CANNABIS CULTURE – Marc Emery, the Vancouver businessman and political dissident currently imprisoned in the US for his marijuana activism, has been locked in solitary confinement for an indefinite period over false charges.
Marc, who has been learning the bass guitar while locked up in the Yazoo City Federal Correctional Complex in Mississippi, received permission from prison authorities to have photos taken of him performing music with his fellow inmates. According to Marc, permission was given by three separate administrators, including one at the prison’s Special Investigative Services (SIS), and authorization paperwork likely exists.
Photos of Marc performing with his band were taken and developed by prison staff months ago and then sent to Marc’s wife Jodie through regular US and Canadian postal services.
Marc has now been put in the solitary cells at the prison Special Housing Unit (SHU) and told he is under investigation by the SIS, who say the photos may have been taken with a prohibited smart phone.
“Got to see Marc for 1.5 hours,” Marc’s wife Jodie posted in an online statement yesterday, shortly after a trip to visit him. “Prison has him in solitary confinement to ‘investigate’ the photos of his band that the prison itself approved! The investigation (could take months) is to see if Marc had a cellphone to take the band photos – despite proof the prison camera was used! The warden, guards, music/recreation admins – everyone – knows Marc got official permission for those photos. Yet they put him in solitary?!”
Prisoners in the SHU are locked up for 23 hours a day and receive none of the basic amenities afforded to regular prisoners.
“He had to beg for a pen and for a razor to shave,” Jodie told Cannabis Culture. “All they give him to wear besides his orange prison suit is a pair of 4XL shorts with string tied around his waist to hold them up, and one pair of socks with enormous holes in them. I cried when I saw him, and he did too. Another SHU inmate set a fire and smoke filled the cells, and Marc thought he might die. It’s Hell. We need to get him home!”
Cannabis Culture contacted Yazoo prison but was told no one would be available for comment until Monday morning.
Emery was sentenced to five years in prison in the US after being arrested and extradited for selling marijuana seeds and using the money to fund marijuana legalization activism, including publishing Cannabis Culture and Pot TV. The DEA admitted Emery was targeted for political reasons in a press release issued the day of his arrest.
Shortly after his extradition to the US in 2010, Marc was locked in solitary confinement for three weeks for unknowingly breaking an unwritten rule by having his wife record a phone conversation for publication as an online podcast.
Marc has 394 days until he is eligible for early release, and has submitted a transfer application to serve the rest of his sentence in Canada.
“Right now his transfer application to come home to Canada is in the US Government’s hands,” Jodie said. “We need everyone to encourage them to approve his transfer application and get him out of solitary confinement, out of federal prison in Mississippi, and on the way home to Canada!”
Support Marc by sending a letter to the US Department of Justice transfer division, requesting that he be approved for transfer home to Canada.