The Bong Goodbye

What’s a farewell pot party like for one of the world’s most wanted? Or as the guest of honour puts it, “one of the top 50 biggest badasses!”

It turns out: a little sombre, a little giggly and full of smoke.

More than 100 people shared blunts and fond memories at the goodbye party for Marc Emery, the infamous Prince of Pot, on July 16 in Vapor Central’s lounge at Yonge and Bloor.

Toronto’s just one stop on Emery’s farewell tour across Canada, with over a dozen events planned from Calgary to Nunavut.

“I’ve been called the most significant threat to the U.S. from Canada,” says Emery. “It’s kind of flattering.”

The Prince could be behind bars in an unknown U.S. penitentiary as soon as September, extradited to the States for selling mail-?order pot seeds to U.S. and Canadian customers.

Four million dollars’ worth over 10 years, to be exact. And those tiny brown kernels sprouted into pot worth over $2.2 billion, claim American authorities. Still, it was all done completely in the open. Emery paid taxes on his profits – over $600,000 since 1999, he says. He even declared his occupation as “marijuana seed seller.”

As for those fat profits, he says he didn’t keep a cent. They went to ballot initiatives, election campaigns, court challenges, medical user legal fees, conferences and events all over the world. He claims to have funded half the activities of the pro-?marijuana movement in Canada between 1995 and 2005, and up to 10 per cent of the U.S. movement.

“There are a hundred other seed sellers all selling at way greater levels than he ever did,” says Chris Goodwin, owner of Vapor Central. “Why have they never been arrested? Because they shut up. They bought a boat or a house. Marc’s profits all went back into the movement.”

From the stage, Emery booms preacher-?like: “You are free human beings who are entitled to take marijuana, who are entitled to think for yourselves.”

As the night goes on, bongs and plastic bottles pile up on the tables. It’s hot as hell inside, and nearly everyone is dripping sweat, but dedicated “emeroids” stay long after the speeches, crowding around for photos and hugs.

I spot medical marijuana advocate Matt Mernagh, who tells me, “This one time, we were sitting in his living room and Marc was cutting up watermelon. This helicopter, I swear to god, flashed a big spotlight into the apartment and lit up the room.”

You get used to this kind of thing hanging around Emery, says Mernagh.

His life is the stuff of leafy legend.In total, he’s been arrested 17 times. But amazingly, until now his harshest sentence was three months jail in Saskatchewan in 2004 for passing a joint.

“I didn’t want to accept this deal,” says Emery, who agreed to surrender in exchange for a five-year prison sentence. “I wanted to hold out, fight. But I also didn’t want my wife to have to see me die in prison.”

The fight’s not over, he says, calling on supporters to vote, stage protests and generally “fuck shit up.”

“I’ve never had a moment of fear or doubt,” says Emery. “I’m not afraid of jail. And I’m not afraid of my own destiny – whatever that is.”

– Article from NOW Toronto.