The words “cannabis” and “culture” are both exactly the same in French so it is unlikely that Cannabis Culture will run afoul of Quebec’s notorious language cops when they expand their dispensary empire into la belle province tomorrow.
Nobody knows how the regular police will respond.
“Cannabis Culture will be making its presence felt as of Thursday in Montreal,” said Pot TV’s Craig Ex over the phone on Monday, confirming a rumour that had been swirling in cannabis circles for weeks. “Canadians out there are voting with their feet. They like the street-level dispensary model and we feel that ours is what true legalization looks like. Which is why we plan to increase our presence in eastern Canada.”
As of Dec. 15, recreational cannabis users in the country’s second-largest city will be able to visit eight new dispensary locations in different neighbourhoods, including Mile End, Outremont and the Plateau, as well as off the island in Terrebonne.
Cannabis Culture, which operates dispensaries in 12 spots across B.C. and Ontario, plan to sell cannabis products to anyone over the age of 19 (the legal drinking age in Quebec is 18) and require a photo ID. Customers won’t require a membership or a medical note, which means that under current federal law they operate illegally despite upcoming changes for the laws. The federal task force announced its recommendations on how best to move forward with the legalization of recreational use earlier this week but until now police are still required to follow existing laws. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently said he wants police to continue to enforce the law and criminally charge operators of cannabis dispensaries.
“All adults should have access to cannabis in an open manner,” said Jodie Emery, who co-owns Cannabis Culture with her husband Marc. “We’ve always pushed the boundaries, we use civil disobedience.”
The Montreal locations will be operated by a franchisee with products supplied by growers in B.C. as well as local producers.
While largely left alone at their Vancouver headquarters, Cannabis Culture outlets have had recent run-ins with Ontario police.
Staff members have been charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime.