Marijuana activist Jodie Emery says arrest and strip search left her traumatized

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      Before her arrest, Jodie Emery says she felt no fear.

      “At the time, I was very strong,” related the wife and comrade of Canada’s Prince of Pot, Marc, in the crusade to legalize marijuana.

      Speaking by phone from Ontario, where she and her husband are staying following their release from jail, Emery told the Georgia Straight: “I didn’t feel scared at all, because I knew that many people go through much worse.”

      Nothing could have prepared her for what happened in the evening of last Wednesday (March 8) when she and Marc were arrested outside the Pearson International Airport.

      It was the first time she was arrested in the long years she has spent with Marc on the forefront of marijuana legalization. They were each charged with trafficking marijuana as well as several other offences.

      “After my treatment by the police, after being arrested and jailed and strip searched, and put in a police vehicle for two days, driven around town, I am actually traumatized,” Emery said in a phone interview Monday (March 13). “I get nervous when I see big, tough men in plainclothes; not even police officers but just men that look like they might be police. I get nervous they’re about to arrest me.”

      It’s not only the sign of burly men that scares her now.

      “When I hear certain sounds, it takes me back to being arrested and put in prison,” Emery said.

      According to her, she may have to deal with the psychological scars from her experience for some time.

      “The aftermath, as with any trauma, it shows up in unexpected ways in the days and weeks following a traumatic event,” Emery said. “So for myself, I think I need to use medical marijuana to deal with the trauma that’s been caused me by this experience, and the fact that we face life in prison is also very traumatizing.”

      On March 10, the Emery couple was released on bail, which carried a number of conditions.

      The conditions include a prohibition on possessing and using marijuana except with a prescription.

      According to Emery, she has always used cannabis before to deal with stress. Her husband also uses marijuana for its “preventative” benefits on his health.

      “He doesn’t ever sleep well. He’s concerned about Alzheimer's, which was how his mother died. His father died from a stroke,” Emery said about Marc.

      In order to comply with the bail condition, Emery said she and Marc will be seeing a clinic to get a prescription for medical marijuana.

      The Emery couple will also have to see how they can support themselves.

      According to Emery, the court has banned them from having anything to do with their Cannabis Culture brand, whose name is used in franchises for marijuana dispensaries across the country.

      “Now we’re out of work. Now we need some way to survive,” Emery said.

      Emery also said that she is banned from talking to three of her best friends, who are also their co-accused in the several drug-related charges filed by the police. These are Chris and Erin Goodwin, and Britney Guerra.

      “I’m banned from the [Cannabis Culture] magazine offices [in Vancouver]. So much of it is heartbreaking, because it’s my entire adult life. It’s all I’ve ever known, and I don’t know what we’re going to do in the future,” she said.

      As part of the bail conditions, her husband is not allowed to travel outside Ontario. For her part, Emery has to inform the police if she is going to British Columbia.

      “We hope to get bail conditions changed to let us travel outside Ontario,” Emery said.