Vancouver Protests Prince of Pot’s Imprisonment

Marijuana activist Marc Emery speaking to a crowd of hundreds at 'The Worldwide Rally for The Prince of Pot' in Vancouver. (Photos by Jeremiah Vandermeer - click to enlarge)Marijuana activist Marc Emery speaking to a crowd of hundreds at ‘The Worldwide Rally for The Prince of Pot’ in Vancouver. (Photos by Jeremiah Vandermeer – click to enlarge)CANNABIS CULTURE – Hundreds of protesters gathered in Vancouver on Saturday as part of ‘The Worldwide Rally for the Prince of Pot’, a global rally held in over 100 cities to demand freedom for marijuana activist Marc Emery.

Nearly 1000 people gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery on September 19 to say goodbye to Emery in person, before he’s sent to prison in the United States for selling marijuana seeds over the Internet. Several of Vancouver’s most prominent marijuana activists appeared at the rally, giving rousing speeches in support of Emery and calling for an end to drug prohibition.

On the same day, rallies were held at multiple locations around the world, in many major cities in Canada and the US, and countries including Germany, South Africa, Denmark, Ireland, Austria, Peru, Norway and the UK. Click here to see photos, articles, and videos from rallies all over the world.

“There are thousands [attending rallies]around the world today, said Greg Williams, one of Emery’s co-accused who was recently sentenced to two years probation by an American court. “Think about that as you stand here and look at a man who has done a great deal for not only the marijuana community, but the community at large.”

Greg Williams, long-time pot activist and close friend of Marc Emery, speaking to protesters.Greg Williams, long-time pot activist and close friend of Marc Emery, speaking to protesters.Speakers commended Emery for his many years as an influential activist and his tireless campaigns for individual rights and freedoms. Emery used millions of dollars in profits from his successful seed company to fund many of the major marijuana and hemp campaigns in North America, which undoubtedly had a direct effect on the successes of the movement, including the legalization of medical marijuana in Canada and some US states.

Protesters also criticized both the American and Canadian governments for an arrest and imprisonment they see as unjust and politicly motivated.

“They still want to put Marc in jail for five years for selling a substance that didn’t hurt anyone,” Williams told the crowd. “It didn’t hurt anyone, and that should be the bottom line when it comes to freedom and rights.”

“The only reason they are going after Marc is because he is a successful activist that was actually making a real difference,” a man in the crowd named Eddy told Cannabis Culture. “There are lots of other people selling seeds, but the government doesn’t seem to care about them. […] I came here today to tell those Conservative bastards that it is wrong to put a Canadian citizen behind bars in the States.”

The crowd was a melting pot of the young and old, and of all genders, races, shapes and sizes. Protesters held signs and placards reading “No Prison For Pot” and “Let our people grow!”, and broke into chants of “Free Marc Emery” several times throughout the sunny afternoon.

Though the event was primarily focused on Emery and his upcoming incarceration, the rally was also a celebration of the cannabis culture and the beloved plant itself.

“A long time ago in history, the cannabis plant was the most important plant on the planet,” Williams said. “It grew the fibers to make the sails, the food, the clothes, the everything. In fact, countries went to war over who could have it. Now, they’ve gone to war on that very plant.”

“Basically, cannabis is the best fuel crop and the best medicine,” activist David Malmo-Levine shouted to the crowd while passing around a giant fake joint, “and the people who have the most to do with making cannabis illegal, are fuel and medicine salesman. It’s corporations in the United States that make the most money from cannabis being illegal. […] We are fighting the US takeover of Canada and resisting their oppression.”

“They’ve only done this for one reason, and that’s money,” Williams said. “It’s filled the pockets of the prohibitionist movement. We hear about all of the billions of dollars spent every year on prohibition, but you’ve got to think: it’s going into somebody’s pocket. Now who would those people be? The only organization [that supports prohibition in Canada]are the police. They are the only organization that thinks marijuana should be illegal. What the hell is going on here, that the police should decide what’s legal and what’s not? Well they shouldn’t.”

