Calgary, Alberta – Canada’s “Prince of Pot” has joined the ranks of Dolly Parton, Prince Philip and Governor General Michaelle Jean. Arriving at the Calgary airport for a two-day visit Saturday, Canada’s best-known marijuana activist, Marc Emery, was white-hatted by the Calgary airport’s official White Hat Volunteers. “I’m the Prince of Pot,” he said. “That’s a royalty, a monarchy of sorts, so I guess it fits.” Saturday’s warm welcome, arranged by Emery’s supporters, comes in stark contrast to his visit to Calgary in 2003 when Emery was arrested for marijuana possession.
Emery is in Calgary to show his support for medical marijuana crusader Grant Krieger, and to raise both awareness of his extradition proceedings and money for looming court battles. Emery has been arrested 22 times on marijuana-related offences, and jailed 17 times.
He now faces a U.S. extradition hearing on November 5th for selling thousands of marijuana seeds to Americans through his Internet business. Emery’s business partners, Gregory Keith Williams and Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek, were also charged.
About 40 people gathered to hear Emery speak at a No Extradition for the BC3 rally at City Hall on Saturday. “We are hunted down like dogs, like animals,” he said. “Why should someone like Grant Krieger, who wants to see sick and dying people get marijuana, go to jail?”
Krieger, who has multiple sclerosis, is out on bail after he was convicted of drug trafficking in March. The Calgary man had sent two packages of marijuana to people with similar afflictions in Manitoba. On Saturday, Krieger said he was surprised but pleased that the airport had given Emery a white hat welcome. “He truly deserves that hat. He is a freedom fighter,” Krieger said.
Airport spokeswoman Jody Moseley said the airport does not have a policy governing who can receive a white hat welcome. “It has not been necessary to date,” she said.
Mayor Dave Bronconnier said anyone could be white-hatted by any Calgarian if they go out and buy the hat. But he added, “Just because white hats are available … doesn’t mean everyone should get one.”
Alderman Ric McIver said the airport authority should be careful about who is publicly recognized so as not to devalue the symbol, but said he did not know enough about Emery to comment.
Lorn Sheehan, chairman of the board of directors of Calgary Tourism, said Calgary should show hospitality to a broad range of people. “If you white-hat absolutely terrible people, it could devalue (the practice),” he said. “But if this man is walking the streets, he can’t be that terrible.”
– Article from The Calgary Herald
– Calgary Airport Authority’s White Hat Welcome webpage
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