Montreal Gazette, Canada
An Internet company that sold marijuana seeds has gone over like a lead zeppelin with the RCMP.
Although Montreal-based Heaven's Stairway has operated brazenly on the Internet since 1998 and is listed on Quebec's business registry, the RCMP announced yesterday they have shut down its operations, located in the basement of a duplex on Marsan St. in Cartierville.
The RCMP described the large-scale bust as the first of its kind in Canada.
The company's owner, Richard Baghdadlian, 38, and six other people have been charged with importing and trafficking in marijuana and conspiracy to do the same.
The RCMP raids and arrests come months after the United States had British Columbia resident Marc Emery arrested on an extradition request. Emery is charged in the U.S. with conspiring to distribute marijuana seeds and launder money.
Reached by phone yesterday, Emery said he was aware of the Heaven's Stairway case. He said he considers his case different because the Montreal company was also giving advice on how to run marijuana grow operations. By comparison, Emery has been very public while pushing for the regulated and licensed sale of marijuana.
"The irony is, if I'm sent to the U.S. and convicted, I'm going to be sent to prison for 30 years for something that is a political issue," Emery said.
"If (Baghdadlian and the co-accused) are convicted here in Canada, they'll do something like six months."