David Malmo-Levine holds a giant (fake) joint.David Malmo-Levine holds a giant (fake) joint.Emery spent the majority of the rally moving through the crowd, shaking hands and signing autographs, before giving his farewell speech.

“The reason I’m being punished, is because I’ve been effective […] because of all the good work we’ve been able to do,” he told hundreds of protesters who gathered around him as he spoke. “And you can do it too. I was just one person telling thousands and thousands of other people, and that’s what you can do. I don’t have any special talent. I came here in 1994 and I was broke and penniless and sold banned books and magazines about marijuana on the street to strangers, and eventually we were able to build up an empire where we supplied 60 stores in one year. Now there’s hundreds of stores – we’ve got a vibrant cannabis culture.”

Jodie Emery talks about her husbands imminent imprisonment in a US penitentiary.Jodie Emery talks about her husbands imminent imprisonment in a US penitentiary.Emery railed against Stephen Harper and the Conservative party, who have recently turned down US prisoner transfers for Canadians convicted of drug crimes on the basis that they may be a threat to National Security.

“Transfers from the United States were automatic before the Conservative government got in,” Emery said, “and now they are not transferring the weed prisoners, they’re leaving them in the United States. Vote for the NDP, the Greens, the Liberals, or even the Bloc, but you’ve got to get up and vote against the Conservative government. […] If you bring me back to Canada, I could be out in ten months.”

Marc’s wife Jodie Emery, a Green Party candidate and editor of CC, gave a touching speech pleading for supporters to send letters to the judge in Marc’s case and continue to pressure the government for his release. Jodie also made clear to the crowd that Marc’s empire will live on in his absence – with his Vancouver businesses, including Cannabis Culture and Pot-TV continuing uninterrupted under her management.

Former Cannabis Culture editor Dana Larsen speaks about his friend and former boss.Former Cannabis Culture editor Dana Larsen speaks about his friend and former boss.“Marc’s store, Cannabis Culture Headquarters (at 307 W. Hastings), will still be open,” Jodie said. “The BC Marijuana Party offices, where you can come and meet like-minded people and discuss ending the drug war while using a medical grade vaporizer – that’s still going to be open. We need you to come down and support our place so Marc knows that we’re all still here, nothing has changed, they haven’t shut us down.”

“What we have here in Vancouver is very special and very unique, and we don’t want to lose this,” activist and former CC editor Dana Larsen told the crowd. “We want to grow this, so it encompasses our whole city, our whole country, our whole continent, until marijuana is free to grow in every city and town and hamlet across the face of the earth.”

Emery is due to be taken into custody by authorities in less than a week, on September 28, 2009.

‘The Worldwide Rally for the Prince of Pot’ was organized by Cannabis Culture and

See the full photo gallery on Flickr.



  1. Anonymous1 on

    That’s a good thought and your motives are good but, let’s face it, it’s over. The deal is set in stone for the five years and Canada has a policy against returning drug convicts from US prisons. They’re not going to change that for one man, then the Vietnamese growers would want the same treatment when they get caught

    The time to think about Marc’s well being was before he got charged by the DEA. The people he was giving the money to should have said “that’s very thoughtful of you but we would rather have you safe and sound than making money to give us by sacrificing your freedom for several years in an American prison, which is obviously what will happen if you keep this up. We don’t want your illegally earned money, Marc”. Marc is the type of person who has no concern for his own well being. He’s too giving of a person. That type of person is very easy to take advantage of. The people who accepted the money that they knew was illegally obtained should all be sent to prison for conspiracy or money laundering, in my opinion. They’re walking around free with that 4 million dollars and Marc is going to prison.


