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Against the Claim of Cannabis Use In the Bible

Legalizing Cannabis

Over the past few years, the legalization of cannabis and its recreational use has skyrocketed. Yet despite these political and commercial gains, the cannabis industry is still fighting an uphill battle against the religious objection to to its use. To remove these roadblocks, the industry has launched large-scale influence campaigns like Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, Project CBD, Cannabis Culture, High Times, Mission to Share, and many others, targeting Jews and Christians alike. Their ultimate goal is the elimination of religious objections to the recreational use of cannabis.

Most of these counter-religious operations promote the following claims:

The Mother of Biblical Cannabis
The source of the claims that the Bible references the ritualistic use of cannabis comes from the work of the Polish anthropologist Sara Benetowa (1903-1982). Benet earned a doctorate from the University of Warsaw with a thesis entitled “Hashish in Folk Customs and Beliefs.” In 1936, she came to the US, changed her name to Sula Benet, and in 1943 received a Ph.D. from Columbia. At Columbia, she worked on Eastern European studies with Ruth Benedict. In 1944, Benet joined Hunter College and taught at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Pratt Institute. During WWII, she was a consultant to the State Department on Eastern Europe.

In a 1936 Warsaw lecture, Benet introduced the claim that cannabis is mentioned in the Bible, an assertion she repeated throughout her academic career in papers like “Early Diffusion And Folk Uses Of Hemp.” All drug propagandists who claim that cannabis is found in the Bible reference Benet’s research.

The core of Benet’s cannabis claim is based on these two arguments.

From Benet’s first claim, It’s evident that she never bothered to verify it; a quick glance in the BDB Lexicon would have told her that this was a made up word interpretation. But even if these two words were homophones, an evaluation of cannabis’ properties would fail to match the qanēh-bōśem. Cannabis smoke certainly doesn’t smell like a pleasant aroma. The word bōśem (בֹ֖שֶׂם) in Hebrew denotes a perfume and an aromatic balsam, not the rancid smoke of a weed.

The second claim has no basis in Hebrew and relies on references to a similar-sounding Greek word, kannabis (κάνναβις) used over 1600 years later in the Mishna and Jerusalem Talmud. In the Mishna, the word cannabos קַּנַּבִּס (the etymology of the word canvas) appears in a non-related context in a discussion about the prohibition on growing hybrid crops (kla’aim), or cross-breeding them, in this case mixing cannabus and pishtan (cannabis and flax). The Cannabis plant also appears several times in the Mishna/Talmud in the context of weaving linen fabric used to make a frock (simlah שִּׂמְלָה). However, It’s never mentioned in the context of being ingested, smoked or used ritually.

Assessing Benet’s social/professional linkages, funding sources, and areas of academic research suggests that she may have been a Russian agent. Before, during, and after WWII, Columbia University was crawling with Russian spies and agents like Juliet Poyntz, Paul Massing, Victor Perlo, and Whittaker Chambers, just to name a few. A sampling of Benet’s work shows frequent collaboration and communications with Russian state actors. A few examples of her work include a joint Soviet-American study of longevity and a book on the subject. Of note is that throughout the 1960s-1970s, she had a standing invitation and funding from the Soviet Academy of Sciences, and at the time of her death, was editing an English version of ”The Peoples of the Soviet Union). Keeping all of this in mind, It’s likely that her claims about finding cannabis in the Bible were one of several targeted Russian subversion operation/Active Measures.

Benet’s Alleged Biblical References
The claim that Genesis 1:29 justifies the use of all of the plants on the earth because G-d blessed them is both a fallacy of quoting out of context and cherry-picking. Even though the milkweed plant is good for the Monarch butterfly, it’s nevertheless harmful for human consumption, and the same applies to other poisonous plants.

Before examining specific biblical references that allegedly reference cannabis, keep in mind that according to Leviticus 10:9, a priest who consumes any form of an intoxicant (alcohol or otherwise) while in service is subject to the death penalty.

