Marc Emery’s US Federal Prison blog #4

I am very pleased to report that I am in good shape, sleeping well, and very busy getting some good work done. Today, Tuesday June 1st, I received six letters from individuals, and about 25 or so from our amazing activist friend Chris Goodwin and supporters at Vapour Central in Toronto, where Chris is manager. Jodie sent me a bunch of photos, which I’m really happy to have! The guys here are impressed by pictures of me with Tommy Chong, ZZ Top, and Sean Paul.

I received today’s New York Times… today! So I’ll get that the day it comes out, which is wonderful, unlike the Seattle Times which comes a day or two business days later. So my mail today was huge: 4 newspapers, one book, an envelope of photos, and about 30+ envelopes with various newspaper clippings, reprints, and letters. I haven’t even had time to open all the mail! Getting photos from Jodie was the most exciting, followed by the fact that I will get the New York Times during the week on the day it’s issued (weekend copies arrive Monday). Other inmates are looking forward to reading the newspapers too, and my books and magazines when I finish them. I’ll bring knowledge and information with me wherever I go!

Send Marc mail in prison!

The meals have actually been very good for the last three days, and I’m looking forward to having the salad on Thursday. Today both lunch and dinner were excellent and I devoured them. Quesadillas for lunch with salsa & beans, they were very hot (physically warm, not spicy), and an excellent ricotta cheese-tomato sauces & spinach lasagna for dinner that was also very fresh and tasty and warm. My no-flesh diet is a great improvement.

Last night, for the first time since being here, I slept from midnight to 5:30am (that’s when we’re let out of our cells). I have difficulty sleeping during normal nighttime hours even at home, so it’s extra frustrating in prison because normally the light from the range comes through the cell door window and it constantly disturbs me from sleeping. But last night my light-blocking sock “eye-mask” really helped me in this regard. The eye mask is made with a sock (one of my standard issue tube socks) and is kept on by a twist-tie that came wrapped around the wire of the radio I bought. I learned about this technique at North Fraser Pretrial in Port Coquitlam back in BC, but didn’t need to use one there. Here, though, it’s been a Godsend (or, as far as a suitable word for an atheist, let’s say ‘earthbound miracle’) and last night I sleep soundly from midnight on.

So, consequently, I’ve been up since 5:30am reading, then I showered, and then printed out fellow inmate Robert’s short profile that I wrote up for him (in addition to the much longer life story, which I am still working on). He’s a 63-year-old black man with a lot of pain and suffering in his life since being in Vietnam. He likes the final short profile so much due to my writing and Jodie’s final edit that he’s going to send a copy to President Obama. It’s about how unjust and unfair it is to let so many war veterans go without help dealing with trauma and mental illness when they get home.

Here’s a quick excerpt: “Over 58,000 US soldiers were killed in Vietnam alone, and since the war ended in May 1975, an additional and staggering 109,000 US Vietnam vets have committed suicide in the last 35 years, approximately eight people each and every day. And nobody ever hears or seems to care.”

Using his recollections, I have drawn up a map of his neighbourhood right down to every store, newsstand and bar for about four blocks in every direction. So when we walk through his neighbourhood in one scene of the longer story, it’ll feel like I’ve been there for years, so the reader should get an intimate sense of the neighbourhood Robert grew up in.

I’m excited because it’s a whole new writing departure for me and it’s a great challenge. Scenes will be Vietnam/Nha-Trang during fighting in 1967 with its daily line-ups of 20-30 soldiers with gonorrhea, kids leaving shoe shine box bombs in the bars for drunken GI’s, suicides, firefights, tremendous fear, prostitutes everywhere, night patrols… that will be contrasted with a typical Sunday in Robert’s West Philly neighbourhood with locals, the stores, the El train, the characters (including Bookies, number runners, the teenage street gang The Moon Gang, the 2 white families that locals were protective of), the row houses, the young Delfonics singing their songs outside the grocery store, the church service — it should convey the gritty feel of what is, in reality, a ghetto, described during the time when Robert was 17 before signing up with the Army. Then it’ll describe his time in jail for drug offenses; 10 of his 43 years since Vietnam have been prison for drugs.

