Emery: Ontario’s Plan For Legal Pot Is ‘Nutty’

Marijuana Activist Marc Emery addresses the crowd in Windsor after being released from US federal prison. August 12, 2014. Photo by Ashton Patis.

Canada’s “Prince of Pot” is calling Ontario’s plan for rolling out legalized marijuana this fall “outrageous,” “cruel,” and “kind of insane.”

Canadian cannabis rights activist Marc Emery made those comments after the news broke that Ontario residents will be able to buy pot online immediately when the drug becomes legal on October 17, but will have to wait until April 2019 to legally buy it in a retail store.

Emery says millions of Canadians are already purchasing marijuana through illegal avenues and he doesn’t see that changing until cannabis is legally available in shops.

“If [the provincial government] is going to say it’s legal October 17, but you can’t buy it for another six months, it’s nutty,” says Emery. “We’re all going to be buying [marijuana] from the black market and all of the people who we’ve been buying it from while it has been illegal for possibly six months to a year.”

Emery is also taking issue with the regulation that will only allow Ontario residents to use recreational cannabis in a private residence or the outdoor space of a home.

“The reality is, everybody will break the laws… none of them will be obeyed,” says Emery. “We’ll keep breaking the law and we’ll keep winning in court… that’s how we got to where we are today.”

Despite all of those criticisms, though, Emery does have some positive things to say about the Ontario PC government’s revisions to what the Liberals had planned when they were in power.

“The 500 stores that the Ford government is promising in the private sector is a lot better than the 40 government stores that the Liberals were promising,” says Emery. “It’s definitely a boon to consumers and to entrepreneurs and to people who have a dream of owning a government pot shop.”

The provincial government in Ontario has already laid out a number of requirements for retailers, including a restriction prohibiting the sale of cannabis to anyone under 19 and the introduction of an Official Ontario Cannabis Retailer Seal to help consumers identify legitimate retailers and quality-assured products.