    Marc Emery is my leader. I think all individuals need a leader but, they as well need to lead. I am very dissapointed that people would rather sit around and smoke than help this man. Don’t be selfish people. You can smoke any day. This man is going to prison. You’ll still be snuggled up to your teddy bears while this man will be in a 12 by 8 room for awhile. This is serious people wake the fuck up. Would you want your son’s or daughter’s or dad’s or mom’s in this position. Without this man we are sheep being led to slaughter. He is the key player in keeping us ALL out of prision. Give a little self sacrifice people. Call OBAMA relentlessly. BE POLITE THOUGH. Call the major US news networks. Make an issue about this. DO NOT LET THIS ISSUE FADE. Do not let this be news for a day. SEND MARC HOME. If you are a US TAX PAYER don’t allow your goverment to house foreigners any more. Demand that they be sent to theyr’e country’s. If you don’t want to use Marc for an example make an issue about all the illegal mexican nationals. Hard press this issue. Just like Marc did with the PAN AM Games we in america can do the same with jailing canadian nationals in our federal prisons. NO JAIL FOR KING OF POT.

  3. Anonymous1 on

    Why the hell didn’t he just stop? Didn’t any of the people who were accepting his money advise him that maybe after the news exposure and the Canadian raids it would be a good idea to cool things down for a while and rethink the fundraising strategy? Who’s best interest were they thinking about. Did people advise him to stop and he flatly refused or something? Or did the people around him just not want to stop the golden goose from laying eggs even though a wolf was standing right behind it? Nobody made him keep doing it, of course, but didn’t his lawyer mention to him that conspiracy to cultivate marijuana in the US had a rather undesirable penalty? It really did go on for way too long. Eleven years? WTF?

  4. Freedom Fighters on

    Along time ago we had no rights that today people take so easily for granted, to find a Bong was a treasure because the Law made these simple items contraband and you only had rolling papers and your own creativity. It was people like Marc Emery who is the frontier of these times that people so easily take for granted simply do not think of and the fact that it is possible to go backwards once more and lose what precious freedoms we’ve gained this far.

    People like Marc Emery come only once in a rare lifetime to be able to see the world and effectively make changes in areas that help causes and has shown to be an amazing motivator, while sharing us knowledge, enough for us all who sat in our closets in fear of our Government while he taught, “You are not alone, Knowledge is their to defend with real truths”. So people like me and others who want to reach out and help that one person in the crowd to save someone but can’t, won’t or just don’t know how to help that person or even themselves. Marc is that one person, no matter what the criticisms out their may be, The screaming voice coming from the crowd yelling for help that everyone ignores and walks by, Marc reached out and so many others became strengthened and appeared from the crowd ready to help, when just before they stood in apprehension saying to themselves “What can I do?”

    It takes that one Leader from the crowd and soon you have the movement but if that one person never steps forward then it becomes the same repetitive sad story of, what can I do and nothing gets done. Marc said I know what to do and now he’s taking the bullet for being on that front line for us and it seems to me to be pretty honorable when the funds that he received went back to our cause and has nothing to his name to show for it but our memories and how we remember him. Sure Marc might have had multiple personal reasons which gave him his push but no one can say they have reached in this country as far as Marc has for changing the many Ignorant peoples minds from old misinformation of lies to the now we know inalienable rights and truths. This Man gave it all away and is possibly about to lose many years and we will look back and see what he sacrificed just to make it so we the people don’t have to hide like we are ashamed and instead yell I am a better person because of Cannabis. I am thankful to Marc Emery who showed me I am not alone and I should not be ashamed but be proud to choose a safer healthier lifestyle from the ones that Society forces upon us by limiting us.

    So when Marc does come back, hopefully; someone will stand at the front line trying to make changes on our behalf until that day and see it might take bigger shoes then they ever thought possible.

    Sorry to put you way up high on that pedestal Marc but someone has to be up their or there would be no Gandhi or Luther Martin King and you have that job for our cause in this country to help take away the draconian Laws that hold us down and I hope we remember this when he comes back and we may find that after time we have already lost Marc this day forever because prison does change you on the inside and could damage our Leader.

    Thanks again Marc for what you are giving up; I hope you know you did reach many and you did take away the frustrations and fears by giving us truer knowledge, a lot of us are no longer alone in our lives thinking maybe society is right and we are bad people. We all now stand a little taller because you gave us weapons of Mass Knowledge and now we can be armed with more truth than the deception imposed on us by our Governments.
    Thank you and God bless you, MARC EMERY.