Bennet identifies cannabis in passages like Exodus 30:23, Song of Songs 4:14, Isaiah 43:24, and Ezekiel 27:19. Even a superficial reading of these passages debunks this claim and shows poor familiarity with the Hebrew language. For example, Exodus 30 contains two relevant passages: (1) Exodus 30:23, specifies the recipe for the holy anointing oil. This passage mentions the word qanēh-bōśem as one of the key ingredients in the anointing oil, and (2) Exodus 30:34-38 contains the recipe for the incense used in the Tabernacle and later on in the Temple of Solomon.


Reference 1 –
Exodus 30:23
The first Exodus passage (see below) refers to an anointment oil that is poured on objects in the Tabernacle and the priests in order to sanctify them. Note that the anointing oil is only used once to initiate the priests and its replication is prohibited as well as its casual use; even if we accept the claim that qanēh-bōśem = cannabis, the anointing process shows that the priests were neither drinking nor smoking the oil, and there weren’t psychotropic effects from its use.

וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר׃

G-d spoke to Moses, saying:

וְאַתָּ֣ה קַח־לְךָ֮ בְּשָׂמִ֣ים רֹאשׁ֒ מׇר־דְּרוֹר֙ חֲמֵ֣שׁ מֵא֔וֹת וְקִנְּמׇן־בֶּ֥שֶׂם מַחֲצִית֖וֹ חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים וּמָאתָ֑יִם וּקְנֵה־בֹ֖שֶׂם חֲמִשִּׁ֥ים וּמָאתָֽיִם׃

Next, take choice spices: five hundred weight of solidified myrrh, half as much—two hundred and fifty—of fragrant cinnamon, two hundred and fifty of aromatic cane,

וְקִדָּ֕ה חֲמֵ֥שׁ מֵא֖וֹת בְּשֶׁ֣קֶל הַקֹּ֑דֶשׁ וְשֶׁ֥מֶן זַ֖יִת הִֽין׃

five hundred—by the sanctuary weight—of cassia, and a hin of olive oil.

וְעָשִׂ֣יתָ אֹת֗וֹ שֶׁ֚מֶן מִשְׁחַת־קֹ֔דֶשׁ רֹ֥קַח מִרְקַ֖חַת מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה רֹקֵ֑חַ שֶׁ֥מֶן מִשְׁחַת־קֹ֖דֶשׁ יִהְיֶֽה׃

Make of this a sacred anointing oil, a compound of ingredients expertly blended, to serve as sacred anointing oil.

וּמָשַׁחְתָּ֥ ב֖וֹ אֶת־אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד וְאֵ֖ת אֲר֥וֹן הָעֵדֻֽת׃

With it anoint the Tent of Meeting, the Ark of the Pact,

וְאֶת־הַשֻּׁלְחָן֙ וְאֶת־כׇּל־כֵּלָ֔יו וְאֶת־הַמְּנֹרָ֖ה וְאֶת־כֵּלֶ֑יהָ וְאֵ֖ת מִזְבַּ֥ח הַקְּטֹֽרֶת׃

the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and all its fittings, the altar of incense,

וְאֶת־מִזְבַּ֥ח הָעֹלָ֖ה וְאֶת־כׇּל־כֵּלָ֑יו וְאֶת־הַכִּיֹּ֖ר וְאֶת־כַּנּֽוֹ׃

the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the laver and its stand.

וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ֣ אֹתָ֔ם וְהָי֖וּ קֹ֣דֶשׁ קׇֽדָשִׁ֑ים כׇּל־הַנֹּגֵ֥עַ בָּהֶ֖ם יִקְדָּֽשׁ׃

Thus you shall consecrate them so that they may be most holy; whatever touches them shall be consecrated.

וְאֶת־אַהֲרֹ֥ן וְאֶת־בָּנָ֖יו תִּמְשָׁ֑ח וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ֥ אֹתָ֖ם לְכַהֵ֥ן לִֽי׃

You shall also anoint Aaron and his sons, consecrating them to serve Me as priests.

וְאֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל תְּדַבֵּ֣ר לֵאמֹ֑ר שֶׁ֠מֶן מִשְׁחַת־קֹ֨דֶשׁ יִהְיֶ֥ה זֶ֛ה לִ֖י לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶֽם׃

And speak to the Israelite people, as follows: This shall be an anointing oil sacred to Me throughout the ages.

