Vancouver Cannabis Event Drops Marc Emery Over Misconduct Allegations
Cannabis activists Jodie and Marc Emery. Photo by Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press
Marc Emery is being shunned from cannabis events in North and South America in the wake of media reports, including a VICE News investigation, that allege he engaged in sexual misconduct and inappropriate behaviour, according to former employees and supporters.
On Wednesday, a social media representative for the Legalized Summit in Vancouver tweeted that Emery and his wife Jodie had been “removed” from the event scheduled for May, “due to serious allegations of inappropriate sexual advances & sharing class A narcotics with minors.”
In a phone interview with VICE on Wednesday, Harman Kang, Legalized Events’ chief operating officer and founder, says that Marc was up for a lifetime achievement award at the event, and Jodie was scheduled as a keynote speaker. He said the decision to remove them from the roster was due to various media reports and posts on Twitter.
“We can’t be associating our brand with those kind of allegations,” says Kang. “No way I would want to have him be put up for a lifetime achievement award.” Kang added that he also heard concerns about the duo’s participation in the event from some of the sponsors.
Neither Marc nor Jodie Emery immediately replied to requests for comment from VICE on Wednesday.
Kang said that both Marc and Jodie were informed of their removal from the event through voicemails. He says he hadn’t heard back from either one of them.
“We had to separate ourselves and our brand from the Emerys because it far overshadows what they have done in advocating for cannabis legalization … there’s nothing but negative press rather than them trying to help shape the future of legalization,” Kang says.
In a tweet late Wednesday evening, Jodie Emery stated that she was notified of her removal from the event via email from an organizer, not a voicemail.
Similar concerns over Marc Emery's alleged behaviour appear to be shared by cannabis leaders in Argentina, where Emery is currently located.
Emery had been slated to speak on a panel next week in Argentina by the Cannabis Confederation entitled “Cannabis and its uses, regulation and activism.”
But he was disinvited this week.
“We join the claim of many speakers at the '1st International Cannabis Seminar,'” Pablo Ferreyra, a speaker on the panel, tweeted. “Serious accusations of sexual harassment weigh heavily on the pro-cannabis speaker Marc Emery. As defenders of individual rights and liberties we accompany the feminist movement.”
A previous version of the poster advertising the event featured an image of Marc Emery as the first speaker, along with other speakers.
Gabriela Cerruti, an Argentinian politician who had pulled out of the panel over Emery’s presence, tweeted on Wednesday that she was back in, alongside a poster that had removed Emery’s image, as well as that of another speaker.
“We thank the organizers who have decided to echo the allegations of sexual harassment that weigh against Marc Emery @MarcScottEmery and he is no longer part of the panel,” she tweeted. “See you on Monday to continue discussing the decriminalization of cannabis!”
Earlier, on Tuesday, she had tweeted: “Although we consider that these spaces of debate and reflection on cannabis uses are essential, in these times of feminist power we believe that the right decision is to act prudently and not participate in this panel until the situation is clarified.”
VICE published an investigation on Tuesday based on interviews with seven former employees who worked at Emery’s Cannabis Culture business in Vancouver who allege he created a hypersexualized working environment where he would touch them without their consent, openly talk about his sex life, and sometimes provide drugs to teenage girls at parties.
Although VICE made repeated attempts to reach Emery and his wife Jodie for comment prior to publication—including sending them a detailed list of questions—Emery posted a response to the story on Tuesday evening in which he denied certain claims, and provided corroboration for others.
This story has been updated to include a Tweet from Jodie Emery.