Jodie Emery is at home when she’s inside “Jodie’s Joint” her Kensington market coffee shop, but the cannabis rights activist hopes in the next few months the location will live up to its name serving up joints alongside lattes.
“I hope to sell cannabis. I hope a lot of others can too. Why not put the buds right beside all the veggies in the market?” says Emery. The neighborhood, she says, has been at the forefront of the legalization movement.
“Kensington has always been very tolerant and there are long-established places like HotBox Café where people have been able to consume. It is a bit of peaceful civil disobedience, but there are no problems, no kids and I am very glad that we are able to see those sort of places right now.”
Emery and her husband Marc are widely known across Canada as the ‘prince and princess of pot’ due to their activism on marijuana legalization. The pair pleaded guilty after being convicted of drug-related charges in December 2017.
The couple ran illegal pot stores, claiming the operation of them was a form of civil disobedience.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is set to take the reigns when it comes to licensing pot stores in the coming months and Emery is hopeful they will grant her one.
“I hope I will be able to participate legally and I’m unsure if my history will make government officials say, ‘No, we want to punish her and make sure she is not rewarded,’ or if they’d like to say, ‘Jodie, you and all the other advocates and pioneers who made this all possible, you should at least have an equal opportunity like all the others to participate.’”
The yet-to-be-passed legislation on pot sales states that even individuals with criminal convictions like Emery can apply for a licence, though each individual will be looked at on a case by case basis.
Guidelines on the use of marijuana will follow the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, though Friday there was confusion when Premier Doug Ford stated at a news conference, “You aren’t being able to smoke in a park 100 per cent, that’s unacceptable. Our priority is to keep children safe.”
Under the proposed legislation, citizens would be able to smoke pot in parks.
The premier’s office later contacted reporters clarifying Mr. Ford’s statement saying he was referencing playgrounds — where people will not be able to light up.
Emery says Ford’s concerns about children are unwarranted.
“Nobody wants to see kids subjected to pot smoke but that’s not really happening. Cannabis smokers are already paranoid and worried about people judging them so they avoid being around kids, they avoid causing problems — we already get enough grief.”