One of Canada’s most prominent cannabis activists opened a retail outlet on Bank Street Wednesday in the latest challenge to the country’s marijuana laws.
Storefront dispensaries are currently illegal as medical marijuana patients must buy their cannabis directly from a licensed producer, such as Smiths Falls-based Canopy Growth Corp.
However, Jodie Emery – who co-owns the Cannabis Culture brand and chain of retail stores with her husband, Marc – led a rally on Parliament Hill today before marching down to the new storefront on Bank Street.
“This is what real legalization looks like!” Ms. Emery – nicknamed Canada’s “Princess of Pot” – wrote on Instagram.
The move will once again test the extent to which police are willing to enforce laws that are expected to change.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to introduce legislation legalizing marijuana for recreational use this spring. However, several budding entrepreneurs in Ottawa and across the country aren’t waiting for the law to change and have already opened up retail dispensaries.
Many have been raided by police, although several promptly reopened in the following days.
On Wednesday, Ms. Emery reportedly argued there is no need to arrest individuals for possessing marijuana if the laws are changing.
However, there is no guarantee that retail operations such as Cannabis Culture will be allowed to operate if marijuana is legalized, although a federal task force said in December that individuals 18 years and older should be allowed to buy pot from storefronts and through mail order.