All charges against Cannabis Culture publisher Marc Emery have been dropped in connection with his Summer of Legalization Smoke-Out Tour, which saw him smoking joints in front of police stations across the nation in 2003.
Charges were dropped because of the Hitzig case, heard in the Ontario Court of Appeal this Summer, in which the court declared a pot possession amnesty between July 31, 2001 and October 7, 2003.
“The letters from the prosecutor are funny.” chuckled Emery. “They say that ‘even though we have adequate evidence, in view of Hitzig we have decided not to pursue charges. But be forewarned that if you return you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.’ They won’t even admit that there were no marijuana laws for 26 months and they had no right to charge me in the first place. Getting an apology out of the government or the police department is like extracting teeth without an anesthetic. There’s no expectation of justice or fair play.”
The fact that charges were dropped across the country shows that the Hitzig decision applies countrywide. Anyone facing charges for possession incurred during the amnesty should apply to have their charges dropped.
As a consequence of having his charges dropped, Emery has canceled plans for speaking engagements at the various cities he smoked out last summer. Instead, he’s scheduling appearances at colleges and universities across Canada, drumming up support for the NDP in the upcoming Canadian federal election. The NDP have promised a strong pro-legalization platform. Student unions and organizers are encouraged to contact Emery to help advertise and promote events.
In the US, Emery favours Dennis Kucinich, midwestern congressman and US presidential hopeful. Kucinich has a strong anti-drug war stance, and is popular among grassroots organizers. Emery helped draft an ad asking people to vote for Kucinich that will appear in a New Hampshire publication on Tuesday.
In Canada, Emery is promoting pot for prosperity. With an ad in Fast Forward, he hopes to convince Alberta cattle ranchers whose livelihoods were devastated by mad cow disease to grow marijuana and save the family farm.
“I will give them a free grow session, nutrients, seeds, lights, soil, growing manual, everything they need to get 2500 dollars worth of weed a month and every month thereafter,” he promised. “Farmers that like it can buy more equipment and save their ranches. If they have a confrontation with police, it won’t be as onerous as losing the family farm because the risk from criminal law is less than the risk and humiliation from losing everything they have to the bank.”
As if his philanthropic plate couldn’t get full enough, Emery is also sponsoring the nation’s largest-ever pro-legalization demonstration at Parliament Hill, called “Fill the Hill” (www.fillthehill.ca) on June 5, 2004. He encourages all pot patriots and every Canadian who loves freedom to attend. So far, says Emery, buses have been organized from Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick. Be there!