Silencing a Political Prisoner: Marc Emery Released From Solitary After Three Weeks

CANNABIS CULTURE – Imprisoned cannabis activist Marc Emery has been released from solitary confinement after spending three weeks in a small cell, 24-hours-a-day, with little human contact.

He has lost over 15 pounds since being moved from his regular cell on June 3 after unknowingly breaking a prison rule by recording a telephone message to his supporters.

Emery’s supporters view the punishment as an excuse to silence a successful political activist who has been a thorn in the side of government officials and drug policy makers for years.

On Thursday, June 3, officials at the SeaTac Federal Detention Center in Washington gave Emery an official citation for allowing his wife, BC Green Party Director-at-Large Jodie Emery, to record a message from him over the phone, claiming it broke the prison’s rule forbidding third-party calls. Emery was locked in a Segregated Housing Unit (SHU) and denied access to books, television, the telephone, or contact with his wife and family.

On June 24, an internal “disciplinary hearing” was held for Emery. The Disciplinary Hearing Officer said he realized that Emery didn’t know he was breaking a rule (as it wasn’t explicitly stated in the rule book), but told him he can’t do third-party political lobbying over the phone. Emery has been denied phone access until July 25, but is allowed access to electronic mail and to have visits.

“I’m just so relieved not to be in the torturous SHU unit,” Emery wrote in his latest blog post at Cannabis Culture. “That’s plain mind-bending, being in isolation.”

Emery’s attorney Rick Troberman says he thought the prison’s reaction was “completely overblown” and “unusual”. “There was nothing in the conversation that was derogatory about the Federal Detention Center or his current situation or anything else,” he told CC. “Why they’re choosing to make such a big deal of it is, frankly, a mystery to me.”

Troberman said prison officials seemed upset that several Emery supporters had staged a small protest “inside the lobby” of the Federal Detention Center and probably wanted to send a message to the activist.

Emery is currently awaiting sentencing after being extradited to the US by the Conservative government of Canada. Emery was raided and arrested by the US DEA and Vancouver police in 2005 for selling marijuana seeds over the Internet and using the money to fund activism.

Many see Emery’s move to solitary and other punishment as way to shut him up, intimidate his supporters, and silence criticism of the government and its policies.

On the day of Emery’s arrest, the US Drug Enforcement Administration admitted their investigation was politically motivated, and that the activist’s arrest and extradition was designed to target the marijuana legalization community that Emery spearheaded for over a decade.

DEA Administrator Karen Tandy’s statement released on July 29, 2005:

Today’s DEA arrest of Marc Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, and the founder of a marijuana legalization group — is a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement.

His marijuana trade and propagandist marijuana magazine have generated nearly $5 million a year in profits that bolstered his trafficking efforts, but those have gone up in smoke today.

Emery and his organization had been designated as one of the Attorney General’s most wanted international drug trafficking organizational targets — one of only 46 in the world and the only one from Canada.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery’s illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canda. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.

Since Emery was extradited, Canadian cannabis activists have staged over twenty Conservative Party Office Occupations, some resulting in arrests and police brutality. Protestors have shown up at the offices of several high-profile Conservative lawmakers including Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson appears to be rattled by the protests, sending RCMP officers to homes of cannabis activists and hiring personal body guards.

Rather than face several charges with mandatory minimums attached, Emery agreed to a 5-year plea deal on one charge. This deal contributed to his two co-accused receiving probation in Canada instead of jail in the US. After sentencing, Emery will apply for transfer to Canada for the remainder of his sentence. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews will decide if Emery will be allowed to come home.

CLICK HERE to find out how to Help Marc Emery



  1. Rick on

    I was listening to CBC Radio’s “As It Happens” yesterday evening, and in an interview with someone from the Canadian Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, these words were said: “We agreed a long time ago that prohibition doesn’t work”. My jaw dropped when I heard this!

    So if that’s the conclusion of the commission, why then is cannabis still illegal?

  2. Anonymous on

    I drank alcohol in the United States. Alcohol is illegal in Libya. So, the United states should extradite me to Libya, at the request of the Libyan government so I can be tried in Libya for drinking alcohol in the United States.

  3. Anonymous on

    The reason Marc lost so much weight is because the prison food is so bad your dog wouldn’t eat it. They give you bologna 3 times a day. It’s really really bad–

  4. chris on

    So does this mean no more prison podcasts? Too bad if so, and definitely a silencing move by the state. This doesn’t surprise me though, they don’t want you telling it like it is Marc. Prison sucks from personal experience and also having been incarcerated for the cause, I feel horrible they are putting you through this. Nobody deserves the treatment you’re getting for what you did, which essentially is helping people. But you set yourself up for this, really, as I did myself. What did we expect after taunting them? This is the fucking-down they give to people who openly challenge them. You will survive this.

  5. Jose Melendez on

    Agreed. Don’t just blog. Free Marc Emery:

    Write or call:
    U.S. Department of Justice
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20530-0001

    Department of Justice 202-514-2000

    [email protected]

    Attorney General 202-353-1555

    Drug War IS crime:

    The law falsely claims: “Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, §812(c), based on its high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and no accepted safety for use in medically supervised treatment, §812(b)(1). This classification renders the manufacture, distribution, or possession of marijuana a criminal offense. §§841(a)(1), 844(a). Pp. 6—11.”

