In a defiant move designed to speed up the legalization of marijuana, eight stores that sell marijuana are opening in Montreal Thursday.

Two more are planned to open by the end of the month.

Well-known marijuana activist and businessman Marc Emery is promoting the stores that are part of the Cannabis Culture franchise.

His wife and the Cannabis Culture CEO, Jodie Emery, said most of the stores are independently owned.

The shops opening Thursday are located at:

  • 1863 Amherst St.
  • 1412 Pie-IX Blvd.
  • 8870 St-Michel Blvd.
  • 7130 St-Laurent Blvd.
  • 2200 Mont-Royal Ave. E
  • 3804 Saint Laurent Blvd.
  • 1431B Bishop St.
  • 4961 Queen Mary Rd.

They will sell pot for recreational use to anyone 19 years old and over.

The Cannabis Culture website acknowledges that the production, sale and possession of cannabis remains illegal, but sees this as a form of peaceful disobedience.

“Peaceful civil disobedience has been the most effective way of changing marijuana laws in Canada,” Cannabis Culture CEO Jodie Emery said in a news release on the website. “So we are continuing that approach with our expansion into cannabis retail storefronts. Montreal has a great opportunity to embrace this progressive business model and work on regulating cannabis storefronts in a fair, inclusive, and sensible way.”

Montreal police were sent a note Wednesday evening reminding officers that their role is to enforce existing laws that permit sales of pot for medical use only.

A police spokesperson said officers will wait to get their cue from governments.

Emery plans a news conference Thursday morning from one of his newly opened stores.

This week a federal task force delivered its recommendations on how to legalize marijuana, along with a hefty list of restrictions.

The federal government has promised to introduce legislation to legalize recreational marijuana use next spring.