Letter to Jodie upon receiving the bad news
Dearest Sweet Wife: Today, April 16th, I have 1,188 days to go until my release date of July 9th, 2014. That includes my 235 days good time credit, so I have to hope I can maintain that good standing to get out by then. That's 38 months and 3 weeks away, a long time, no doubt, but it was once 60 months. And before that there was five years where you and I anticipated the inevitable extradition and incarceration with anxiety and unspoken dread.
All our time together since you and I became intimate exactly seven years ago this week has been tinted with the certain knowledge I would be going to jail. When you and I got involved in April of 2004, I was facing charges of passing one joint in Saskatoon, a charge that kept me in jail five days just to obtain bail the month before, March 2004. I had been on a university speaking tour across Canada, and after speaking at the University of Saskatchewan campus, 40 of us went to smoke a few joints in the park beside the Bessborough Hotel where I was staying. We were all nestled in the Vimy Ridge memorial pavilion, honouring the soldiers who died in the infamous WW1 battle (fighting for "our freedom" as they say). After we finished, a police officer came by, said he smelled smoke, and asked a 23-year old university student, "Did Mr. Emery pass you the joint?" Yes, the student replied.
On August 19th, 2004, I was convicted of trafficking that one joint, and much to both our shock, was sentenced to three months, 92 days, in Saskatoon Correctional Center. My time there is well documented, and you should resurrect some of the choice jail blogs that I made throughout my time there, especially so they don't get lost into the cybersphere forever, as those were some of the best writings I had ever done up to that time. Remember, that is where we fell completely in love, if we weren't already, because each night I would furiously write my thoughts and politics from 10pm to 2am each night, and then after my job in the jail was done from 8am to 2:30pm – I was the janitor of the prison administration center where much of that staff worked, paid $5 a day, the top wage in the inmate job hierarchy – I called Chris Bennett of Pot-TV collect and he would record my voice narrating my writings of the night before. He would put this on a CD and hand it to you, and each night you would painstakingly listen to the disc, line by line, and type it up so it could be read on the internet.
Just as my newsletters I wrote at D. Ray James were read by the staff there, at Saskatoon Correctional, all the staff would read my jail blogs of my time there. When I was vacuuming the carpets around the staff, I would spy out of the corner of my eye them reading the latest entries. It was a passionate retelling of each day there, and all the political, emotional revelations that were going on. A lot seemed to happen in the 62 days there. I went in to court on August 19th, and I thought I would get a $500 fine, but instead was stunned when the judge, after a long speech condemning my bad influence on the community, gave me 3 months. The last words I said as I was handcuffed and lead away immediately after sentencing was, "Three months for one joint!!!????" It was a blazing hot summer day outside that August 19th.
I was released on October 19th into a beautiful snowy blizzard. Your taxi to pick me up was an hour late because of the bad roads. It was cold and the snow fell relentlessly, but there are few days in my life when I was happier. You were there to pick me up at the prison with Dana and Rebecca, and you accompanied me to the various TV and radio stations to give my comments on my highly publicized release. I savoured the food in four different restaurants that day, and then by mid-afternoon, I could wait no longer and we made love in the hotel. I remember that evening I was in the hotel computer room, doing my email, you sitting beside me, and I was speaking on my phone and said "I just got out of jail", then, noticing a person on the computer beside me, put my hand on his shoulder and said to him, "Don't worry, it was nothing unsavoury", and he turned around and said, "I know." It was Canadian musician Matthew Good, performing that night in Saskatoon, staying at the same hotel, also checking his email.
I bring this jail memory up because yesterday I received the dreadful, but not wholly unexpected, DENIAL of treaty transfer from the US Department of Justice.
I know you had sincere strong hopes that both governments would accept my transfer application. I certainly qualified in all of the criteria set out in the DOJ guidelines, and I had unprecedented political support in Canada – a Senator, 14 Members of Parliament, a Member of the BC Legislature, four city councillors, two mayors, and at least one State Representative. Those are just the elected officials we are aware of whose endorsement for transfer we have copies of. Yet I was refused because of the "seriousness of my offense" and "serious law enforcement concerns".
Additionally, it would appear my constant critiquing of the US penal system in my newsletters was inferred as a reason for the refusal, as the DOJ referred to my "actions within my control" that caused them to deny me.
DEA chief Karen Tandy always said my arrest was political, in fact, in her statement issued the day of my arrest, she doesn't actually mention my so-called crime of selling seeds to consenting adults, because that, juxtaposed with being one of the top 46 most wanted in the world, would sound outrageous and absurd. Instead she railed on repeatedly about my political 'crimes' in opposing the US federal government war of cannabis.