All this will be tied together to make up an interesting story of one man’s life, and Robert is grateful for the genuine interest I have in his personal story. It’ll be like a very short novella, and I believe it will highlight my maturity as a writer beyond political or analytical work.

Everything I write of importance here (as opposed to the “email” messages to Jodie and friends) is done in longhand first in my notebooks, and then typed up from there on the prison computer (a very basic computer with no access to anything but CorrLinks “email” messaging system) as a second draft, and then I review and edit it, then send it to Jodie usually with 1 to 2 minutes left before I am “timed out” after the one-hour limit on the computer. She sends it back to me after her edit (she’s great at editing, that’s why I hired her at Cannabis Culture in February 2005!) and then I can print it here. I’m behind in my book review of Parchman Farms and Mississippi chain gangs, but I will get back to that eventually.

I’m really looking forward to getting more pictures from my lover, wife, greatest friend and cosmically ordained partner, Mrs. Jodie Emery. I wrote her a true love letter the other day; she knows how madly in love I am with her, but I wanted to express in words how much she means to me. I was so impressed with her May 22nd interview on the Chorus Radio Network all across Canada, on the Roy Green Show, which I believe is the most-listened-to radio show in Canada. Jodie’s sister Tracy spent a long time transcribing the 20-minute interview with Jodie and the remaining 40 minutes of callers and the host’s commentary. The host was Rob Breakenridge, who filled in for Roy; he’s an intelligent man who condemns big government and prohibition while still maintaining and appealing to his traditionally-conservative listener base. If there ever was a brilliant interview done that’s perfect from beginning to end, it’s that one Jodie did, and the text should be posted online soon. That was a stunning job, complete tour de force, as the French might say.

Jodie told me that someone posted an old song on her Facebook profile called “Jodie” by Canadian musician Joe Gregorash. Apparently Joey explains on his website:

The song “Jodie” was written in around 1969/70 and was the name that I used to describe anybody that wanted peace, freedom and harmony in the world. Instead of a “Hippie”… you’re a “Jodie”!

What a great song, and song meaning — check out the lyrics, below. I knew my girl was all about freedom and choice. I’m sure glad my Jodie picked me!

“Jodie” by Joey Gregorash

Jodie is a good name,
For people who are free,
‘Cause Jodie stands for freedom,
Whatever Jodie be.

Now Jodie may have long hair,
Or different coloured skin,
But these things don’t mean nothin’,
If freedoms’ happenin’

Ride ride, ride on down the highway,
Ride ride, freedoms in the air,
Don’t cry, when livin’ feels like dyin’,
Don’t cry, yeah sing like Jodie.

Jodie is just people,
People everywhere,
They’re singin’ out for freedom,
Let singin’ fill the air.

Ride ride, ride on down the highway,
Ride ride, freedoms in the air,
Don’t cry, when livin’ feels like dyin’,
Don’t cry, yeah sing like Jodie!

Marc Emery
Marc Emery

Marc Emery is a Canadian cannabis activist, entrepreneur, and politician. Known to his fans as the Prince of Pot, Emery has been a notable advocate of international cannabis policy reform for decades. Marc is the founding publisher of Cannabis Culture and Pot TV.



  1. Anonymous on

    Jack Layton for PM. Case closed.

    Hang tough Marc… Harper is gone.

  2. Anonymous on

    marci am truely sorry what my filthy gov did to you.right now in colorado med pot is booming. bigger than canada.selling clones and everything.let my prince go and live your life.the pot that is reaching all parts of the us is med pot from colo and can they enforce your extradition when they cant even keep the chickens in their own back yard

  3. latvian on

    We have much less freedom in our country, but thank you for doing the right thing! Take care! Sorry for my english… 🙂

