After flouting marijuana laws in this country for two decades, The Prince of Pot, Marc Emery, is rallying his supporters before he’s locked up in a Seattle jail this fall.
He’s on the last leg of a cross-Canada farewell tour, which will make its stop in Nelson on August 10.
“I want to make it very clear to my supporters why I’m agreeing to be sentenced,” said Emery, speaking on the phone from Kamloops where more than 100 people came to see him speak in Riverside Park.
Emery was facing between 25 and 75 years in a U.S. prison, which, for the 51-year-old, would likely mean a life sentence. His plea deal will bring that sentence down to five years.
“They (the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) say I’m responsible for 1.1 million lbs. of marijuana worth $3 billion,” said Emery. “If I ended up going to trial, that’s not going to be a sentence on the lower end of things.”
The crime he’s ready to admit to: selling marijuana seeds across the boarder by post with his magazine Cannabis Culture.
This would seem like a minor offense for a man who spent a summer in 2003 smoking giant doobies in front of 18 police stations across Canada and in 2004 holding pot rallies at 25 universities.
While Emery is used to run-ins with the law — he’s been arrested 23 times for marijuana, jailed 17 times and raided six times — he’s avoided serious jail time for his work in Canada.
“The most significant offense I’ve had in this country is passing one joint in Saskatoon, and I spent three months in jail,” he said, explaining that he was charged for trafficking for handing off a joint to another individual in a group of 40 people during a demonstration in a park.
In the U.S., these things would never have been taken lightly and Emery said he isn’t surprised it would be the American authorities to finally put him behind bars.
“If enough Canadians and Americans are upset about it, then they’ll work harder.”
The speech he gives on his tour is aimed at inspiring support for his cause. He makes his argument for legalizing marijuana in three parts, reminding what cannabis is good for (preventing Alzheimer’s and easing suffering for people with chronic illnesses, for example), the contributions stoners have made to music, arts and culture (“the greatest athlete in the world, Michael Phelps is a pot head; the greatest writer in the English language, William Shakespeare, is a pot head,” Emery boasts.) and finally comparing pot to many far more dangerous legal things from alcohol, tobacco and guns.
CBC film crews are expected to be filming the Nelson event, and the audience will have an opportunity to ask questions of Emery at the end.
His free lecture will take place on Monday, August 10 at 7 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre, 421 Victoria Street.
– Article from The Nelson Star.