VANCOUVER – Marc Emery will stay on as president of the B.C. Marijuana Party while in a U.S. prison.
The pot activist announced earlier this week that he plans to plead guilty to one of three drug-related charges against him — one count of distributing marijuana — in a Seattle courtroom in August.
He likely will be sentenced in September or October.
Despite the possibility that he’ll be in prison for anywhere for three to six years, Emery said he can continue to run the party.
“It’ll be affected by my absence but I’ll still be president and party leader,” Emery said.
He said the party will keep on as it has, supporting the Green Party at the provincial level and supporting Green and NDP candidates in the next federal election.
Gary Mauser, who has taught courses on marketing in politics at Simon Fraser University, said the media attention earned by Emery’s incarceration could benefit the party.
“Minor parties live and die by the headlines,” Mauser said. “The more headlines they get, the more votes they get.” If Emery is in prison for an extended amount of time, however, it could hurt the party, Mauser said.
“The fact that he’s in jail means he can’t campaign and he can’t be flamboyant,” he said.
Emery said his supporters — including his wife Jodie Emery — are disappointed by his plan to plead guilty but realize it was the best option.
Emery was facing extradition to the United States on the charges, which relate to a mail-order business selling marijuana seeds to people in the U.S. and Canada from 1998 to 2005.
He said the prosecutor probably will ask for five to eight years but his lawyers will try to get a lower sentence. He concedes that he will probably spend some time in a U.S. prison.
“I’m resigned,” Emery said. “I’m just prepping for everything.”
That includes making sure Jodie is prepared to run their business, Cannabis Culture Magazine, which includes a website, a YouTube T.V. network called POT-TV and an online store.
Jodie faces a number of challenges, including struggles with the City of Vancouver over the business licence.
She said she is nervous because Marc has handled most of the business dealings up until now.
“He understands all that,” Jodie said. “Whereas I need a little encouragement to not get dismayed.”
But mostly she is upset at the thought of losing her partner even though she understands why he intends to plead guilty.
“I’m spending a lot of time trying not to think about it,” she said. “But I’d rather have him back in five years than not seeing him again.”
Jodie plans to run in the next federal election on behalf of the Green Party in Vancouver South, against current MP Ujjal Dosanjh.
She was the Green Party candidate for Vancouver-Fraserview in the B.C. provincial election of May 2009, but lost to Liberal Kash Heed, who was appointed solicitor general Wednesday.
– Article from the Times Colonist