"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."
When I called you and told you the upsetting news about my transfer application being rejected, you were thunderstruck. I know it was a shock and disappointment, and of course, we both know it's further punishment because of my life's work in repealing marijuana prohibition, and for the millions of dollars – not hundreds of thousands as Tandy stated, but millions of dollars – I contributed to the US, Canadian and worldwide repeal movements, and my pride in doing so.
We have no choice but to channel our indignation into the movement. I expect every soldier in our great cause to do their duty. I hope our American friends and supporters will appeal to hold "OBAMA: FREE MARC EMERY" signs, banners, etc. at every opportunity at every rally, gathering, website, Facebook profile, meeting, town hall, sports event, and wherever people gather. I enjoin them to begin a campaign to write the President and urge him to pardon me.
I also urge my American friends to support the Presidential nomination campaigns of Congressman Ron Paul and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. These two men are great men, fully behind the repeal of cannabis prohibition, and do not retreat from saying so. They need our full support, in primary votes, in campaign contributions, in volunteer efforts, fundraising, and sign carrying. I cannot stress this too much. Ron Paul was the real man of Hope in 2008, but the false Hope was elected instead. Ron Paul is the greatest man of our time, a champion of the Constitution and has opposed every aspect of the drug war since first elected to Congress in 1974. He is co-sponsor of bills legalizing personal possession of cannabis [video link], industrial hemp, medical marijuana, the Truth in Trials Act, ending the Drug Czar's budget – simply every aspect of the federal drug war, Ron Paul has opposed it. [Marc's massive study of all US Congress votes for Cannabis Culture Magazine #63 showed that Ron Paul was the #1 supporter of our culture. View that article here.]
It is my fervent hope that the Republican Presidential ticket for 2012 will be Ron Paul & Gary Johnson as President/Vice-Presidential nominee. Ron Paul is an incredibly decent, honest, ethical man, an intellectual giant and a down-to-earth person. There simply has never been a better candidate for the trust of the people in the last 50 years for the office of President. For our people, our cannabis culture, there simply is no one who comes close. Jodie, if our American people want to honour my life-long struggle to secure their freedom in the face of this prohibition tyranny, they MUST support Ron Paul in his bid for President. [Read more about Ron Paul's stance on cannabis and the drug war here, here, here, and here.]
My Canadian people must commit themselves to voting in the May 2nd Canadian federal election. It is vital to punish the Conservatives for both extraditing me, and persisting in bringing in legislation to impose mandatory minimum jail sentences and other cruel punishments upon the cannabis culture. Most young people do not vote; this has had, and will have, tragic consequences if that happens May 2nd. I recommend all young people, all Canadians reading this, vote at the earliest advanced poll they can find for their riding, before May 2nd. They must vote for the candidate with the greatest chance of defeating the Conservative. In English Canada, this means voting Liberal or NDP, in French Canada, this means voting for the Bloc or Liberal. This is no time to vote Green; that alas, only helps the Conservative. Certainly, it is not the time in our culture's history, in our nation's history, to fail to vote. Think "FREE MARC EMERY - IMPRISON STEPHEN HARPER" and get out and vote.
If they need a push, Jodie, beg them to read my most recent essay, amongst the best works of writing I have ever done, "A Visit by the Grand Inquisitor Himself on the Eve of an Election Call". If they don't realize who the Grand Inquisitor in the story is, Jodie, please tell them. Whatever people think of Michael Ignatieff or Jack Layton, they are not evil men. Stephen Harper is evil and death, to our culture particularly, and to Canada certainly. [See "10 Reasons to oppose the Harper candidate in your riding" from Rabble.ca for a great list of why Harper is such a threat to Canada.]
As for us, I hope our wonderful supporters who have been so caring, loving and generous to myself and you will continue to be so kind, you will need the financial help so you can visit every two weeks in Mississippi, and I will need the great uplifting letters I continue to receive. 38 months and three weeks IS a long time, but it is made endurable by the gifts of love and respect I receive from those who take the time to show their support, consideration and understanding.
Most of all, my dear sweet Jodie, without you I would be lost, forlorn, and ever so lonely. You are my rock, my pride, you have exceeded all my expectations and have become one of the most respected activists for our glorious cause. Every day you impress me and hundreds of thousands of others by your dedication, passion and eloquence. I live on through you and am dearly proud that you bear my name, Mrs. Jodie Emery. I pray for your well being, and I am not a religious man, but those positive affirmations to the universe make me feel better, and I can only hope that many others will do what they can to help you, when and how they can do so.
I remain, Your honoured husband,
Grateful I have so much, under these circumstances, to still be thankful for,