During the past several weeks, three women have come forward on Twitter alleging cannabis activist Marc Emery made lewd sexual comments and physical contact while running the popular dispensary chain, Cannabis Culture.
On January 4, Toronto journalist Deidre Olsen posted the first of two threads on the social-media platform detailing experiences with Emery, now 60, in which she claims the activist tried to “groom” her at the age of 17.
Olsen says that in 2008, her family and friends stopped her from taking a job at Emery’s dispensary chain, Cannabis Culture, after he divulged details about his sexual history. She also shared screenshots of several exchanges between the two over Facebook as well as unverified accounts of women who have experienced similar situations.
Emery, who has historically been vocal on social media, didn’t engage with any of the comments being made online until late Wednesday (January 16).
At that time, he posted an 1,800-word public statement on Facebook addressing the allegations and clearing up details about his relationship with estranged wife Jodie Emery and ownership of the dispensaries.
He began his statement with a plea to absolve Jodie from any connection to the actions in question, explaining that they have been separated for more than a year and, later in the post, adding that she was often unsupportive of his demeanour around employees.
Regarding the claims of physical touching, he goes on to say that although he does recall giving back rubs to both men and women, it was consensual and those involved were adults.
“I’ve never had sex with anyone under 19 ever, so this idea that I’m grooming young women is not true,” he writes.
“To you Deidre, I’m sorry I went out of bounds and the experience has become unpleasant. It was immature of me and bad judgment, but I only ever felt positive and glad to know you in our correspondence.”
He wrote that he has had sex with three employees in the past, two of whom he married and one whom he says was in her 20s.
Several times in the post, he acknowledges that his comments have often been received as offensive.
“I can and have apologized, goodness knows I’ve said stupid things. But I’ve never done anything with a conscious intent to degrade or diminish anyone,” he writes. “There’s a stand-up comedian inside of me that is too anxious to shock, entertain as well as feed my own ego, which is a weakness I’m trying to correct.”
Emery also addresses an explicit post he wrote about anal sex in a Cannabis Culture forum in 2005, calling the comments "tongue in cheek".
Two other women responded to Olsen’s thread with claims that they experienced and witnessed similar accounts of inappropriate behaviour.
After Emery's post was published, Olsen responded on Twitter.
Emery is not facing criminal charges and says he came forward because Samantha Beattie, a reporter from the Huffington Post, reached out for comment ahead of an article on the claims. He is currently on a global cannabis-advocacy tour, recently posting photos from Argentina.
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