On Saturday, October 2, the Saskatoon vigil for imprisoned marijuana activist Marc Emery will have reached its 40th consecutive day. This likely makes it the longest continual marijuana protest ever held.
The vigil has been organized by Dana Larsen, the Vancouver-based Editor of Cannabis Culture magazine, and Kerry Kunka, the owner of Saskatoon hemp store Bongs on Broadway.
“This vigil has been maintained by a growing army of dedicated volunteers,” said Larsen. “They have kept this vigil every day, with a continued presence directly across the street from the Provincial Courthouse where Emery was sentenced.
“We started off with only a couple of people here every day, but our campaign has steadily gathered supporters. We now have a much larger, rotating volunteer crew, with up to a dozen people here every single day.”
With cannabis-leaf flags flapping in the breeze, a four meter “Free Marc Emery” banner and other signs decorating the area, plus the large “freedom tent” to protect vigilers from the elements, the vigil is clearly visible to all traffic at the busy three-way intersection.
“The vigil constantly gets honks and shouts of support from passing cars and trucks,” said Larsen. “Many people have come by to personally let us know they back our goals and are glad we’re doing this. We are also steadily gathering signatures for the creation of the Saskatchewan Marijuana Party.”
“This vigil is the longest ongoing marijuana protest I know of,” concluded Larsen. “I don’t think any other pot protest has gone on for more than 40 consecutive days.”
Larsen and Kunka also put on a “Saskatoon Marijuana Freedom Rally” on September 11, with about 500 locals coming out in frigid wind and rain to hear live music, listen to speeches, and support legalization. The rally was held at the same location where Emery was originally arrested in March. Emery was able to give a speech at this rally, through a cel phone plugged into the sound system.
Federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler has already received over 30,000 “Free Marc Emery” postcards signed and mailed in by people from all across Canada, and is expected to receive another 20,000 more signed cards before Emery is released.
Produced by the BC Marijuana Party, these cards call upon the Liberal party to include sharing of small quantities of cannabis as part of their proposed “decriminalization” bill. The cards also remind Cotler of his history as a proponent of human rights and dignity, and urge him to consider marijuana prohibition as a violation of basic human rights.
Federal NDP support
On September 13, federal NDP Leader Jack Layton and House Leader Libby Davies issued a press release opposing the harsh sentence given to Emery. They reaffirmed NDP support for eliminating all penalties for possession, and creating a regulated environment for legal marijuana cultivation and distribution.
Davies added that, due to marijuana prohibition, “lives are ruined because of criminal convictions.” She vowed that the federal NDP will continue to push for elimination of all criminal penalties in regards to marijuana cultivation, sale and use. The press release remains the top item on her website at www.libbydavies.ca.
? Free Marc Emery: www.freemarcemery.com
? Marc Emery prison diary: www.bcmarijuanaparty.ca
? Saskatoon Marijuana Party: www.skmp.ca
? Saskatoon Marijuana Rally: www.cannabisculture.com/articles/3996.html