  4. Anonymous on

    in the spirit of your comments… you are too ignorant to know how to read.
    the second commenter explicitly stated that many soldiers in the vietnam war were forced to join by the draft. and clearly drew the distinction between them as compared to people who choose, volunteer, eagerly join the military nowadays.
    nobody is “forced” to VOLUNTEER for the military. they do it for money, for fun, because they believe in invading arab countries, because they like to kill, etc.
    and i could care less if these people have families, etc. or if they also smoke weed and try to get it legalized, the fact is, they are war criminals if they volunteer for war, if they profit from war, and if they don’t do everything possible to AVOID serving in the military of the usa and canada, both of which are imperialist countries as is the UK.
    I have no sympathy for people who get injured while killing civiilans and invading small countries.
    Karma is real, and you will have your karma for not having the brains to read before you spout, and for not realizing that just as we judge child molesters, rapists and other creeps. we have a right and a duty to condemn those who in the last 10 years have chosen to carry a gun for Bush, Harper, Blair and Obama!!!
    Get a conscience, get some courage.

  5. Spanner McNeil on

    The Prohibitionist is in the same category as a white supremacist or an anti-Semite. Their views are without defense and their actions deadly and dangerous.

  6. Anonymous on

    Both of you are too ignorant to know anything…

    Many of the people sent to Vietnam were enlisted… no choice. Sometimes the people with lesser education didn’t really have the ability or money to flee or go to school like the rich professor’s children did.

    It isn’t exactly their fault they were forced to join, train, and serve. They were being citizens. Upon returning, there was such a high percentage of mental illness and PTSD that was never treated.

    Please remember these are PEOPLE… They have children, mothers, fathers, family, and friends. And many of their Vietnam vets are people helping you cause of ending marijuana prohibition….

    If karma was real… I think both of you would have something coming for judging others.

  7. Sad world we live in... on

    Mark I commend you for what you are doing and will do for Americans as well as anyone who doesn’t believe in the prohibition of a plant called Cannabis sativa.

    I couldn’t agree with you more on the subject of how our (America) country gave up on our U.S. Veterans. It is actually too fresh to my heart as with the profession I am in, I recently dealt with a family who’s loved one took their life. I was told ever since he returned from Vietnam he was never the “same” as before he left – living as a recluse and by himself. To not go into too much detail… our government has let so many people down who have served their country – most of the time it is health issues (as well as never giving them what they deserve). Mark Emery you have a chance to do even more than help end prohibition of a plant, you have the opportunity to open more eyes… Although, sometimes I think we choose to not open our eyes because this was small town America here and it happened here – remember we are taught our country is the best there is and it will do everything it can for you…

    You have my support. God Bless!

  8. Anonymous on

    It’s sad but true, when people volunteer to go serve the imperial armies invading other people’s countries, torturing, killing civilians, imposing US-Canadian capitalism on them, thinking it’s gonna be like a video game, and then they get injured or go crazy from the guilt…that’s their karma, and I have a hard time feeling compassion for them because they CHOSE to harm other people and he who lives by the sword dies by the sword. Vietnam era veterans were forced into war. I admire the ones who fled to Canada. But today’s USA and Canadian soldiers volunteer to do dirty deeds done dirt cheap in other countries, and they are not defending our “freedoms,” they are servants of the empire. If they apologize for having been soldiers and work now for peace to make amends for their military service, I can feel better about them. Otherwise, they get what they deserve. Marc Emery is a hero. A guy who gets paid blood money to invade Afghanistan wearing a uniform is a war criminal.

  9. plink on

    When some nutter tops himself after a killing spree it’s not suprising. His problems didn’t go away, whether he shot communists or his own kids.

  10. Legalizer2010 on

    posted by Eric Nygren on Friday, June 4th, 2010 at 1:05 pm
    With 5% of the world’s population, the United States today boasts 25% of its prison population. Despite declining crime rates in the last three decades (even in the midst of our current recession), rates of incarceration in the U.S. have been stunning. The Economist recently called this trend “a disgrace.”

    Even more staggering has been the racial dispararity in the people our nation incarcerates.

    In her new book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Ohio State University legal scholar Michelle Alexander cogently considers the tidal wave of incarceration that has swept America in the past 30 years. She says mass incarceration has created a “new racial undercaste” which, although race-neutral on its face, has sharply greater impacts on people of color. “A human rights nightmare is occurring on our watch,” Alexander asserts; if we avert our gaze, “history will judge us harshly.”

