TORONTO — Marc Emery has been removed as a top speaker at an Argentina cannabis event following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct in Canada and subsequent backlash from well-known Argentinian journalists and politicians.
Emery will also no longer be considered for a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Legalized Summit to be hosted in Vancouver in May, an organizer confirmed. Emery's ex-wife Jodie has also been removed as a keynote speaker.
Emery has not responded to a request for comment.
Most recently, HuffPost Canada reported Emery, Canada's so called "Prince of Pot," gave LSD and ecstacy to underage girls a decade ago while he was working at the Cannabis Culture stores he founded in Vancouver, according to former employees. Emery has denied this claim.
Other media has reported similar allegations.
These reports made their way to Argentina earlier this week, and other cannabis legalization advocates slated to speak alongside Emery at the first International Cannabis Seminar Feb. 4 pulled out, including congress member Gabriela Cerruti, author and journalist Fero Soriano, and former legislator and anti-police violence advocate Pablo Ferreyra.
"Serious accusations of sexual harassment weigh heavily," Ferreyra told HuffPost Canada in a message. "The struggle for the decriminalization of drugs is incompatible with people who represent patriarchal schemes of subjection of women. The cannabis militants seek the equality, request and freedom that the feminist movement pursues."
Soriano tweeted, originally in Spanish, on Tuesday that "I always believe women, and I hope the justice system of your country investigates. I believe that the cannabis movement fights for sovereignty over our bodies, and for individual liberties and it would be an unforgivable contradiction to share a table with him."
Organizers removed Emery from the event and disinvited him to the party afterwards, Ferreyra said. After that most of the speakers agreed to rejoin.
"We thank the organizers who have decided to echo the complaints of sexual harassment that weigh on Marc Emery," tweeted Cerruti in Spanish on Wednesday.
Watch marches in Peru and Argentina demand new cannabis laws. Story continues below
Legalized's co-founder and COO Harman Kang said organizers hesitated about involving Emery in their event in November, when he made transphobic comments on social media. However, he retracted the comments and issued a public apology so the organization "chalked it up to a mistake and watched the situation closely."
"The final decision was made directly related to the sexual misconduct allegations and supplying minors with class A narcotics like LSD," Kang said. "Our decision was influenced solely on the gravity of the serious allegations looming over Marc."
Jodie was removed as a speaker because Legalized believes some of the allegations happened when she was "at the helm" of Cannabis Culture, Kang said.
"It is unfortunate because the Jodie we know seems to be friendly and passionate about the cannabis community; however, we feel the need to remove ourselves from the Emerys completely. We wish Jodie the best in the future and are sympathetic to what she is dealing with as a result of her association to Marc."
"(Legalized) used me for their financial benefit," Jodie Emery wrote in an email to HuffPost Canada Thursday. "And now they have caused me to suffer brand and reputation damage, and losses, due to these false allegations that aren't even related to me.
Throughout January, Emery appears to have been visiting South America, according to his Twitter.
Emery is known there for his marijuana legalization work, and the international "Free Marc" campaign launched around 2010 while he served prison time in the United States for drug-related charges, said Fernando Saicha, a cannabis activist in Argentina and producer in Uruguay.
In a Facebook post Wednesday, in response to questions from Vice Canada about sexual misconduct allegations, Emery defended himself.
"I would like to think my actions, so very obvious and in the open, are always clear," Emery wrote. "I've taken care of every employee and every woman I've ever known, of every age, in an admirable and honourable way. I do say outrageous things but it is my sincere belief that I have never harmed anyone, or sexually aggressed anyone, in my life."
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