Marc Emery on Bill C-15 and Mandatory Minimums

CANNABIS CULTURE – Marijuana activist Marc Emery thinks new drug legislation supported by Conservatives and Liberals will mean more Canadians in jail for non-violent crimes.

Marc, who is facing extradition to the US for selling seeds on the Internet (also the publisher of Cannabis Culture), sat down for a quick interview with CC about C-15, the bill to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

CC: Bill C-15 passed the house yesterday with Liberal and Conservative support and just needs to pass the senate to be put into law. If it is put into law, what does this mean for Canadians?

Marc Emery: We’re going to see thousands of young people arrested if the bill gets Royal Ascent.

It will mean is that mid and upper-level traffickers will get no particular increase in punishment, because a major dealer would already get six months or a year for any kind of trafficking. What we’re going to see is people who wouldn’t normally go to jail, they’re going to be the people affected. Largely young people in schoolyards – because if you are dealing around a school, it’s an enhanced penalty. If you’re dealing around where young people frequent, that could be anywhere from parks to clubs or anywhere kids go. The enhanced penalties of six months, a year, two years, are going to affect, almost exclusively, people under the age of twenty-five.

A lot of people who grow and are not established in gangs will get caught. We will take a lot of young people who have had no exposure to gangs and put them in prisons that are run by gangs – so what happens is people are induced to join gangs while in prison, and when they come out they continue gang activity. So we are actually helping gangs recruit by sending more young people to jail under this new law.

And when we start seeing a lot of young folk being rounded up and shocked by hearing they got six-months or a year mandatory minimum, we’re going to see a lot more finking, snitching, people turning informer – petrified of going to jail, and a larger cascading effect that will see a much more severe police state than we have now.

CC: What’s wrong with mandatory minimum sentences?

Marc Emery: Mandatory minimum sentences take all the discretion away from judges so that even people who by no means deserve to be in jail will be in jail. It means that some dealer is going to be taken off the street and people are going to fight over their territory. It means the jails are going to more full, and they require about $75,000 in taxes per inmate. We’re going to need to build more prisons. We’re going to basically give police the weapons they need to continue the drug war, but that will only entail more policing in the future, more money, and more of the same things we get year after year with the drug war we’ve got. Our problems and budgets get bigger, and all we get are more police. The police are the leading cheerleaders of Bill C-15 and the drug war, because they are the biggest beneficiaries.

CC: Why are the Conservatives pushing this bill and why are the Liberals supporting it?

Marc Emery: The Conservatives are pushing it because they have an anti-Sixties agenda, an anti-counterculture agenda and they don’t believe in skeptical thinkers or libertarian thought – they are very much about Faith, Family and Friends – that’s their three Fs of freedom. They believe that if it can be read in the bible, it’s OK. If it is consistent with a social-conservative Christian demographic then they are all for it, but if you’re a young city-dweller, a cosmopolitan person with curiosity, then you are definitely out of luck with this government.

The Liberal party is supporting the bill because of a weakness – a lack of core principles – and political expediency.

CC: How can Canadians help to fight this bill?

Marc Emery: We have to encourage the senate right away to reject it – first of all, don’t pass it before the summer recess – and then hopefully over the summer we have to lobby the Senate to either make changes to bill C-15, or reject it entirely. That’s important, because most Conservatives and Liberals in the Senate had favoured legalizing marijuana in the past. We have to remind them of what they found out when they researched this in the past: how mandatory minimums will only make worse all aspects of the drug war. There’s not a single improvement in Bill C-15 that will benefit Canadian society, and the Senate has to know that Canadians won’t stand for it.



  1. onegreenday on

    Dear Editor,

    There’s no war that politicians won’t latch onto, to march in goose step, stomping on
    people, kicking doors down, because your people like marijuana better than Canadian beer.

    I was thinking of moving north to get away from the criminal government here but I
    see our insanity has spread north. It must be contagious like swine flu.