עַל־בְּשַׂ֤ר אָדָם֙ לֹ֣א יִיסָ֔ךְ וּ֨בְמַתְכֻּנְתּ֔וֹ לֹ֥א תַעֲשׂ֖וּ כָּמֹ֑הוּ קֹ֣דֶשׁ ה֔וּא קֹ֖דֶשׁ יִהְיֶ֥ה לָכֶֽם׃

It must not be rubbed on any person’s body, and you must not make anything like it in the same proportions; it is sacred, to be held sacred by you.

אִ֚ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִרְקַ֣ח כָּמֹ֔הוּ וַאֲשֶׁ֥ר יִתֵּ֛ן מִמֶּ֖נּוּ עַל־זָ֑ר וְנִכְרַ֖ת מֵעַמָּֽיו׃

Any party who compounds its like or puts any of it on a layperson shall be cut off from kin.”


Reference 2 – Exodus 30:34

The second Exodus passage (see below) doesn’t mention qanēh-bōśem at all. So, even if we do accept Benet’s claim that qanēh-bōśem = cannabis, the Exodus formula for the incense doesn’t use it. Considering the fact that Exodus 30:34 is the source for the recipe for making incense, there is no basis for the claim that it was used in the Tabernacle and the Temple of Salomon.

וַיֹּ֩אמֶר֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֜ה קַח־לְךָ֣ סַמִּ֗ים נָטָ֤ף ׀ וּשְׁחֵ֙לֶת֙ וְחֶלְבְּנָ֔ה סַמִּ֖ים וּלְבֹנָ֣ה זַכָּ֑ה בַּ֥ד בְּבַ֖ד יִהְיֶֽה׃

And יהוה said to Moses: Take the herbs stacte, onycha, and galbanum—these herbs together with pure frankincense; let there be an equal part of each.

וְעָשִׂ֤יתָ אֹתָהּ֙ קְטֹ֔רֶת רֹ֖קַח מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה רוֹקֵ֑חַ מְמֻלָּ֖ח טָה֥וֹר קֹֽדֶשׁ׃

Make them into incense, a compound expertly blended, refined, pure, sacred.

וְשָֽׁחַקְתָּ֣ מִמֶּ֘נָּה֮ הָדֵק֒ וְנָתַתָּ֨ה מִמֶּ֜נָּה לִפְנֵ֤י הָעֵדֻת֙ בְּאֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֔ד אֲשֶׁ֛ר אִוָּעֵ֥ד לְךָ֖ שָׁ֑מָּה קֹ֥דֶשׁ קׇֽדָשִׁ֖ים תִּהְיֶ֥ה לָכֶֽם׃

Beat some of it into powder, and put some before the Pact in the Tent of Meeting, where I will meet with you; it shall be most holy to you.

וְהַקְּטֹ֙רֶת֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תַּעֲשֶׂ֔ה בְּמַ֨תְכֻּנְתָּ֔הּ לֹ֥א תַעֲשׂ֖וּ לָכֶ֑ם קֹ֛דֶשׁ תִּהְיֶ֥ה לְךָ֖ לַיהֹוָֽה׃

But when you make this incense, you must not make any in the same proportions for yourselves; it shall be held by you sacred to יהוה.

אִ֛ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יַעֲשֶׂ֥ה כָמ֖וֹהָ לְהָרִ֣יחַ בָּ֑הּ וְנִכְרַ֖ת מֵעַמָּֽיו׃

Any party who makes any like it, to smell of it, shall be cut off from kin.”

The Tel Arad Claim
The claim that cannabis was used ritualistically in the 8th century BCE pagan sanctuary in Tell Arad may be valid; of note is that apparently, the Canaanite custom was to mix the cannabis with animal dung and set it on fire for it to smoke. Their recipe doesn’t even come close to the recipe in Exodus 30:34. It is also clear from various scriptural passages that the Tel Arad incense burning and other idolatry practices of that time were considered an abomination to G-d and were rebuked by the prophets.

