Marijuana activist Marc Emery visits City Lights Bookstore downtown London to say goodbye to friends before an expected prison sentence starting this fall.
– Video from The Toronto Sun.
Read Marc’s latest blog post about going to prison in the United States.
‘Canada owes me’, Emery says
By RANDY RICHMOND
London Free Press
Fri, June 12, 2009
Visiting the bookstore he founded in 1975, former Londoner is undaunted at the prospect of serving a U.S. prison term
Canada’s self-proclaimed prince of pot, Marc Emery, says he’s not afraid to go to a U.S. federal penitentiary in a few months.
But he still asked Londoners to push for his transfer back to Canada and Americans for an outright pardon.
“I’m not scared. I’ve never been scared of anything. That might be foolish. It’s not that I’m courageous. It’s just a state of being. It’s how I am,” Emery told a supportive crowd at the Richmond Street bookstore he founded 34 years ago, City Lights.
“I’m hoping you can help me out,” Emery told a couple dozen supporters. “Everybody has to lobby the federal government to bring Marc Emery back to Canada or even better yet, free Marc Emery.”
Emery returned to London yesterday to say goodbye to family, friends and supporters. After pleading guilty in August, he expects to be sentenced in September to as much as eight years in a U.S. prison.
Marc Emery known as “The Prince of Pot” talked to a crowd at City Lights Bookshop Thursday. Shown at right is Tyler Smith a store employee. (SUE REEVE Sun Media)
“I just know this is something I’m prepared to do. I’m going to miss everybody. I’m going to miss my wife Jodie for sure,” he said as she looked on.
The long-time marijuana activist is facing three charges dating back to 2005 for selling pot seeds to U.S. and Canadian customers via his Vancouver mail order business .
He had been fighting extradition to the U.S. on those charges, but says now his lawyer is negotiating a deal with U.S. authorities.
Canada has never fought a U.S. extradition order and the Stephen Harper government, which is toughening anti-marijuana laws, would hardly go to the mat for him, Emery said.
So instead, he’s hoping to strike a deal with the U.S. district attorney by pleading guilty to the lesser charge of distributing marijuana.
In exchange, the U.S. will drop the more serious charges of manufacturing marijuana and money laundering, which could lead to a life sentence, Emery said.
“I’m 51 years old. Anything over 12 or 13 years is kind of a life sentence because the average person dies in a U.S. federal prison around the age of 65.”
Emery noted he’s been fighting laws and bylaws for decades, ever since he opened City Lights, a used bookstore, on Richmond Street in 1975. Among his targets: Sunday shopping, mandatory fees for downtown merchants to beautify the core, laws against selling books about marijuana and obscenity laws.
In 1992, he sold the book store and lived for a while in Indonesia. He resurfaced in Vancouver and continued to fight against marijuana laws, firing up an oversized joint outside the London police station in 2003.
“Sometimes I think I’ve failed at this mission I’ve had to make marijuana legal, to end the prohibition,” he said yesterday.
But he remained undaunted by the long mission or the prospect of eight years behind bars, saying he’ll use the time to learn French and prepare for his next career.
” I put out for this country for 30 years and Canada owes me. They owe me to be elected to the federal parliament and make me justice minister so finally I can repeal this awful terrible prohibition we have in this country.”