If the man is good at one thing beyond ripping bongs it’s getting media attention, but the variety he grew accustomed to over the years (framing him as the heroic “Prince of Pot”) has shifted as of late. He’s now being asked to answer some difficult questions about his own alleged conduct.
As Emery is dragged kicking and screaming out of the limelight and more well-respected activists and actual experts’ voices fill the vacuum, he’s been using social media to do a couple of things.
First, to blame one of the women who came forward with her story, Deidre Olsen, for his troubles.
Second, to address a number of questions he was apparently sent by a reporter at Vice, in a public post on Facebook.
Below are the 20 questions and Emery’s answers that he shared. They’re a look behind the curtain of the news that you don’t often see; completely unfiltered and unchallenged. After you read them we strongly urge you to read Inside Marc Emery’s Creepy Cannabis Empire, published by Vice, offering much more context and sides of the story. It came out right before he decided to publish his answers to the questions they sent him for it.
A warning before you read further: none of this stuff is suitable for kids to read, and may trigger people who have been victims of sexual harassment, misconduct or assault.
VICE: How do you respond to allegations that you created a toxic work environment at cannabis culture?
EMERY: This is not the reality that I experienced, and no concerns were brought to my attention. Dozens of people of all ages and backgrounds wanted to work for CC at any given time, and we were always swamped with job applications. Cannabis Culture, when I ran it, was the embodiment of my personality as well as my political objectives. I would say that if any concerns of any nature were brought to me, I’m a good listener and would address those concerns. I wanted a happy work environment and happy consumer experience, which is how most people perceived their time at Cannabis Culture when I ran it.
VICE: Did you discuss your sex life with staff members during work hours?
EMERY: Possibly. And they discussed their sex lives with me, if it came up. Is there a work environment where employees who are also friends don’t discuss their private lives with their co-workers? Spending 40 hours a week with co-workers makes for a familiar environment. Additionally, we were not just an ordinary retail store and lounge, it was a dynamic environment where controversial subjects of politics, drug laws, drugs, sex, and so much more was discussed by hundreds of people entering the building daily.
VICE: What was the youngest age of your employees that you can recall?
EMERY: No one was permitted to work in the lounge or store until they were 18. Mel Adams worked in the convenience store for two months while she was 17, and she worked 6 months at age 18. I’m unaware of anyone else who ever worked for me under 18 years of age. All employees paid income taxes and Revenue Canada deductions.
VICE: Did you ever provide staff, including underage teenagers, with MDMA, DMT, acid, 2CB or ketamine?
EMERY: No one under 18 received any psychotropic or psychedelic drug from me or in my presence. We had community parties with friends and fellow activists where adults took fascinating and incredible substances, safely. Some of my adult staff were invited, of course, and they were eager to be part of the experience.
VICE: Several former employees say that at one particular party you handed out ketamine instead of MDMA, is that true?
EMERY: In 2008, our supplier made a mistake with some of the doses. That was an evening that wasn’t the fun we hoped it would be, as people loved our parties. But by the end of the evening, everyone was fine and in good health and went home without any negative repercussions. We were all friends, and looked after each other. But as our supplier was no longer trustworthy, we did not have any parties involving psychotropic substances after that one.
VICE: Did you encourage staff to participate in “lotion parties” at CC, where female staff in particular were encouraged by you to massage each other with lotion, including while they while high on MDMA?
EMERY: This never happened. I have never heard of a “lotion party”, nor did I even know what that would be. The descriptions made about these alleged parties do not match the actual work space environment I was part of. If Mel Adams ever participated in anything like this, it was not at Cannabis Culture and certainly not in my presence.
VICE: Did you buy Melinda Adams a bus ticket from Toronto to Vancouver when she was 17 and allow her to live with you and Jodie Emery in 2008 while she worked for you? Did you walk around your home naked in her presence?
EMERY: I bought Mel a bus fare to Vancouver after her mother introduced Mel to me and stated Mel was homeless. Mel’s mother was in crisis and couldn’t look after her. Mel was supposed to stay two weeks in our apartment, but stayed two months. I never entered Mel’s space but maybe she saw me naked. I was never aware of it. She never said anything nor did I ever see her while I was naked.
VICE: Did you tell a female employee you wanted to have sex with her, humiliate her, urinate on her and debase her before you went to prison—in front of other staff?
EMERY: No, of course not.
VICE: Did you tell female employees in their 20s you would fire and replace them with “younger, hotter” girls?
EMERY: No. I loved working with all my coworkers, and we hired people all ages, orientations, and ethnic backgrounds. Hotness had nothing to do with any hire. We hired friendly and, most importantly, cannabis-knowledgeable people who loved working in retail. And I rarely dismissed anyone unless they failed in their employment duties.
VICE: Did you rub and touch employees without explicit consent from them, including back and shoulder massages or smacking their butts?
EMERY: I never smacked the butt of any employee. That would be weird and make them uncomfortable. I prided myself on a fun, relaxed and productive environment. There was one employee who had scoliosis and was in constant pain, and with her explicit encouragement I rubbed her back to help.
VICE: Did you comment on employees’ appearances, including remarks about how their breasts looked in certain clothing?
EMERY: I told some women they looked beautiful, but I didn’t mean to make anyone uncomfortable. If I did make an inappropriate remark or make anyone uncomfortable, I apologize.
VICE: Did you have workers and visitors, including teenagers, smoke weed from a bong placed near your crotch?
EMERY: The bong was several feet long, not near my crotch at all. Thousands of people hit that bong, as documented in many photos and videos.
VICE: Did you meet girls/young women at rallies and offer them jobs or bus/plane tickets to come to Vancouver?
EMERY: I met Mel Adams at a rally when her mother introduced me to her. Otherwise, no.
VICE: Did you have sex or oral sex with women in the basement bathroom at CC during work hours?
EMERY: No. Nothing like this ever happened.
VICE: Did you fly women you interacted with on CC forums out to Vancouver for sex?
EMERY: I made several friends on the forums while I was single, and some of them came to Vancouver to visit me. Anyone who came was in their 20’s and 30’s and never expressed any disappointment with their interactions with me.
VICE: Did you ever verbally abuse any of your employees?
EMERY: No. It is not verbal abuse to correct or reprimand employees for failures to execute their job.
VICE: Sexual misconduct allegations: One woman said you took her to a hotel room after a rally on Parliament Hill in Sept 2003 and after she fell asleep, you began violently masturbating in bed next to her – is this true?
EMERY: Absolutely not true.
VICE: A woman says you flew her out to Vancouver in January 2004 and put her up in a hotel, where you got her high and licked and pawed at her – is this true?
EMERY: Anyone who came to see me stayed with me in my apartment. This is not true.
VICE: That same woman says you became angry after she didn’t have sex with you and berated her in a restaurant, saying that her only value was her virginity and she had lost that because she had been sexually assaulted. Is that true?
EMERY: This is not true. I would never be so rude with a woman who had been traumatized in her life.
VICE: Are you attracted to teenage girls?
EMERY: I am attracted to mature women, and a few men too. But the youngest woman I’ve slept with is Jodie Emery, at 19, whom I married in 2006 when she was 21. We separated on good terms in the last year. Marrying Jodie was the best decision I ever made, and I’m very sad to see people attacking her life’s work in their efforts to condemn me.
Again, please read Vice’s Inside Marc Emery’s Creepy Cannabis Empire to see more sides of the story.