Marc Emery, Vancouver’s self-styled Prince of Pot, married his long-time assistant at Cannabis Culture Magazine Sunday under a tent in Queen Elizabeth Park’s rose garden. In a traditional ceremony rather than the expected counterculture blow-out, the 48-year-old Emery wed Jodie Joanna Giesz-Ramsay, 21, quietly and with reverence. A harpist played airs in the sunshine as they tied the knot in a landscape blurred only by clouds of cannabis and iridescent soap bubbles. The couple and their friends celebrated at a reception afterwards at Heritage Hall on Main Street.
Emery, with a yellow rose in his lapel, said he was overjoyed at the union that was witnessed by about 50 people. The nuptials followed a surprise and welcome Supreme Court of Canada ruling Friday considered a splendid omen for the so-called Vancouver Three — Emery and two of his employees charged with drug and money-laundering offences in the U.S. and currently fighting extradition.
The country’s highest bench has made it more difficult to remove from Canada accused individuals such as Emery without real proof that they are guilty of the offences charged. In a unanimous decision written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, the court said judges must weigh the prosecution’s case and decide whether it could result in a guilty verdict in Canada.
That could prove problematic in Emery’s case because authorities here have decided against indicting him for selling marijuana seeds — the source of the alleged U.S. drug offence and the activity that produced the money at the heart of the laundering charge. Defence lawyers were hailing the judgment as a sea change.
McLachlin says before judges hand anyone over to a requesting state, they must be sure the evidence could potentially result in a guilty verdict in Canada. That raises the bar significantly because until now, a judge’s hands have been essentially tied. If a requesting state showed up in a Canadian court and said it believed it possessed enough evidence to convict, that was good enough for us. Now, judges can delve into the evidence and those fighting extradition have been given a whole new fertile field in which to sow seeds of doubt.
“I’m really optimistic,” Emery told me. “What I wanted has come to pass. I’m finally going to get a chance to test Uncle Sam’s case. They’re talking about keeping me in jail for 35 years. The court is saying no judge should be a rubber stamp for that process. They must consider the evidence and I think when they look at my case they’ll realize, wait a minute, no one has prosecuted him in Canada because they don’t believe they have any chance at success.”
In his case, given the controversial nature of the marijuana laws, the rulings are a boon because they provide more scope for the defence. The high court’s ruling elated Michelle Rainey, Emery’s right-hand woman and co-accused, who had just returned from an ideas conference with former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler hosted by media guru Moses Znaimer. “I’m still pinching myself,” she said. “I think it gives us real hope.” The best wedding present yet, she said, about the rulings.
By the way, I asked cheekily, where are the bride and groom registered? “Registered?” she howled. “Don’t give him anything but cash or pot. . . . They’ve got everything — appliances, kitchen stuff. Trust me, pot or money.”
Oh, and if you can arrange it, an acquittal, she added. No kidding.
? Article from The Vancouver Sun, July 24th 2006
? For more news stories about the marriage see this thread in the CC Forums
? For photos of the wedding see this thread in the CC Forums (updates added daily)