One example that illustrates this is:

Jeremiah 44:25

“Thus said G-d of Hosts, the G-d of Israel: You and your wives have confirmed by deed what you spoke in words: ‘We will fulfill the vows that we made, to burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and to pour libations to her.’ So fulfill your vows; perform your vows!…”

Clearly, the Bible rejects these idolatrous practices. The Tel Arad cannabis claim is noteworthy because it shows how the cannabis industry is engineering its Bible narrative. The Wikipedia entry for Sula Benet now states that: “The Tel Arad temple finding of Cannabis reported by CNN on May 28th 2020 confirms her theory now archeologically.”, which is not the case.

Cannabis in the New Testament
One of the contemporary leading disciples of Benet and her cannabis in the Bible is Chris Bennett (no family relation to Sula Benet). He and his cannabissphere dedicate a significant amount of time and effort to producing online presentations on forums like History Valley.  Their claims that the New Testament references the use of cannabis are based on the argument that the word Greek word for oil (ἔλαιον elaion) is cannabis. The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and the Definitive Lexicon of New Testament Greek defines the “oil” found in Mark 6:13 as olive oil. The oil referenced in Mark 6:13 and James 5:14 is also likely olive oil. No Greek lexicon mentions cannabis as an interpretative option for the word oil or olive oil. But, even if the Greek translation for olive oil was cannabis (which would be unlikely as these are two different plant species), the claim would still be baseless linguistically and substantively. That’s because the etymology of the word oil, as it’s used by the apostles, would’ve come from Hebrew or Aramaic. Neither of these two languages translates the word “oil” (Hebrew = שֶׁ֚מֶן shémen and Aramaic = מְשַׁח mashákh) as cannabis.

If you are curious about where Chris Bennett draws the authority to make all of these bombastic claims about ancient history and the bible, here is a brief summary of his CV:


Chris Bennett: L-R relaxing with a joint, in a smoking jacket and a fez, and in an organic Antifa activist uniform

Chris Bennett is a 61-year-old cannabis merchant/propagandist from British Columbia. He started his illustrious career as a historian and a biblical scholar in the 1990s while working as a night shift security guard at a fish-packing plant. When not chasing/catching fish burglars he spent most of his free daytime hours surfing up and down the coast of British Columbia and smoking pot. Most of what he learned about the “diverse uses for cannabis and hemp came from a documentary film shown to him by a friend.” A number of drug-induced hallucinations sparked his interest in the Book of Revelation, and he began reading the Bible (unclear which one). It wasn’t until he had another drug-induced “religious epiphany that he realized the divine nature of the cannabis plant and its seemingly endless benefits to mankind.” Since that transformative moment, he has been a tireless crusader for the legalization of cannabis for purely altruistic reasons.

Smoking pot has changed his life, and he “quickly became a strong part of the first wave of marijuana and hemp activism emerging from British Columbia, helping to spread the message even before the arrival of the drug dealer and a convicted felon Prince of Pot Marc Emery to the province. He began avidly researching the historical relationship between humankind and the cannabis plant that dates further back than any existing religion, and found that many dominant religions, including Christianity, have utilized cannabis as a way to communion with their respective gods or godheads.”

Over the years, Chris made hand-drawn posters and t-shirts, produced edible hemp products (and ate them), and began speaking to the media about the benefits of hemp and “the cruelty of marijuana prohibition.” In 2000, he was hired by Emery to be the manager of a new video-streaming Internet network called Pot-TV, where he produced episodes of his show Burning Shiva.

The Contemporary Jewish and Christian View
The contemporary Jewish and Christian view on the permissibility of recreational use of cannabis can be illustrated through Rabbi Moshe Feinstein’s “Teshuva on Marijuana” (The Answer about Marijuana):

“It is obviously forbidden to smoke Marijuana, as this violates many basic laws of our Torah. First of all, it physically injures the person. Even if there are people who are not physically affected by this, it mentally affects the person as it destroys his mind and prevents him from understanding things properly.

This is a terrible thing since not only can the individual not properly study the Torah, but he also can not pray and properly perform mitzvot (the commandments) since doing them mindlessly is considered as if they were not done at all.

