A London Police raid on a local marijuana dispensary couldn’t shut down Tasty Budd’s forever.
The shop, skirting federal rules over selling marijuana, reopened Thursday after promises from the head of its east coast operations that it would be back in business.
Marijuana royalty stopped by Friday to wish the owners luck and talk about the battle that lies ahead for them.
“Prince of Pot” Marc Emery visited the store, and told AM980 the conversation was like a pep talk.
“I told them that you need to be courageous, that you need to be daring, and you can’t give up,” he said. “If you’re afraid of going to jail, you shouldn’t be in this business.”
“(I was) telling them to keep it up, what to expect if you go to jail, what prison is like. I’ve been in 34 different prisons and jails in two countries for pot, I’ve been arrested in nine out of ten provinces. I told them that you need to be courageous, you need to be daring, and that you can’t give up.”
Emery is the co-owner of Cannabis Culture, a chain of dispensaries, lounges, and head shops that have been raided and their employees have gone to jail.
— Chris Goodwin (@ChrisGoodwin79) August 26, 2016
Tasty Budd’s owner Mal McMeekin has said they would help the two men charged with trafficking and drug possession in last week’s raid.
Meanwhile, Tasty Budd’s spokesperson in London Jordan Johnson said Emery’s visit was a surprise but welcome.
“Just to see Marc Emery in the building was amazing and completely re-energizing to see that people across Canada are seeing this fight and that we’re not just standing alone, that they’re standing behind us.”
Johnson said with recent “incidents” they’re trying to operate peacefully within the community, and that includes building relationships, especially with London Police.
The shop has covered up the words “marijuana dispensary” on its storefront sign and installed frosted glass that reads “Compassion Club Members Only” in an attempt to lower its profile.
He added that police stopped by to discuss the business after they reopened.
“I think that was very positive. It is an open door policy for the police and we respect the police very much and the jobs they do, and we want to be able to work with them if we ever have problems, we want to be able to rely on the police as well.”
Since reopening, Johnson said they have covered up the words “marijuana dispensary” on their storefront sign and installed frosted glass that reads “Compassion Club Members Only.” They’ve also gotten rid of some of the edibles that were offered at the shop.
London’s chief bylaw enforcement officer neither confirmed nor denied that they were investigating Tasty Budd’s over concerns that they were selling food without a licence.
“They want to make sure that everyone is getting medication that is clean and not contaminated by anything expiring,” said Johnson. “That’s completely understandable. We don’t use eggs or anything like that, but as it is currently, we have, at this facility, removed some of the edibles.”
Health Canada has recently made changes to medicinal marijuana regulations, allowing Canadians who have been authorized by their health care practitioner to register to grow their own marijuana or designate someone to produce it for them.
Under federal regulations, stores like Tasty Budd’s are not legally authorized to sell cannabis in Canada for medical or other purposes despite the changes.