    Consider, for example, these facts:

    The U.S. presently incarcerates a greater percentage of its black population than South Africa did during the height of its apartheid regime.
    More black citizens are disenfranchised today than on the eve of the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, which gave African Americans the right to vote in 1870.
    The racial disparities in the criminal justice system have been most dramatic in the execution of the “war on drugs.” Multiple studies have consistently shown similar rates of drug use across racial and ethnic lines; people of color, however, are arrested, prosecuted, and incarcerated at steeply greater rates. These inequities are most visibly manifested in the perverse 100 to 1 disparity in sentencing for offenses related to crack and powder cocaine.

    Whatever one thinks of Professor Alexander’s thesis, however, it is impossible to deny the costs of America’s incarceration boom, both in dollars and human lives.

    Incarceration is phenomenally expensive, and our spending on prisons is rapidly outpacing critical social needs such as education. In Washington alone we spend nearly a billion dollars annually on corrections. Overincarceration also has devastating effects on families. As one recent comprehensive report on prison conditions noted: “What happens inside jails and prisons does not stay inside jails and prisons. It comes home with prisoners after they are released and with corrections officers at the end of each day’s shift. When people live and work in facilities that are unsafe, unhealthy, unproductive, or inhumane, they carry the effects home with them.”

    All of us want to be safe. Despite consistently decreasing rates of crime, however, our nation continues to shovel huge amounts of resources into an inequitable, ineffective system of mass incarceration. Fortunately, many people, including some in the U.S. Congress, are beginning to examine ways to make our criminal justice system better.”

  11. Anonymous on

    Hey, unless this guy is affiliated with you, he is taking away your name Cannabis Culture on his website:

    Also, this guy who keeps posting about “cambodea,” and thc ministry he is just trying to get $$$, and the letters DEA in his email address scare the shit out of me.

    Marc is standing strong. People, don’t use Marc’s blog or website or magazine name to market your crapola!! Have some respect for Marc and Jodie!!

  12. persecutedinalberni on

    Nice jodie song Marc fits her just fine doesn’t it,very nice.

    Robert should be feel lucky to have you as a roomie after all I had no idea that many vietnam vets have taken their own life,that’s sickening.

    Alot of people are watching you and what you say so you bring attention to the things that are kept hidden and quite or at least things not discussed openly by society.

    Amazing Marc ,you are a voice not just for we who are NOT behind bars but also for those who are.

    Good work mark but it also reminds me of the time many years ago I was a dish washer at a big resort,my counters were spottless and clean even at rush hour because I was very good at it.

    My waiters and and waitresses loved me because when they came in with dirty dishes I took it straight from their hands and into the dishwasher it went.

    They gave me tips and free beers but I found out later that I had a hard time advancing to better jobs because the waiters/waitresses made sure I was kept there. lol

    So remember Marc you don’t want them to like you to much or they will never let you leave.

  13. Anonymous on

    What about R. v. Long, then? Anyone? Jodie?

  14. thecommonprostitute on

    It is true. I have been filing my taxes for 6 years as an “escort/prostitute/entertainer”. Yes, I am really a prostitute.

    The CRA is not a law enforcement agency. Their only mandate is to collect taxes. They only contact law enforcement if you avoid paying taxes or commit tax fraud. Therefore, there is absolutely no risk to one for claiming their taxes no matter what they declare their profession to be.

  15. Anonymous on

    That seems like something that needs looking into then. I find that rather shocking if true. Do you have any links to this information as fact?

    Thanks for the reply. I’m just wondering for my peace of mind.

    Noname guy.