Furthermore, he is creating within himself a very strong addiction, which is much stronger than the desire to eat, etc. which are necessary for a person to live. There are many that can not control and withstand this addiction…”

If you are still trying to figure out the biblical stance on substance abuse/self-mutilation, here are two references:

Exodus 19:6

וְאַתֶּ֧ם תִּהְיוּ־לִ֛י מַמְלֶ֥כֶת כֹּהֲנִ֖ים וְג֣וֹי קָד֑וֹשׁ אֵ֚לֶּה הַדְּבָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר תְּדַבֵּ֖ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

But you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Leviticus 19:28

וְשֶׂ֣רֶט לָנֶ֗פֶשׁ לֹ֤א תִתְּנוּ֙ בִּבְשַׂרְכֶ֔ם וּכְתֹ֣בֶת קַֽעֲקַ֔ע לֹ֥א תִתְּנ֖וּ בָּכֶ֑ם אֲנִ֖י יְהוָֽה׃

You shall not scare your soul and flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am G-d.

RISM, the Hub of Russian Subversion
After retiring from her teaching position at Hunter College, Sula Benet joined RISM (Research Institute for the Study of Man). This private research institute published on variety of social science topics, including influential studies—some of which were Federally funded—promoting the recreational use of Cannabis/marijuana and sexual promiscuity. In one such study promoted by the New York Times, the RISM researcher Vera Rubin, concluded after a comprehensive study of chronic marijuana use that marijuana had no adverse effects on the users.

Linkage analysis of the RISM researchers who promoted cannabis shows that they came from Columbia University, had both family and professional ties to Russia, and published and promoted pseudo-scientific materials that included known Russian Active Measures (like legalizing drugs is in the West, telepathy, and telekinesis). Of note is that starting in 1930, the Soviets were fully aware of the adverse effects of marijuana and outlawed its cultivation, sale, and consumption of marijuana and were actively prosecuting offenders.

Here are the bios of two of Sula’s RISM collaborators:

Vera Dourmashkin Rubin
Born in Moscow in 1911 died in 1985. Rubin immigrated to the United States in 1912. The daughter of Elias Rubin, editor of a Russian-language newspaper and the wife of Samuel Rubin (Affiliated with the Transnational Institute an Amsterdam think tank that promotes world peace and the legalization of drugs). Rubin studied at New York University, graduating in 1930, collaborated with Margaret Mead and in 1952 was awarded her Ph.D from Columbia University.

Ruth Landes
Born in Manhattan in 1908 died in 1991. Landes was a cultural anthropologist and a pioneer in the study of “race and gender relations.” Her father Joseph Schlossberg, was a member of the radical left wing of the American socialist movement and the editor of Dos Abend Blatt, the first socialist Yiddish daily in  New York. Landes promoted progressive ideologies such as ‘flexible marriage’ and sexual promiscuity. She received her B.A. in Sociology from New York University in 1928, a master’s degree in 1929 from The New York School of Social Work, and 1935 Ph.D in anthropology from Columbia University.

References
The Adverse Effects of Marijuana
References to marijuana in the Holy Bible, True or false? 
Was Jesus a Stoner? 
Cannabis Culture- Chris Benet 
Did Jesus Heal With Cannabis?
How Moses and the Israelites Used Cannabis 
Cannabis use in Salomon’s Temple 
Kaneh Bosm and Tel Arad’s Use and Rejection of Cannabis | Ed Dodge and Chris Bennett 
1st high: Ancient Israelites at Biblical shrine used cannabis to spark ‘ecstasy 
Cannabis and the Christian: What the Bible Says about Marijuana 
Is Cannabis Against Your Religion?

The Criminal Career of Marc Emery, Chris Bennett’s Patron Saint (sourced from Wikipedia)
US government officials have described Emery as a drug dealer for his efforts to sell marijuana seeds in Canada and abroad.

1991 obscenity charges

In 1991, Emery was convicted for selling copies of 2 Live Crew’s rap CD As Nasty As They Wanna Be which had been deemed obscene and banned in Ontario. He was given one year’s probation, but immediately after sentencing he began selling marijuana-related literature and High Times magazine, all in violation of Canadian law.  Emery invited local police to his store to arrest him, but the police refused to charge him or interfere. He also sponsored visits from marijuana activists including Ed Rosenthal, Steven Hager, Jack Herer and Paul Mavrides.

