Marc Emery is a name that is becoming synonymous with American injustice.
Sometimes that old adage “truth is stranger than fiction” rings true, as in this case of a Canadian businessman and political activist. His greatest crime was to sell cannabis seeds. Yes, seeds.
First, a little background.
Marc sold cannabis seeds. He never made a secret about his seed-selling business, and he was honest and upfront about his advocacy of cannabis. The owner/ operator of Cannabis Culture Magazine, Pot-TV, the BC Marijuana Party, he openly ran “Marc Emery Direct Marijuana Seeds” from a store in downtown Vancouver, Canada and through mail-order from 1994 to 2005, funding anti-prohibition and pro-marijuana activists and organizations across North America and the world.
He was the world’s most famous marijuana seed retailer until he was arrested.
Now, he is infamous. Though it is widely believed that the DEA approached the Canadian police to put a case together against Marc, it was the Canadian police who pressured the DEA to launch a cross-border attack against Marc, according to information on his website. It says the two massive agencies created a situation to charge Marc under the United States’ much more severe laws against seeds, because the laws were not harsh enough in Canada. Marc was arrested in Canada by American agents in 2005, and originally faced a minimum 30-year sentence in the US, with the possibility of life behind bars… for “distribution of marijuana” seeds.
Cannabisculture.com explains that the US Drug Enforcement Administration admitted on the day of Marc Emery’s arrest that his investigation and extradition were politically motivated, designed to target the marijuana legalization efforts and organizations that Emery spearheaded and financed for over a decade.
Incredibly, the DEA is under the impression that arresting Canadian Marc Emery was going to do something positive for the anti-marijuana regime. Here is the original text of DEA Administrator Karen Tandy’s statement released on July 29th, 2005:
“Today’s DEA arrest of Marc Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, and the founder of a marijuana legalization group — is a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement.
His marijuana trade and propagandist marijuana magazine have generated nearly $5 million a year in profits that bolstered his trafficking efforts, but those have gone up in smoke today.
Emery and his organization had been designated as one of the Attorney General’s most wanted international drug trafficking organizational targets — one of only 46 in the world and the only one from Canada.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery’s illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.” Marc was ordered extradited by Justice Minister Rob Nicholson on May 10th, 2010 and was taken to the USA on May 20th.
He was held in SeaTac Federal Detention Centre awaiting his sentencing which took place September 10th in Seattle’s US federal court, where he received five years in federal prison in a plea deal. He has asked to be moved to a prison in Canada, so he can be closer to his family, and there is a petition available on cannabisculture.com to support that action. Months before sentencing, Marc was given three weeks of complete solitary confinement for recording a “prison podcast” over the phone for release on the Internet (listen below).
Now there is a new page in the prison chapters of Marc Emery. Due to the generosity of his wife, Jodie Emery, he has been punished to “no commissary” for two months.
“Today Marc was punished with two months of no commissary (food, shampoo, soap, envelopes, stamps, etc.) and his cellmate for one month because I gave his cellmate money! Apparently it’s against the rules even though it’s not in the rule book. Marc was staying healthy eating nuts, trail mix, and tuna and turkey packets from commissary, now he has to “survive” on meals like peanut butter, bread, and rice,” Jodie Emery wrote in Cannabisculture.com.
Because Marc Emery is a publisher, writer, and outspoken activist with a large following, he is somehow a threat to the powers that be, even while incarcerated in a U.S. Federal Prison. The allegation that it was against the rules to put money on an inmate’s books just doesn’t hold water.
Still, such are the rigors of prison life, especially when every move one makes is held under a microscope as it is for Marc Emery.
“When Marc was first called to see the Lieutenant last week, the Lt. was being extremely rude, aggressive, and even threatening. He said that he reads all of Marc’s emails and letters and listens to all of his phone calls, and that he didn’t approve of the chapter Marc wrote about what it’s like going to prison (for Barry Cooper’s upcoming book) and that he thought it was “bullshit”,” Jodie wrote.
“Marc didn’t even criticize the prison! He just objectively wrote about the process of it, and of course he said the food was dismal, but that’s the truth!”
“So the Lt. was pissed off about what Marc was writing, but that’s not against the rules. So he said that it was against the rules for me to send money into Marc’s cellmate’s account, even though that’s not in the rule book either! They decided to ensure that they both suffer because of my generosity, which I pass on from the people who give it to me.”
Hundreds of people rallied in dozens of cities across the United States and Canada this last weekend in support of Marc Emery. His story is becoming widely-known, and more and more people are joining the march for truth, freedom and justice.
As the days pass, and the chant “Free Marc Emery” continues to resound more loudly and more often through groups of Americans unhappy with the behavior of their own justice system, the world community waits, impatiently. And yes, they are watching.
How long will it take the United States government to realize that this case is an embarrassment to the American people? This is not an attempt to protect our citizens; it is an opportunity to let Reefer Madness run rampant- unchecked.
It’s time to put down the torches, and let Marc Emery go home. Whatever point they attempted to make has been lost in the muck and mire of convoluted interpretations, and is a blatant assault on human rights– specifically making a scapegoat of Marc Emery, who had never done business in the United States.
We caught up with Jodie Emery at Portland, Oregon’s HempStalk festival last weekend, and she explained more about Marc’s charges and her response to the plea bargain and sentencing.
– Article from Salem News on September 24, 2010.