  16. tox on

    In Canada, tax forms are private information and it is illegal for the Canada Revenue Agency to disclose any information, even to the police. Also, as the agency themself says, Revenue from any kind of work is taxable, even money got from a murder contract. Someone paid to kill someone and that would not pay taxes, if caught, would be in trouble with the Canada Revenue Agency and would have to pay taxes and fines. So, someone filling is tax form and declaring to be a murderer and having been paid 100 000$ for it would have to pay taxes for it like anybody else with another job, and his private informations would be kept confidential. It is the law. (p.s. i’m french so there might be a few weird wordings)

  17. ray christl THC Ministry on

    Maybe he’s been profiled,but we learned long ago(thanks JACK ),yet Thomas states that WE have a miracle food in the seeds- achene -nut of hemp and other forgotten fruits across the USA believing in our gift.Mr. James sells THC-FREE-HEMP from that liberal far flung state CANADA on radical USA radio network bringing ex-BUSH people to our anonymity. They use there names and VOTE their propaganda beliefs. We stay in the grow closet or smoke-in anonymous JODIE SHOW.Love you all,yet our rants do little to educate the HARPER VOTERS.My ramblings may not be your cup of tea, and in [email protected] few try comprehending.The miracle is in the indehisdence of the hull-bran sealing in that fruit gift,that the Buddha fasted on ONE per day over SIX years towards ENLIGHTENMENT.HEAL PEOPLE!!!Magnesium is in the seed balance gift preventing CANCER.

  18. Anonymous on

    I read from a letter in the Times Colonist a few weeks ago that Marc was required to pay taxes on the seed exporting and that the letter writer felt that someone who was aware of the business and taking taxes should also be subject to extradition. So far I have not heard much on that side of the story but it does make me wonder how you can collect tax on something if you deem it illegal. If it is not illegal and no crime has been committed then how can you assist in an illegal extradition. Someone please tell me if this is indeed fact or fiction. (re taxes).


    “Rather not give my name” guy.

  19. Peter Bidlake on

    God love you man for what you are doing, I think of you everyday and think how lucky I am to be able to walk around free; you are doing all of this for everyone else not yourself; you are my hero. Thanks Marc and thanks too to Jodie.
    Peter Bidlake

  20. anonymous on

    Probably not.
    Really informative pyscho-rambling though!!!!!!!!!


  21. Jodie on

    I post Marc’s blogs for him. He is unable to use the real Internet, so he will not see the comments posted here or anywhere online. The only way to have him see your message is for you to mail it to him… so please do!

  22. spring on

    heres my website by the way
    If you must break the law, do it to
    seize power: in all other cases observe it. – Julius Ceasar

  23. ray christl on

    Have Thomas James send a bucket 25 lbs of super food.NON-VIABLE ok VIABLE EMBRYO must be murderd by the SEED NAZI-DEA–not a logical fallacy since they bellicose the WAR ON BIOLOGY as legal mandate and treaty.History of the world forgotten until Jack HERER RIP wrote that book to open a LOVE PORTAL.Professors?DEAD BOOKS since few read and politically impotent,and all the pot activist Ph.D’s make DEMS listen now? Pastor mostly gullible do-gooder or greedy pimp.Police authority is corrupt and CIA_MAFIA directed.Business patriot is a gun fetish silly nilly since modern revolution is impossible since conspiracy let alone trying to revolt is TERRORISM.IDIOT FODDER for the hyperbole of Alex Jones SHOW,atleast he knows CIA-MAFIA SWAT buying the kleptocacy.ZERO LEADERSHIP in any institution of learning. MEDIA STOOGE as a corporate mouthpiece,Journalist as a corporate obsfuscation of liberty.HIPPIE against pot freedom .WOW Richard Lee has my respect,need money to make it worth the effort.

  24. spring on

    hey marc
    never got to know ya or buy any seeds from ya would of been nice lol
    i just wanted to tell you that your a inspiration and i appreciate what your doing to help my civil rights and the burden you take upon yourself i live in arkansas and it sucks here scenerys nice but most people are antipot but we have a election and in honor the movement ive made a website and currently am about as public as i can get without them kicking my door in
    I wanted to write you a physical letter but i figured you might read this quicker thanks hope to hear from ya
    spring in arkansas

  25. grower girls on

    Thank goodness that they let Marc choose a flesh free diet. The food seems to be better when its vegetarian in prisons and on airplanes.
    I send my love to Marc and jodie! I am still appalled that the u.s., my country since birth is persecuting the prince of pot and the Canadians are bending over and taking it. Not cool north America!

    Free Marc Emery!

    BTW, what a great meaning behind jodies name. Suits her well….