Jodie Emery has left the Liberal Party of Canada.
“It's official,” the country’s leading advocate for marijuana reform wrote on Twitter on March 17. “I cancelled my @liberal_party membership & monthly donations. I encourage my fellow Canadians to do the same. #cdnpoli #LPC”
In June 2014, the Straight was the first outlet to report that Emery hoped to be a candidate for the federal Liberals in the election that was held the following year. She intended to run in the riding of Vancouver East, where she lives in an apartment with her partner Marc Emery.
Emery subsequently filed nomination papers with the party. However, in January 2015, she received an email carrying a letter from the Liberals' so-called “green-light committee” informing her she would not be competing in the race for Vancouver East.
The email stated her name was removed from the ballot and that her nomination deposit was returned to her bank account.
“Upon careful review, they’ve decided not to recommend me to be a contestant,” Emery told the Straight at the time.
In the run up to the October 2015 federal election, the Emerys remained strong supporters of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, campaigning for them online and at political rallies across the country.
The couple’s support primarily stemmed from a promise Trudeau made to legalize recreational marijuana. Once he was elected prime minister, Trudeau did follow through on that pledge. He convened a task force on the issue and today legislation is being drafted to remove criminal penalties related to the drug and establish a legitimate distribution system for its sale.
However, many marijuana businesses have not waited for the new laws to come into effect, instead choosing to begin selling cannabis in storefronts in cities such as Vancouver and Toronto. The Emerys are among them, licensing the name of their long-time business, Cannabis Culture, to people who are selling marijuana. (The Emerys' flagship Cannabis Culture location at East Hastings and Cambie streets does not and has never sold marijuana.)
That led Toronto police to conduct a series of raids against those businesses and arrest both Jodie and Marc Emery outside Pearson International Airport on March 8.
Jodie was charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, trafficking, possession, and two counts of possession of proceeds of crime. Marc was charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, three counts of trafficking, five counts of possession, five counts of possession of proceeds of crime, and fail-to-comply recognizance.
In addition, the couple’s bail conditions state that they are not allowed to enter their Cannabis Culture properties on East Hastings Street and must refrain from any dealings with the businesses that they have operated in Vancouver for nearly two decades.
Since their arrest, Emery has quickly become a sharp and loud critic of Trudeau, the Liberal government, and their process to legalize recreational marijuana.
“Our cannabis community helped @JustinTrudeau @liberal_party win the 2015 election,” she wrote on Twitter on March 17. “We can help defeat them in the 2019 election. #Activism”