At 3pm on July 10, Marc Emery was released from custody in Winnipeg, Manitoba, after being held for almost 24 hours after being arrested for possession of about a half gram of marijuana.
Emery had been arrested during a smoke-in at the Winnipeg police headquarters, the first stop on his “Summer of Legalization Tour” which included planned smoke-ins a 16 police stations across Canada.
In a posting to the Cannabis Culture forums made shortly after his release, Emery explained what had occured to him.
“I appeared before a magistrate this morning, who allowed my release on $500 bail and the condition that I not break any laws, not cause a public disturbance, and remain of good character.
“I explained that ‘I would be duty bound to lead my people in demonstrations’ and the judge asked, ‘Who are your people?’ I said ‘The oppressed marijuana people.’ He said ‘If you break the law you will be brought back here.'”
Emery’s next smoke-in had been scheduled for Dauphin, Manitoba on July 10, but due to his incarceration Emery wasn’t able to make it. “I spoke by phone an hour after my release, to a rally of over 200 people assembled to meet me at the Dauphin police HQ,” said Emery. “I was hooked up by telephone to PA system. I thanked them for their support and told them about prison life for half a gram. I told them ‘never believe it when politicians tell you no one goes to jail for small amounts of marijuana.'”
“I was searched 5 times,” explained Marc. “Strip searched (spread your cheeks and cough!). There was no veggie food so I ate nothing in the 23 hours there. The water tastes weird. Everything is concrete and steel, so there isn’t a comfortable position possible.”
Emery has been in jail for his pot activism many times before. “This is my 11th arrest for pot, the 9th jailing, so it’s all pretty familiar,” explained Emery. “Short timers get top bunk where the light is always on all night, so I couldn’t sleep, of course, plus it’s as uncomfortable as all get out.”
Emery was pleased to have gotten some media attention from his ordeal. “This morning they delivered newspapers where I am the entire front page of the Winnipeg Sun and much of the front page of the Winnipeg Free Press. Great articles, facts are right, photos huge and the Canucks bong shows up great.”
Emery’s treasured “Canucks Bong” was a special item which he had brought with on his tour. “The police, alas, have the Canucks bong as evidence,” complained Emery.
Luckily Emery was recognized by his cellmates. “I signed autographs for fellow inmates,” said Emery, “most of whom in my “pod” are there for drugs, including pot possession for sale, cultivation, but cocaine and heroin sellers too. Many native people are there. All of the inmates treated me very well, and the guards are all polite (one asked me about my sketch with the Trailer Park Boys) but they cut you no slack because you are well known. I have no complaints about the police behaviour.”
Despite his arrest and detention, Emery vowed to continue his cross-country tour and push the situation forward.
“I have these onerous conditions of bail,” explained Emery, “so any future civil disobediance can get me in the jail until my charge is dealt with. I don’t mind jail for a day, two days or seven days, but the court basically threatened to put in back in for 10 weeks until my set-trial date of September 27. Yet the tour continues!”
Emery announced that he would be in Regina, Saskatchewan on Saturday, June 12, for the scheduled 4:20 police station smoke-in. “I am not sure what my strategy will be,” said Emery honestly, “but I want to talk to the people who come to see me, tell them to run for the Marijuana Party in the federal election, tell them that people do go to jail for a fraction of a joint (even when ‘marijuana is legal!’) and continue the fight.”
Looking back at his recent time in jail, and the challenges that will be facing him over the coming weeks, Emery expressed concerns. “In truth, I am a little afraid for my future, but I guess that is normal. I will end up needing more bail money, lawyer money, patience, forebearance. It’s lonely in jail and I may well end up in many more for longer times, but what is life if not struggle for the greater glory of individual choice, freedom, autonomy, dignity: to be human and free!”
Media reports on the Winnipeg protest and Emery’s arrest:
Cannabis Culture archive articles on the “Summer of Legalization” tour:
– Marc Emery arrested in Winnipeg: www.cannabisculture.com/articles/3021.html
– Marc Emery announces his cross-country tour: www.cannabisculture.com/articles/3019.html
– Marc Emery announces his cross-country protest plans on Pot-TV: www.pot-tv.net/archive/shows/pottvshowse-2030.html
You can also discuss Emery’s tour and get updates in the CC Forums.
– Contact Marc Emery: [email protected]
– To contact Marc Emery by telephone, call the BC Marijuana Party office, at 604-684-7076.
WINNIPEG – JULY 9
DAUPHIN – JULY 10
REGINA – JULY 12
HALIFAX – JULY 19
MONCTON – JULY 21
CHARLOTTETOWN – JULY 23
ST. JOHN’S NFLD – JULY 26
CALGARY – AUG 9
EDMONTON – AUG 10
SASKATOON – AUG 11
PRINCE GEORGE, BC – AUG 12
KINGSTON – AUG 25
LONDON – AUG 26
HAMILTON – AUG 27
SUDBURY – AUG 28
WINDSOR – AUG 30