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Canada: 'Prince of Pot' Marc Emery denies allegations of grooming, inappropriate sexual behaviour
Thursday 17 Jan 2019
In an 1,800-word post published on Facebook just after midnight, Emery denied several allegations that Toronto journalist Deidre Olsen posted on Twitter on Wednesday night that accused him of grooming and exploiting young women from vulnerable backgrounds who worked at Cannabis Culture, the pot shop he created in the 1990s, and of acting inappropriately towards herself when she was a teen in 2008 considering a job with the store.
Emery says he believes he has never harmed anyone.
Statement by Marc Emery on allegations of inappropriate behaviour:
“It is my sincere belief that I have never harmed anyone, or sexually aggressed anyone, in my life,” Emery wrote.
“I’ve never had sex with anyone under 19 ever, so this idea that I’m grooming young women is not true. Deidre and I had a pleasant correspondence when she was 17, nearly 18, as she wanted to work for Cannabis Culture. I never asked her for sex and offered to talk to her parents if she wanted to work at CC. I don’t know what grooming was going on.”
In her Twitter thread outlining the allegations, Olsen highlighted both what she said are her own experiences with Emery as well as those of other women who have worked for or with him over recent years, including both links and screenshots to similar posts online.
“You’d have to put up with his unwanted sexual harassment and advances to stay in his good favour. He’d tell long stories of his sexual exploits in other countries where the laws are more relaxed for older men to engage in sexual activities with underage girls,” she alleged.
“He’d speak of the sex he’d have with his wife, staff members and other women and as other men stood idly by, allowing it to happen, you’d be expected to play along for fear of losing your job and slipping back into poverty.”
Beyond the allegation of grooming, Olsen also said that Emery created a “toxic work environment” that included “unwanted sexual advances,” “inappropriate back rubs and long hugs,” and frequent stories of his sexual activities with young girls in other countries.
“You told me about your genitalia and sex life over Facebook Messenger. You had me sit on your lap and smoke from the bong placed between your legs when I met you in person the first time,” she wrote, noting her mother’s concerns about Emery stopped her from taking a job at Cannabis Culture.
“I escaped the worst.”
Olsen, who was 17 at the time, described meeting Emery in 2008 at the BCMP Vapor Lounge in downtown Vancouver.
“I went into his office in the back. We were joking and chatting,” she told Global News. “He had me sit on his lap and smoke a bong toke out of his six-foot phallic bong between his legs.”
Olsen said she was also offered a hit from his pipe which he had named after his genitalia and was given two additional joints. She also claims that in private Facebook messages he told her sexually explicit things about his genitalia and described his sex life in detail to her.
“I was a teenager. I was very naïve that it was inappropriate,” she said. “I was put off and a little bit creeped out. But I thought that’s just what men acted like.”
Olsen claims that Emery knowingly used his power as Canada’s most renowned pot activist to recruit, harass, and sexually assault “young, vulnerable women.”
“He created an environment in which they feared for their livelihood so they were too scared to speak up,” she said.
Emery also addressed the broader allegations in his statement, denying supplying anyone with drugs other than smoking marijuana with them.
He said he has had sex with three employees, two of whom he married and one whom he says was in her 20s.
“I do write provocative things. I do talk about sex and in the old days 15 years ago I used to write about sex, but I have never ever had sex with anyone under 19,” he said. “So yes, I don’t always get it right. I’ve had over 400 employees from 1975 to 2009, so I’d like to think I’ve been a very good employer who paid well and showed he genuinely cared about each one. Just very vocal. Sometimes inadvisedly so, as I said.”
“I am a touchy guy probably,” he continued. “But I would like to think that it was modest non sexual touching always.”
Emery is not facing any criminal charges related to the allegations and none of the allegations against him have been proven in court.
Global News reached out to him asking to discuss the matter but has not received a response.
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