Marc Emery, the Essential Asshole?

In imitation of Marc’s wonderfully honest and sometimes brutally to the point style, I would like to reply to his article from last issue, The HEMP BC Story (CCM&H). In it, he gives the impression that there was no hemp movement or distributors of hemp information and products prior to his arrival in 1994. It’s all very well to toot your own horn, but Marc’s article is clearly misleading, as I am sure both Dana and Emery’s own Left-Lieutenant Ian Hunter could attest, as both had been prominent activists in the hemp movement prior to Marc’s arrival from India in March of 1994.

Marc’s statement concerning the sale of hemp products prior to his arrival in B.C. is also clearly untrue. He wrote that “None of these items were currently handled in British Columbia or most of Canada because there was a $100,000 fine for doing so.” As many B.C. residents and smokers are well aware, my wife and I have been producing Mama Indica’s Hemp Seed Treats in Canada since 1991, a product which is sold by a number of B.C. retailers and is also exported world wide.

Our small West Coast company managed to garnish nationwide attention on CBC News, Marketplace and countless newspapers and radio shows both here and abroad, all before Marc came to B.C. We also imported cases of The Emperor Wears No Clothes into Canada, and sold hemp clothes and paper, all under the threat of a $100,000 fine. This was all done while living in the small west coast town of Ucluelet, one of the most renowned redneck communities in Canada. Monday Magazine (a Victoria newspaper) once compared Ucluelet to Salma, Alabama.

I remember first finding out about Marc and his fight against censorship in his home province of Ontario, in an article that appeared in a 1992 edition of High Times. I was impressed with the article and Marc’s gutsy approach, but heard little else of him until the April 23rd Hemp Rally in 1994.

I was invited to the rally to speak and sell my hempenwear by the organizers of the event, which included Leeroy James & Jan Campbell (publishers of the now defunct Hempfest Times), Kris Laing, Dana Larsen and Ian Hunter. Kris Laing had organized a successful rally in Vancouver in 1992 (250 people) and had also helped organize the original April 23rd Rally in 1993 at which about a thousand people turned up.

There was at least three thousand people at the 1994 April 23rd Annual Smoke-In, and I remember Marc walking up to my table with a bag of books. I recognized him immediately from the High Times article, introduced myself to him and invited him to sell his books at my table. I was very pleased to meet him and looked forward to working with him in the future. I passed Marc’s phone number around to many of my contacts in B.C.’s hemp community, and I told him about an upcoming B.C. event, an event which I believe inspired his inflammatory article Where, oh where are the hemp professionals?

I think Marc’s article may have stemmed from his experience at the Comox Valley Plant In, a sad weekend for the B.C. hemp movement. The event was almost a complete failure, but not completely the fault of the organizers, who worked very hard at staging it. Rainy weather and an unavoidable police roadcheck at the bottom of the mountain where the event was held didn’t help.

I remember the many upset phone-calls I received after Marc’s inflammatory article came out, and thinking to myself, “Marc Emery is an asshole.” When my good friend Ian Hunter called me and told me he was going to work for Marc, I asked him “Why would you want to work for that guy? He’s an asshole.” Shortly after Ian’s call, and my angry condemnation of both him and Marc, I received a call from Marc, with an order for our hemp seed treats. (He buys lots of them, and has given our company tremendous support.)

I asked Marc about his article, which I had not yet had the opportunity to read, and his answer about it seemed to comply with the comments I had heard from the different people that were offended by its publication. I pointed out to Marc that prior to his arrival the populace of B.C. was more informed about hemp than any province in Canada, including Ontario where he had originally been living, and possibly including any State in the U.S.A. as well, and who was the B.C. public educated by before the arrival of Marc Emery and HEMP BC? Grassroots activists and non-professionals, that’s who! A group I was proud to be a member of.

These non-professional, grassroots activists like Norm Chollette, Don Hogan, Leeroy & Jan Campbell, Kris Laing, Marius Soska, the Fluid Druid, James Dure, Rob Rippengale, Ian Cooper, Paul DeFelice, Guy Charles (organizer of both of Nelson’s Hempfests), the many members of the Fane of the Pscilocybe Mushroom Association, Victoria’s Anti-Prohibition League (with its many hard workers like Henry Boston, Judy Smith and others), the Comox Valley Hemp Coalition (especially the work of members Ernie Yacub, Darren Hollinger, and Ralph Schultze), students at UVic and UBC, SFU’s League for Ethical Action on Drugs (of which editor Dana Larsen is a founder and past president), and countless other B.C. activists, along with the many smoke-ins, courthouse protests and rallies at the Parliament Buildings in Victoria, all laid the prepatory groundwork that was necessary to create such a welcome environment for Marc Emery to come into and open his very successful store and activist centre, HEMP B.C.

