Spreading The Word

Marc Emery came to Thunder Bay as part of his farewell tour before he goes to prison in the United States. (Photo by Jeff Labine)Marc Emery came to Thunder Bay as part of his farewell tour before he goes to prison in the United States. (Photo by Jeff Labine)Marc Emery is making sure his looming stint in a United States federal institution isn‘t going to affect his cause.

The marijuana activist known as the Prince of Pot was in Thunder Bay on Sunday for a stop on his cross-country Farewell Tour. He is spending the time leading up to his incarceration in the fall making sure his message gets out so others will be ready to take up the fight.

“These tours are designed to inspire people to replace me,” Emery, 51, said at the Kakabeka Legion. “We have a minority government, and an election‘s coming really soon, and the one problem is pot people, typically, are cynical about voting. They don‘t think it accomplishes anything.

“And they may be right, but the alternative is certainty that nothing good is going to happen. If you vote, maybe nothing good will happen, but the likelihood is if we all voted, we probably would have some say. We would probably have some impact, and we would begin to neutralize the vote of the very elderly, who are opposed to (legalizing marijuana).”

The inspiration Emery spoke of Sunday afternoon was to come back Sunday evening, when he and his wife Jodie were to give a two- to three-hour, wide-ranging talk about what he‘s been up to, his pending prison time, ending marijuana prohibition, and general appreciation of the marijuana culture.

But Emery was working to inspire everyone he could even before his 6 p.m. speech, walking the grounds at the Kakabeka Legion and speaking with the multitude of supporters he‘s got in the Thunder Bay area.

Emery said he always makes sure he‘s the last one there, so if anyone has a question before or after his speech, he‘s available.

He said Thunder Bay‘s stop on the tour was the biggest so far, with 250 tickets sold. In all, 33 cities will be visited over the course of the summer, Emery said.

And then, he‘s gone to the United States where he‘ll likely serve just over four years as a result of a plea agreement.
The case stems from his 2005 arrest on drug charges. Emery‘s Vancouver-based mail order business sold pot seeds to U.S. customers, and was raided by Canadian police after a request by U.S. authorities.

Emery fought extradition for a while, then decided serving time under a deal was better than the alternative.

“It‘ll be a maximum of four years and two months if I stay the entire time there, and if I get transferred back to Canada, I could be out on full parole in about two years,” Emery said. “I‘ll admit to one count of distributing marijuana as seeds.”

In return, three charges relating to an alleged conspiracy to grow and distribute marijuana, and money laundering, will be dropped, Emery said.

All that, the well-spoken Emery said, could‘ve resulted in 25 years in prison and a $1-million fine. And if he were to get that fine, any chance of being transferred to another prison, such as one in Canada, is gone, Emery said.

“Get this . . . 1.1 million pounds of marijuana, they‘re attributing to me in their statement to the court,” Emery said. “And what they‘ve done is they‘ve taken all my seeds, and estimated how much would‘ve come from each seed.

“They say 100,000 pounds every year I was in business,” said Emery, who was in business 11 years. “They estimate that‘s worth US$3 billion. So that makes me the largest trafficker in the history of the criminal justice system, according to them.”

So it‘s less jail time, but it‘s still jail time.

But through it all, Emery never, ever stopped fighting for what he believes in.

“I love doing this,” he said. “I grew up in the ‘60s thinking this is the best thing you can do, is fight for the oppressed, the underdog, against the government who has all the money, all the power, all the laws. I‘m quite convinced I was destined for this.”

He‘s been arrested 23 times for pot-related charges, and also for other activities such as selling copies of a 2 Live Crew album which was banned in Ontario when it was deemed obscene.

These days, though, marijuana laws are his focus.

He said current laws are punishing the wrong people.

The big-time and mid-level dealers go to jail anyway, Emery said. But the smaller users or sellers – say, a young person selling a bit of pot – are getting hit with jail time, too, which leaves them vulnerable.

“What happens when you go to jail is you join gangs,” Emery said. “All the prisons in this country are run by gangs.”
He said new inmates are intimidated into joining a gang for various reasons such as protection, and access to amenities like phones, food or floor space.

But the problem is, once a person joins, they‘re in, and that means getting involved in gang-related activity on the outside, which is potentially violent.

“We‘ve had 19 murders in Vancouver this year, all gang-related,” Emery said. “If we had an end to (marijuana) prohibition, this year, I tell you, we would‘ve had a zero murder rate.

“On the one hand, it shows how civilized we really are, and yet we manufacture crime by these laws.”

Emery‘s speech Sunday was recorded, and will be broadcast on LU radio in the coming days, organizers said.

– Article from The Chronicle Journal

Prince of Pot visits Thunder Bay

by Jeff Labine, tbnewswatch

Mark Emery is facing extradition to a United States prison so he’s gathering support in a nation wide farewell tour.

Emery is a publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine and a activist for the controversial plant. He readily speaks out for Cannabis and sells seeds on his website. He and his wife are touring Canada as a farewell and to gather support for him to serve his sentence in Canada.

“I’m going to jail,” said Emery on Sunday. “I’m here to give people their marching orders as to what they should be doing while I’m gone to get this prohibition ended.”

He is facing three charges; two are drug related and the other is money laundering. Emery said the money laundering charges were related to a $4 million donation to charities, political parties and other activities.

“It’s very peculiar. The Americans are saying I am the number one drug kingpin in all of Canada. It’s just seeds and it is five years in a Federal prison. I won’t even be with people who speak English.”

Emery said he purchases his seeds from Canadian farmers and then sells them online. Emery said because he is from Canada, he will be considered an alien and will be placed with other foreigners. He said he believes most of the inmates will be speaking Spanish so he plans on learning some.

“Last year the American Government and I agreed I would plead guilty to save my two co-accused. (That way) I would spend five years in a Canadian jail. The Canadian government didn’t agree to that and now I have a five year deal that I will serve in a U.S. penitentiary.”

Approximately 200 people showed up to the event. It was held at the Royal Canadian Legion Kakabeka Falls and Rural District Branch on Sunday. Nine bands provided music for the various people who showed up to say goodbye. Jodie Emery, BC candidate for the Green Party and Mark’s wife, came with him on his tour.

“It’s very distressing and very depressing when I do focus (on him going to prison),”said Jodie. “It makes me feel a lot better that there are a lot of people who will come out to events like this.”

Jodie said their lawyer is still working on the case to keep him in Canada. The two will be leaving Thunder Bay on Monday.

– Article from tbnewswatch.