Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Several Illegal Pot Boutiques Selling to Recreational Users Open in Montreal

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Several Illegal Pot Boutiques Selling to Recreational Users Open in Montreal

Article excerpt

Pot shops for recreational users open in Montreal

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Montreal's mayor vowed zero tolerance for illegal pot dispensaries on Thursday, just hours after several such establishments aimed at recreational users opened to the public.

Denis Coderre tweeted the city would use any administrative tools at its disposal to enforce the law.

The pot boutiques opened in the presence of two well-known marijuana activists from Vancouver behind the Cannabis Culture stores and brand.

Storefront outlets are popping up as Ottawa forges ahead with plans to legalize marijuana, with legislation expected in the spring.

Jodie Emery told a news conference at one of the stores that while they are illegal under current federal legislation, she hopes local authorities will leave them be.

Under store policy, anyone 19 and older will be able to buy marijuana, without membership or medical requirements. The shops will pay taxes, employ locals and won't allow children inside.

"This is what legalization looks like, this is what marijuana legalization should be," Emery said. "I beg the Montreal police, let us be in peace. Please do not cause harm to the harmless people that are choosing to work here and push forward this very important issue."

She was accompanied by her husband, Marc Emery, the self-styled "Prince of Pot" who was extradited in 2010 to the United States, where he pleaded guilty to selling marijuana seeds and was sentenced to five years in prison.

"Marijuana prohibition has never been legitimate, there has never been a reason offered for why this law exists, why it's existed for 50 years," he said.

"Anyone who enforces this despicable law is indeed a despicable person -- and I include politicians, elected officials, police authorities and anyone else who thinks we should be arrested."

Coderre wrote that he spoke to mayors of several boroughs where the Cannabis Culture shops were opening and that they agreed current laws must be respected.

Eight boutiques were slated to open, but only six did. Late Thursday, Jodie Emery said permits for two boutiques were held up and they might still open on Friday or Monday.

Montreal police haven't said what they plan to do about the shops but have stressed such operations are currently illegal and that they could intervene. …

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