I ranted and raved at Marc on the phone for a while, pointing out that if his method was so good, then why wasn’t hemp legal in Ontario? I even called him an asshole. But Marc had made some very valid points, and he said that if he offended anybody, then that was good because that was what he intended, and he wasn’t out to make friends, and furthermore that the B.C. Hemp movement was becoming cliquish…

After I got off the phone and cooled down a little, I had a chance to reflect on my conversation with Marc. I thought about what had offended me most about his comments, and I had to admit to myself that it was his comments about “unprofessionalism”, mostly because in my own case it was somewhat true. My newsletters and information sheets (when I was able to get them out) were never anywhere near as nice as the slick print jobs Marc offered, and lack of money kept us very low budget.

When I asked Marc what he had done, he told me, along with the rest of the offended egos: “Just watch me.” Well, here it is some time later, and I have to admit that Marc and the staff of HEMP BC have done an excellent job of turning what was once a funky grassroots movement into a slick mainstream organization. I can really appreciate Marc’s in your face style and his radical approach to retail activism. Many of us in the hemp movement can learn alot from Marc and his stir it up style.

When all is said and done, I like what Marc’s done for the B.C. hemp movement, and what’s more, I like Marc Emery himself. But then again I like my own asshole, for I realize that just as the hands and the feet serve a purpose on the body of man, so does the asshole. In a similar way, perhaps the body of people that make up the hemp movement needs an asshole for the movement to move through.

Bottoms up, Marc!

Good luck to you in 1995.

Chris Bennet

Well, all I can say is that Marc’s always had his shit together. -Ed.


Last issue had an article on the “Amazing Phototron” (CCM&H). I and a few fellow growers have a big problem with the claim of 6 to 8 ounces of bud every 45 days with a puny 250 W (18,000 lumens) of low intensity fluorescent light. You will need at least one 400 W halide to get 6 to 8 ounces of bud every 60 to 70 days.

Fluorescent light gives you 80,000 lumens for each 1,000 watts at 30% efficiency. Metal halide light gives you 110,000 lumens for each 1,000 watts at over 40% efficiency, and the best phototron has 18,000 lumens. About 250 puny watts. This would explain why any who want real buds use halide lights. Buds are bigger and three times as dense and resin glans will be at least 50% larger. Fluorescent light is not cost efficient for flowering pot.

Double the growth rate? Compared to what? Not promix, not rockwool, not pea gravel, nor any other hydroponic method. Maybe hard packed dirt with no drainage.

Trying to double budding sites will only slow growth and possibly turn your plants into a male due to excessive stress.
There is a 0% potency increase if you take clones from a mother plant from seed. Even if you take a clone from the clone of a clone of a clone. Zippo increase. It is all genetic. After more than 24 successive clonings in 14 years I`ve never experienced an increase or decrease in potency.

Jeff is losing his mind on the claim of turning a male into a female. Only harsh and toxic chemicals can achieve this, and would not be safe to smoke. Nor would it be worth the effort as males are taller with less lateral branching.
As for costs: with exchange, duty, brokerage fees, you are looking at $500 CDN. for the cheap one. One with all the goodies will cost $800 CDN.

I am a proud Canadian and prefer to support our economy. Enough of our dollars go south and never come back. Americans are not rushing to Canada to spend their money. Do yourself and your country a favour and buy all equipment at home.

If you want to flower with fluorescent light, you can spend $350 CDN. and get 1000 watts (at 80,000 lumens) from 12 dual tube four foot fluorescent fixtures. $500 will get you a 1000 watt halide ballast, bulb and reflector, and supplies to grow four plants every four months. (Two months veg. and two months flowering.) I know people who grow “Big Bud” this way and their plants are three to four feet tall, they sport foot long colas, four to six inches wide, minimum six ounces per plant. The claim that you need an eight to fourteen foot plant for four to eight ounces is pure fantasy. I can assure you.

The Phototron. Psychic Phone Pals. Chat lines. Infomercials. Chia pets. Gimmicks. Marketing. False claims.

Phototron ads claim they have sold 150,000 units. This proves, what? That there are 150,000 gullible people would be my guess. I also know that millions of Halides have been sold. Let the Americans waste their time and money on their “Amazing Discovery”.

If you’re going to risk growing, make it worth the risk. Get at least a 400 watt Halide for flowering. Grow some real buds that actually mature. Buds that glow.

Dr. Clone

Vancouver, BC