Vancouver cannabis crusader Marc Emery, who has both delighted and appalled Canadians with his strident views on pot prohibition, is nearly halfway through a five-year jail term in the U.S. for selling marijuana seeds across the border. And he’s increasingly sure he’s winning the drug-legalization campaign he’s waged for the past 30 years. Province columnist Jon Ferry is the first journalist to visit him in U.S. federal prison in Mississippi to ask him why.
YAZOO CITY, Miss. — Marc Emery, pest or prophet? That’s the question I keep asking myself about the headline-hugging Vancouver activist and his seemingly endless campaign to end marijuana prohibition.
In 2004, when he was in jail in Saskatchewan, I described Emery as a jerk because of how he had bullied east Vancouver mom Eileen Mosca, who’d publicly complained about the Da Kine Cafe selling pot a block away from an elementary school.
Mosca, volunteer president of the Grandview-Woodlands community policing centre, told me she’d been harassed unmercifully after Emery emailed his supporters to picket her daily with signs calling her a Nazi.
I accused Emery then of exemplifying that all-too-common Lower Mainland phenomenon — someone with a cause but no class.
Indeed, I viewed Emery’s constant run-ins with the law as something he brought on himself with his obvious contempt for those who didn’t share his views.
The other day, however, I spent literally hours chatting to Emery at the U.S. federal prison in this rural Mississippi town, where he’s serving a five-year term for selling marijuana seeds to U.S. growers.
I asked him his views on everything from B.C. politics to U.S. prison reform. And he was a model of class and courtesy.
See Sunday’s Province for the full details of columnist Jon Ferry’s visit to Mississippi to interview Vancouver pot activist and bass guitarist Marc Emery in a medium-security prison in Yazoo City, best known for its blues music.