Marc and Jodie Emery knew they were targeted by police, claim arrests planned for months

Click to play video: 'Marc and Jodie Emery call their treatment by police ‘unjust, sadistic’' Marc and Jodie Emery call their treatment by police ‘unjust, sadistic’
WATCH ABOVE: Marijuana activists Marc and Jodie Emery spoke out on Monday about their high-profile arrest, saying they were not allowed to speak to their lawyers and were subjected to multiple strip searches – Mar 13, 2017

Canadian marijuana activists Marc and Jodie Emery said their arrests last week at Toronto Pearson Airport and the subsequent storefront dispensary raids across Canada were part of a collective effort by law enforcement to target their pot distribution operation.

“They knew we were going to Europe for 12 days and they were going to raid all of our businesses the day after and we needed to be, as the head of it all, we needed to be arrested and that’s why,” Marc Emery said during an interview on Global’s The Morning Show on Monday.

The Emerys said the federal government is sending them a message for pushing the marijuana agenda and controlling the sale and distribution of pot.

“They have been planning this for nine months, spending millions and millions of dollars, using hundreds and hundreds of officers amid an opioid crisis that is killing hundreds in this province,” Marc said.

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READ MORE: Canadian marijuana legalization timeline: Dispensary raids and major announcements

The Emerys, who owns the Cannabis Culture brand, were released on bail last Friday just two days after they were arrested at Toronto Pearson International Airport as they were leaving to attend a cannabis expo in Barcelona, Spain.

“Unjust. I would say it was appalling,” Jodie Emery said. “I’m quite disturbed by the fact that we are innocent until proven guilty, yet Cannabis Culture, which is a magazine, head shop, vapour lounge, it’s a movement.”

“We’ve been stripped of our ability to engage in that at all. I can’t even go to our political party headquarters in Vancouver.”

VIDEO: The “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery along with wife Jodie leave a Toronto courthouse after posting bail Friday.

Click to play video: 'Marc and Jodie Emery leave courthouse after posting bail' Marc and Jodie Emery leave courthouse after posting bail
Marc and Jodie Emery leave courthouse after posting bail – Mar 10, 2017

Five Cannabis Culture locations in Toronto, one in Hamilton and one in Vancouver were raided and police said search warrants were also executed on two Toronto residences, one in Vancouver and one in Stoney Creek, Ont.

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Marc Emery faces 15 counts, including conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of proceeds of crime, while Jodie Emery is charged with five similar counts.

READ MORE: Why are people being arrested for pot if the Trudeau government is looking to legalize it?

Cannabis Culture franchise owners Chris Goodwin, 37, Erin Goodwin, 31, and Britney Guerra, 29, were also arrested and charged with similar offences.

The Emerys said they were denied the opportunity to contact their lawyers in the first few hours after their arrests.

“I was strip-searched twice and I’ve written a lot about the injustice of prohibition. They way that peaceful people are subject to sadistic treatment by cops and prisons,” Jodie said.

“We’ve never hurt anyone and yet we’re forced to go through this horrible procedure.”

Canada’s Health Minister Jane Philpott said last week the federal government is committed to introducing legislation to legalize marijuana by the end of the spring but admitted regulatory processes can take time before the new law takes effect.

VIDEO: Minister of Health Jane Philpott confirmed on Thursday during Question Period that the government is only legalizing access to cannabis and no other substances.

Click to play video: 'Liberal’s Jane Philpott confirms government only plans to legalize cannabis' Liberal’s Jane Philpott confirms government only plans to legalize cannabis
Liberal’s Jane Philpott confirms government only plans to legalize cannabis – Feb 2, 2017

READ MORE: Marijuana should be sold in separate stores with minimum age limit of 18, says federal task force

“Clearly any legislation that gets introduced has to go through the parliamentary process,” Philpott told reporters in Ottawa last Thursday.  “It has to be duly considered by the House of Commons and ultimately the Senate as well. And there are often regulatory processes that have to be put in place so people need to recognize that things take time. This is something that has to be done correctly.”

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Marijuana advocates say the current law is in a legal gray zone which has allowed a number of dispensaries to open up across the country despite continued enforcement by police.

“The law is unjust. When the law is wrong there are many different social issues where breaking that law peacefully with civil disobedience has helped change the law,” said Jodie Emery.

“In fact, legalization is only happening and licenced producers only exist because of dispensaries and patients breaking the law, going to court, and winning.”

READ MORE: Are White House comments a sign of trouble for marijuana legalization in Canada?

Marc Emery, who has been arrested 30 times and served five years in U.S. prisons for selling marijuana seeds south of the border, said he is prepared to go to jail once again.

“I’ve been exiled and abused by my own government at every level. City of Vancouver, City of Toronto, Province of Ontario, Province of B.C., the federal government of Canada. I’m used to the abuse and I’m famous because of it,” he said.

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