1998 selling drugs

Court documents showed that four American Navy undercover agents attempted to buy marijuana and smoke it at the Vancouver Cannabis Cafe in April 1998. The documents showed the Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents worked in a joint operation with Vancouver police. Emery was convicted on charges of selling marijuana seeds in 1998, and received a $2,000 fine.

2004 trafficking conviction

On August 19, 2004, Emery was sentenced to 92 days in jail in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Emery had been convicted of trafficking because a witness saw him pass a joint in March 2004. Emery’s supporters held an ongoing daily vigil outside the courthouse until he was released. On October 18 he was released from the Saskatoon correctional center after serving 61 days of his sentence.

2005 arrest and extradition

One of the six Cannabis Culture shops opened by Marc Emery in Montreal in December 2016, leading to his arrest.

On July 29, 2005, Canadian police, acting on a request from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), simultaneously raided the BC Marijuana Party Bookstore and Headquarters in Vancouver and arrested Emery for extradition to the United States outside a storefront in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia.

American authorities charged Emery and co-defendants Gregory Keith Williams and Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek with “‘Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana”, “Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana Seeds” and “Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering”. Even though all the alleged offences occurred in Canada, Canadian police did not lay any charges.

The day of Emery’s arrest, American DEA Administrator Karen Tandy made a public statement asserting that the arrest was “a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement. Emery was freed on a $50,000 bail.

Federal Detention Center, SeaTac, where Emery resided in 2010.

Emery and his two associates, all charged in the United States with drug and money laundering offences, each faced a minimum 10-year sentence and the possibility of life imprisonment if convicted there. On January 14, 2008, Emery agreed to a tentative plea-bargain with U.S. authorities. The terms of the agreement were a 5-year prison term to be served in both Canadian and U.S. prisons. In return, he demanded the charges against his associates be dropped. On March 27, 2008 the plea-bargain deal collapsed because of the refusal of the Canadian government to approve its side of the arrangement. Emery agreed to plead guilty to one charge of drug distribution and accept a five-year sentence in the USA.

During Emery’s 45 day incarceration while awaiting extradition to a US federal prison, his supporters held a continuous vigil outside the prison with tents and banners, ending when Emery was released on bail.  On May 10, 2010, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson signed the order for Emery to surrender to authorities, which he did that same day. On May 20, 2010, Emery was extradited to the United States, pleading guilty on May 24 to one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana. On September 10, 2010, Emery was sentenced to 5 years in prison minus time served. While at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, Washington Emery was locked in a Segregated Housing Unit (SHU) for three weeks as a result of allowing his wife to record a message from him over the phone.

On June 30, 2014, Emery announced his pending release in a blog post on the Cannabis Culture website. On July 9, 2014, he was released, having served just over four years of his five-year sentence having earned 235 days of good conduct credit.

Project Gator

Marc and Jodie Emery were again arrested at Toronto Pearson International Airport on March 8, 2017. He faced 15 charges, including conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of proceeds of crime. Jodie Emery faced five similar counts. On March 9, 2017, search warrants were given in Toronto, Hamilton, and Vancouver as part of “Project Gator” a Toronto Police Service project that targeted marijuana dispensaries. This was in reaction to Acting Inspector Steve Watts allegations of Cannabis Culture having ties to organized crime. Five dispensaries in Toronto, one in Hamilton, one in Vancouver, and another in Ottawa were raided and shut down.

Police seized $250,000 in cash in several different currencies. The police also searched two homes in Toronto, one in Stoney Creek, Ontario, and one in Vancouver that all had ties to Emery’s Cannabis Culture franchise.  Some of the dispensaries reopened the next day.  On March 10, Marc and Jodie were granted bail, with conditions limiting or banning their access to marijuana and Cannabis Culture franchises.

After a guilty plea, the couple was convicted of drug-related charges on December 18, 2017, fined and placed on two years probation. Three other individuals were also convicted of drug-related charges. The couple had claimed that the operation of pot shops was a form of civil disobedience, but Justice Leslie Chapin ruled as follows: “No doubt there were pro-social motivations that were behind the actions, but at the same time, I have to recognize that much profit was made”


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