    I thought you people had common sense to the North but I see that your government
    is as corrupt as our own. Stealing money away from the real needs of your people just to punish
    the people that don’t buy beer, booze and cigarettes from your politicians.

    Did your politicians even read one thing about America’s war on drugs mandatory minimums.
    It failed. America the World’s largest jailer and 20% of our children have less than adequate food.

    New York is so broke from running the prison system they are ending
    drug sentences and sending people home.

    California is bankrupt because of stupid drug laws and prisons cost more than
    schools and teachers.

    This proves your Canadian school system is worthless since it produced the politicians
    that voted for this moronic nonsense. They don’t even know how to read or surf the net
    for “failed war on drugs”. They must be too busy swilling their XXX and S-7.

    Shame on them and you for not informing your readers about the failed war on drugs
    and the proper way to control their sale and distribution.

    You are in for one hell of a wake up call as other programs will falter and fail and you’ll
    build more prison, ruin more young people’s lives and end up with more crime, more drugs, harder drugs
    and kids that don’t know how to read or think but can become another lying politician.

    Best of luck to you Canadians. I hope your Senate has more on the ball than
    the other bunch up there.

    Oh yes, your hockey sucks too. I hate Canada now and would not set foot there
    or buy anything from there, that’s how disgusted I am with you people.

    I was hoping you’d be a positive influence or example on reforming
    our nation with intelligent , positive drug control laws but no shining light to the North now.

  2. Anonymous on

    ted haggard the gay methethamphetamine user preacher who spoke out against homosexuals, etc.. and was in a variety of scandals belongs to the same sect of christianity as Harper. :)

  3. Anonymous on

    Harper and Ignatieff are both mere putzes why are we so quick to attack christians and assume that this is an embodiment of what christians in fact want. (note: Ignatieff is just visiting, if he doesn’t make it as Prime Minister he’s going to hike out of town). I doubt very much that Harper practices his religion in any form of a serious way except to doing exactly what suits him, in his class reunion people didn’t even want to hear him, a newspaper article worthy of searching out. Harper pretty much just wanted to be a little bit of a prick so that he can feel some honor and power by seeing that even if he decides to make the government inexpedient in some fashion he still gains full trust of the population irregardless.

  4. Anonymous on

    Stephen Harper is the biggest nerd in the country. I bet the guy never smoked one little pin joint in his whole dweeb life. Just look at his hair. That’s the outward indicator of what his brain is like, a piece of plastic. He looks like a member of some ultra goody-good Christian sect. I could see him coming to peoples’ doors with little pamphlets.

    God forbid somebody should grow a nontoxic plant. Deadly poison tobacco, sure, not a problem. With Cannabis, somebody might actually be inflicted with couchlock for a few hours. How horrible. Protect us, plasticman!

  5. J.G.MacNeil on

    It would almost seem that the evil scumbags who are currently running our country are trying to incite the people to revolt so that their standing police army can try and thin out the dissenters and have the populace pacified for another generation.

    The Canadian government must be feeling desperate for a solution which will allow them to alter the demographic in the country because it’s been half a century since they’ve been involved in a real war. The amount that the population is growing is rearing whole generations who have not been in a shooting war and those people are not fooled by the old lies anymore, especially since the U.s. lied so blatantly to the world about why they were invading Iraq.

    With the recent revelations of former Canadian PM Mulroney having taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes that we know about, and he probably took millions that have left no paper trail, and the jump (push?) off a cliff by the former South Korean president, because it was revealed that he took millions in bribes, and a similar escapade involving the former ruler of Israel, it is obvious where the real crooks are. It truly makes you wonder how all of the capitalist governments have literally evolved into a lying, murderous, warmongering mafia which persecutes the general populace so that those scumbags can maintain control. Normal people usually can’t fathom just how despicably evil the U.s. led governments have become, because normal people aren’t so callous that they would ruin the lives of millions of people simply so that they could skim the riches off the top and play the politics game on the world stage.