [LINK]

But back to the Court Room 124



The Crown's boasting to the judge! A narc actually bought 2 grams of weed from Marc! 

Whoa! He did? From Canada's most notorious, top, weed salesman, eh? The big guy himself? Right at his swingin' Church Street store?!? 

There's a snicker from the peanut gallery. We sit watching intently with bated breath, trying not to laugh.

OK, an undercover cop bought some weed form Marcus, but how many others did too? Like oh, I don't know, maybe medical patients! Or just plain everyday folks looking to safely buy some good weed! 

Perhaps at Cannabis Culture, or for that matter any number of the other fine, already existing dispensaries mushrooming whack-a-mole style across our fair city. Amply demonstrating for all concerned, including the Trudeau government and Corporate Weed, should they care to see, how it's done properly,



While the CC5 suffer the barbed court slings of the justice arrows, there's good news for the Cannabis Culture's "good buds" in the judge's ruling. Remember them? The bud tenders also arrested and charged in the Project Gator raids! Yup! As a part of the deal, all of their charges are dropped. No criminal records either! 

The Crown's is so pleased that the Cannabis Culture 5 accepted sole legal responsibility for selling weed in their dispensary's! Another new precedent has been set! This one can actually help Canadian dispensary workers caught in a bust! 


From a labour perspective in general, it's rather refreshingly and exemplary! An employer accepting responsibility? Rather than let their staff shoulder legal blame?

Imagine that! Canuck budtenders -ask your boss if he'll accept the charges in case of a bust. If he says no, go work somewhere else, where you know you will be protected and can work safely without the fear of being fined or going to jail. [
LINK]


Let's fast forward now! To Cannabis Culture's Post Trial Party at Planet Paradiso! 




It's a big, crazy, mad mix of CC Toronto's bud tenders and staff. Platefuls of joints are making the rounds. There's lots of snacks. Non alcoholic beverages. Kool stoner tunes blast loudly from the sound system, as the party kicks into high gear. 

Our Prince o' Pot Marc's off until May to South America and Europe, networking internationally, carrying on his legalization crusade! Meanwhile, our Princess o' Pot Jodie will be in Toronto and Vancouver, taking care of CC operations here in Canada.


As for Chris and Erin? Our Cannabis Cult's "Bonnie and Clyde" peaceful civil disobedience baddies? Well, they're sticking around too. We look forward to reporting on their next, exciting, cannabis activities!




I lean back on my stool at the shatter bar, quite exhausted from a very long day. Enjoy a dab, and a spliff or two or three or .............. Hang out a bit with Mark Polkeroo, and Dan E the documentary film maker dude. Say hi to Mike, Bianka, Victor, and Emily, so many others. Of course, Marc, Jodie, Chris, and Erin too.

The CC bud tenders are breathing deep sigh of relief, along with their weed. 

Then there's Ming and the Ottawa Crew! Fresh from fighting the good fight on and off Parliament hill! Jamie and company from the Dundas Street Dispensary! 



Ottawa Rocks!

OMG! So many great Cannabis Activists, I just NEED to interview for a blog or two or three, in the daze ahead!

Looking about the crowded lounge, I strongly suspect that the real legacy of CC Project Gator Bust is
 this: it's packed with so many fresh, young, new politically activated ganjapreneurs. Now creating their own dispensary start ups. Along with a rich pot-porri of other, more creative, leading edge, cannabiz endeavours. 


Mostly a younger crowd! Lots of millennial! Freshly galvanized by the CC5's vibrant brand of cannabis activism. Unafraid to exercise peaceful civil disobedience, to take action when need be. 


It's a whole new generation of inspired, cannabis activists. Multiplying in numbers many times over, upwards and onwards onto infinity; Canada's green future. After all is said and done, perhaps one of the Cannabis Culture 5's greatest and most rewarding successes!




FOOTNOTES:

[1] Kinda sorta! It was a very long day. Most of the mainstream media screwed off  again. Showed up for the obligatory media scrum outside the court house afterwards, rather miffed at the inconvenience. Then made up ridiculous headlines. Hung them on their bare skeleton stories. Once again, social media saved the day, basically reporting everything you really need to know! See below!


[2] Initially, the fines were rather hard to determine, based upon the way the judge dished them out; fines per charge, additional "victim surcharge" fees, so on and so forth. My numbers are a composite of what I heard in court, what's been reported on the news. See below!

NEWS LINKS

Our illustrious mainstream news hounds try to make sense of the CC5 guilty plea  @ Globe @ CBC @ CTV @ City 

Cannabis Culture online provides a good overview with lots of social media links @ CC

Well Worth A Read:

Project Gator at the End of the Day: Roy Berger interviews the Emery's at home about the trial for the inside goods! A great read @ CC

What I Did, and Why: CC's Jodie Emery tells all @ CC

The Fate of Marc + Jodie Emery: Jon Hiltz's excellent, indepth overview @ MJ

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