On Monday, October 18, Cannabis Culture publisher and marijuana activist Marc Emery was released from the Saskatoon Correctional Centre after serving 62
days behind bars. He is now once again a free man.
Emery had been sentenced to 92 days on August 19, for passing a single joint while gathered with some university students in Saskatoon’s Kiwanis Memorial Park (CC#52, Emery, incarcerated). As with any prisoners who exhibit good behavior, Emery was released after serving two-thirds of his sentence.
The missing suit
Emery’s first moments of freedom began ignominiously, as prison officials scrambled to find the Armani suit Emery had been wearing at his arrival to the prison. Emery had worn his best suit for his court appearance and sentencing, and it had been taken by prison guards and put into storage along with the rest of his personal possessions. But upon Emery’s release the suit was missing, and after a 45-minute search the guards admitted the expensive garment could not be found.
Embarrassed guards told Emery that they would eventually find the suit, or that Corrections Saskatchewan would compensate him for it. After a week, the suit finally turned up, and guards had it shipped back to Emery.
Media and celebration
Regardless of his missing wardrobe, the newly-freed Emery immediately gave an interview to CBC TV in heavy snowfall outside the prison entrance, then bundled into a waiting cab to spend an hour on a popular Saskatchewan talk radio show.
Emery then came down to the public vigil in his honor that was celebrating its final day across from the provincial courthouse where Emery had been sentenced. In the heavy snow and winds, Emery hugged and thanked the dozen gathered Vigil Keepers.
“I am honored and deeply moved by the devotion you have shown to me and our movement, by selflessly keeping this vigil and watching my back while I remained behind bars,” Emery told those who had maintained the vigil for 56 days. “I will be back here again, to campaign hard for the Saskatchewan Marijuana Party. I will not cease in my work to help bring Saskatchewan, and all of Canada, into the light of tolerance and freedom for our culture and our people.”
Emery then knelt in the snow and kissed the cannabis-leaf Canadian flag that had been flying over the vigil.
“I kiss this flag because it perfectly represents our goals with this movement,” said Emery. “The tolerance and idealism of the Canadian nation, combined with the beauty, utility and majesty of the cannabis plant and our wonderful culture.”
Emery gave more interviews to the gathered media, explaining his insights into why the prison system needs to be completely overhauled, and how the persecution of the marijuana culture parallels the persecution of jews, blacks, witches, and other scapegoated groups throughout history. Then the vigil was packed up for the last time, and Emery took his friends and allies to a celebratory lunch.
Emery spent most of his first day of freedom talking to the media, doing a variety of interviews with regional and national TV, radio and newspapers. In the evening, Emery gathered with the Vigil Keepers and other supporters at a secret location, where fine food was consumed, copious cannabis was smoked, and further plans were made for the creation of the Saskatchewan Marijuana Party.
Words of thanks
The next day, Emery returned to Vancouver, and was soon back in his regular place at the BC Marijuana Party Headquarters. He enjoyed a warm reception and celebration from his co-workers, friends and loved ones.
“I am glad to be out of jail and back where I belong, among my friends and family and the community we have created together,” said Emery. “But I expect that I will probably go to jail again in the future, as I continue to battle this vicious pogrom against our peaceful culture.”
Emery said that he started writing two books while imprisoned, and that he learned a great deal by seeing prison life from the inside. “I saw first-hand why our prison system is counter-productive and should be completely abolished. I also studied the lives of other freedom-fighters like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. I have crystallized my ideology and I understand my mission now better than ever before. Nothing will ever stop my devotion to freeing our culture and ending the war on marijuana!”