Prince of Pot Bids Freedom, Calgary Adieu

Marc Emery — best known to Canadians for smoking massive joints at pro-cannabis legalization rallies and taking bong hits before defending the plant at news conferences — visited Calgary on Sun., July 5, as part of his farewell tour.

Emery’s visit marked what will likely be the last time he is here before being extradited to the United States on drug-related charges.

“I want to give out everybody’s marching orders so that more are active and my time in jail is not so bad,” said Emery. “One of the things I used to remember from being in Saskatoon Correctional — three months for passing one joint — was that you get a lot of ‘Oh man, it must suck to be in prison.’ You never need to write someone in prison and say that. So one of the things I like is when all the activists write me while I’m in prison and tell me ‘I was doing this to make pot legal.’

“[The tour is] mostly to give them instructions and effective ways to make me happy while I’m gone,” Emery continued, semi-jokingly.

As the publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, B.C. Marijuana Party leader and the namesake of the Marc Emery Seed Company, few people have had as much interaction with the Canadian cannabis subculture as the 51-year-old.

Emery’s Calgary speech detailed the potential impact of new legislation such as the recently-passed Bill C-15, which adds mandatory minimums for drug offenders, while discussing some of the insights and memories gained during two decades defending the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis. Emery also addressed topics ranging from LSD use in Major League Baseball to the importance of fatherhood in preventing drug abuse.

Emery is in the process of being extradited to the U.S. on drug-related charges, something he has fought vociferously against. Along with medicinal cannabis activists Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams, he is accused of selling marijuana seeds to Americans and initially faced an enormous sentence in U.S. jails on charges similar to that of a drug kingpin.

Emery believes he is being politically persecuted for his actions, citing a Vancouver event in December 2002 where he and others heckled then-U.S. Drug czar John Walters, and further argues he operated Emery Seeds in compliance with Canadian law — even going so far as to explicitly declare income from marijuana seeds on his taxes.

At one point, Emery alleged Health Canada even referred patients looking for high-quality cannabis genetics to Emery’s organization. After the No Extradition publicity campaign failed to generate any sympathy from the Conservative Government, Emery entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, which would have seen him spend a mixed term in American and Canadian jails. This was rejected by the Canadian government, forcing Emery back to the bargaining table and causing him to believe the Canadian Department of Justice wishes to use him as an example.

Despite the gloom surrounding his trials Emery was upbeat and optimistic, rallying supporters and encouraging them to oppose the recently-passed Bill C-15 at the senatorial level. Emery finds the bill troublesome as it adds mandatory minimums for first-time offenders and says it will accomplish little but fill Canadian prisons with young people, as he believes mandatory minimums have done in the U.S.

“A mid-level or high-level dealer is going to get one to three years anyway, so the only people [Bill C-15 is] really going to effect are young people who sell to their friends,” said Emery. “That’s how we all become dealers, right? Four of us want to buy some weed, three of us have money, one person has a connection . . . He begins to pay for his own stash through dealing. Those are the people — because it’s a conspiracy of three or more people — who are going to go to jail for six months, one year, two years. If you’re near a school it’s double, if it’s your second or third offence, it’s double.”

– Article from The Gauntlet on July 16, 2009.


1 Comment

  1. Freedom Fighters on

    Along time ago we had no rights that today people take so easily for granted, to find a Bong was a treasure because the Law made these simple items contraband and you only had rolling papers and your own creativity. It was people like Marc Emery who is the frontier of these times that people so easily take for granted simply do not think of and the fact that it is possible to go backwards once more and lose what precious freedoms we’ve gained this far.

    People like Marc Emery come only once in a rare lifetime to be able to see the world and effectively make changes in areas that help causes and has shown to be an amazing motivator, while sharing us knowledge, enough for us all who sat in our closets in fear of our Government while he taught, “You are not alone, Knowledge is their to defend with real truths”. So people like me and others who want to reach out and help that one person in the crowd to save someone but can’t, won’t or just don’t know how to help that person or even themselves. Marc is that one person, no matter what the criticisms out their may be, The screaming voice coming from the crowd yelling for help that everyone ignores and walks by, Marc reached out and so many others became strengthened and appeared from the crowd ready to help, when just before they stood in apprehension saying to themselves “What can I do?”

    It takes that one Leader from the crowd and soon you have the movement but if that one person never steps forward then it becomes the same repetitive sad story of, what can I do and nothing gets done. Marc said I know what to do and now he’s taking the bullet for being on that front line for us and it seems to me to be pretty honorable when the funds that he received went back to our cause and has nothing to his name to show for it but our memories and how we remember him. Sure Marc might have had multiple personal reasons which gave him his push but no one can say they have reached in this country as far as Marc has for changing the many Ignorant peoples minds from old misinformation of lies to the now we know inalienable rights and truths. This Man gave it all away and is possibly about to lose many years and we will look back and see what he sacrificed just to make it so we the people don’t have to hide like we are ashamed and instead yell I am a better person because of Cannabis. I am thankful to Marc Emery who showed me I am not alone and I should not be ashamed but be proud to choose a safer healthier lifestyle from the ones that Society forces upon us by limiting us.

    So when Marc does come back, hopefully; someone will stand at the front line trying to make changes on our behalf until that day and see it might take bigger shoes then they ever thought possible.

    Sorry to put you way up high on that pedestal Marc but someone has to be up their or there would be no Gandhi or Luther Martin King and you have that job for our cause in this country to help take away the draconian Laws that hold us down and I hope we remember this when he comes back and we may find that after time we have already lost Marc this day forever because prison does change you on the inside and could damage our Leader.

    Thanks again Marc for what you are giving up; I hope you know you did reach many and you did take away the frustrations and fears by giving us truer knowledge, a lot of us are no longer alone in our lives thinking maybe society is right and we are bad people. We all now stand a little taller because you gave us weapons of Mass Knowledge and now we can be armed with more truth than the deception imposed on us by our Governments.
    Thank you and God bless you, MARC EMERY.

    Please give till it hurts if you can and try and make Marcs stay a little less like hell.