Last Wednesday, March 8th, I was a panellist on a marijuana legalization episode for theZoomer — far from Toronto’s bail court. The other panellists were a venture capitalist, an addiction counsellor, a lawyer, and a licensed producer. And, less intimidating, a friendly face in the Princess of Pot: fellow activist and owner of Cannabis Culture, Jodie Emery.
I am much less experienced in the ways of media than Jodie, so I was grateful to see her smiling face — just recently returned from Jamaica, her first real vacation in the decade-plus that I’ve known her — enter the green room before we were both whisked off to hair and make-up.
The panel was interesting, and a little heated when discussion turned to who would prosper from the government’s new legalization scheme. And more importantly, who deserves to. The episode is set to air April 17th, 2017. But no one expected that clips would become newsworthy by the next morning.
After the panel, Jodie and I quickly said our goodbyes. I had a patient to meet, and Jodie was meeting husband Marc Emery to be on their way to Barcelona, Spain for the annual cannabis expo Spannabis.
I went to bed that night with a plan for Thursday to celebrate my late brother’s birthday with some loud music and cake baking. And to end my week catching up on a few articles and the mountain of laundry that had accumulated after a trip to Vancouver for the M.O.M. Cup. In this case, I’m reminded of a Yiddish proverb: Man plans, God laughs.
March 9th – Bail Court
I awoke early Thursday morning, March 9th, to news that just a few short hours after I had been with her, Jodie and Marc Emery were arrested at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. There were no details yet but scattered information indicated they would appear in bail court in Toronto in a few hours.
This was the first indication that something was “different.” Pearson Airport is RCMP jurisdiction — it is located in Peel Region — but Marc and Jodie were transferred to Toronto instead of the Peel Regional Courts.
As I made my way across the city I reminded myself of the Project Claudia raids almost a year earlier. Then, activists knew where to be for a press conference only to find raids on dispensaries coordinated to happen at the same time. That too had been a Thursday….
Just a few minutes before 10:00 am, I arrived outside Room 103 at Old City Hall. Bail Court — a room I’ve become quite familiar with in my time as an activist. I joined Amy and other activists, including Chris and Erin Goodwin, waiting alongside the media for court to begin. I had checked the notice boards along the way but had not been able to find either Jodie or Marc’s names on the docket. And, more importantly, what had they had been charged with?
I spotted the Emery’s Toronto lawyer, Jack Lloyd, in the crowd, and quietly made my way over to say hello. Even Jack hadn’t been informed as of yet what the charges were. Marc and Jodie were not in the building, and were not expected to arrive for another hour.
I have done a lot of Toronto media in the last few months due to a rash of violent robberies (Twelve High Chicks article to come!) that have recently plagued the city. So a few reporters in the crowd recognized me and immediately confronted me with questions. I explained that they knew as much as we did and we were just there for support.
They quickly ascertained that Jack was the lawyer and began to bombard him with questions about the charges, which again he simply couldn’t answer. Jack managed to excuse himself to take a call and wait for Marc and Jodie’s arrival. My cell phone was low on battery, so I reminded Amy of my feelings about Project Claudia raids and asked her to go online and remind people to be safe.
Little did we know then what “Project Gator” would add to the injustices of Project Claudia….
(Feature Image courtesy of Darija Ivankovic for Zoomer Media.)