Police have raided the Hemp BC store in Vancouver, British Columbia, and are charging the store’s owner, vocal hemp activist Marc Emery, and three employees with selling marijuana seeds. Emery had been selling marijuana seeds, along with hemp products and literature, from his retail store for the last 19 months in open defiance of the law.
Emery was recently featured in a front page article of the Wall Street Journal where he boasted to have sold “130,000 seeds” this year alone.
The raid took place at approximately 1 p.m. and law enforcement officials seized seeds and drug paraphernalia such as pipes, bongs, and mushroom grow kits. A large Budget Rent-a-truck was parked outside to help the police move Hemp BC’s wide assortment of products. Emery and three employees were taken away in handcuffs and all four activists are being charged with trafficking marijuana seeds and selling instruments and paraphernalia for illicit drug use. If found guilty of both charges, all four could face each life imprisonment and fines of $100,000.
Police Constable Anne Drennan states that the Hemp BC bust is the first time in Vancouver history that trafficking charges have been filed against individuals for selling marijuana seeds. Drennan further added that she expects Emery — a self-proclaimed libertarian who has previously served time in jail for opening his bookstore on Sunday in disobedience of Ontario’s blue laws — to conduct a very public court challenge.
Both Emery and the three Hemp BC employees were released Friday on their own recognizance. A preliminary hearing has been set for February 8, 1996.
Dana Larsen, editor of the magazine Cannabis Canada, reports that the Hemp BC retail storefront continues to remain open for business in spite of last Thursday’s raid. “We will be selling pipes, bongs, and seeds as per usual, although we might be understocked for a day or two,” he says.
For more information on Hemp BC or Marc Emery’s arrest, please contact Hemp BC at (800) 330-HEMP.