    Millions have been arrested since DHHS applied for 2003 US Patent No. 6630507 in 1999, despite the title* of that federal document . . .

    Wait, what’s DHHS? At the top of this page: has a direct link to the feedback page of the US Department of Health and Human Services, the federal agency that was issued 2003 US Patent No. 6630507, “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants”, linked here:
    * source:

  6. American on

    If holding him in detention with a goal to intimidate the legalization movement and make them scared…

    They should have thought otherwise!

    This is disgusting… 3 weeks in a tiny cell without human contact, books, television, writing, etc.?! That would drive one insane… Inhumane.

  7. Anonymous on

    Agree with you. The law does not deserve respect, THEY ARE THE ENEMY! The government is at war with the people and the public does not care. Very sad.

  8. The UK PotHead on

    Ive been watching Marc Emery’s case for a couple of days and i just thought id say WHAT the fuck. Are the DEA some sort of fucking international super justice team? These people are the real gangster, the only ones who can take people away with no authority, I cant believe this is still happening in 2010. DEA needs to be stopped. And could i sell seeds in the UK to America and not get extradited ? And what did Marc have to do to get only a 5 year sentence? Thanks and keep up the work. Hopefully in 20 years all the fucking idiots in government will be dead.

  9. vic on

    Okay. I say fuck it! Lets not change laws, lets all just keep growing, selling and smoking weed and let the pricks in power go down in history as the biggest idiots and biggest time wasters of all time.

  10. vic on

    I’ve just been reading about marc emery leaving solitary and what really pisses me off is the outright bullying tactics of governments to controll citizens. When I become aware of what federations will do to individuals for actions that have no damaging effect on others and the non violent and political ways these people try to change laws and regulations I think to my-self does blood have to be shed? Do federations only understand the languge of violence? Do they really still think that they can stop all of us millions and millions of cannabis users from doing what we want? If you are an agent of a controlling federation reading this don’t you get tired of constantly losing and wasting resources with your half assed attempts?

  11. Chris Allers on

    Happy Cannabis Day Marc. Be strong, be well.

  12. Medicinal Mike on

    It is no mystery to me! The only reason Marc is where he is is because he made fun of and embarassed the drug Csar John Walters when the csar was in Van talking to the Con’s there. There are dozens of seed sellers in Canada and they are not targeted because they are keeping a low profile. Marc was never about keeping a low profile. I am not sure if it was the smartest thing to do, but I would have expected to count on the Canadian government to do the right thing. Instead the government, by way of the (In)justice minister purposely opening the way for the U.S. to give Marc even more time ( some rapists get less time than Marc-WTF!!!)and Rob Nicholsen wants him to do even more time. That is just a power-mad zealot wanting to be the “Wrath of God” against everything Marc Stands for. Wanting to get rid of a group of people is called Genocide (look it up!)and Harper said right on TV that he does want to get rid of “those” people and that they would never be a proper businessman and drugs are bad ( he may as well have added Nancy’s “Just say No!”)

    Harper is doing this for religious reasons. I thought he was a Christian? As far as I know Jesus said things like “love your enemy” and “Turn the other cheek”. Christians are supposed to be compassionate. What happened to Harper and his cronies? They are not acting like any true Christians I know.

    His time will be over one day and we will finally have some rational thinking in the house (we hope) if not, we need to get Marc to run for Office again.

  13. Adam on

    Emery’s attorney Rick Troberman says he thought the prison’s reaction was “completely overblown” and “unusual”. “There was nothing in the conversation that was derogatory about the Federal Detention Center or his current situation or anything else,” he told CC. “Why they’re choosing to make such a big deal of it is, frankly, a mystery to me.

    What a pussy. Can’t Marc’s lawyer admit that he, like the rest of the world, knows god damn well why this happened?

    That reticence to admit full knowledge of why they did this to him had better be a political tactic and not just some canuck being too fucking polite. What a wuss. Can’t even admit he sees what is being thrown in our faces.

  14. Anonymous on

    …if everyone and I mean everyone in support of Marc is as appalled as I am with the Harper Regime…Bushites all of them…got out and VOTED…we could remove Harper and his narrow minded thugs permanently…get out and Vote….call your MLA relentlessly…the Liberals tried to bring in de-criminalisation…I honestly think that a coalition (NDP/Lib/Bloc)would serve our country far better than the jack-boot evangelists that are in control now…Vote Harper Out!

  15. SAINT RICO (JPs) on

    I am an American. But not a proud one….My gov’t no longer seems to think it necessary to listen to it’s citizens( even when we vote )!! They fill their pockets with my tax dollars……and then use what’s left to fund & create gov’t programs that work against me. And I DO NOT support the wars in Afgan/Iraq….or having troops stationed in ANY country but our own. My heart goes out to Mr. Emery; he did nothing wrong by way of Canadian law and should not be tried under U.S. Prohibition policies when he is, infact, a canadian citizen who never set foot on U.S. soil during his career as a seed-salesman.

    Common sense & discretion —- Marc’s arrest can be described as neither….. but then again HALF the sh!t my gov’t is into right now doesn’t seem to be directed by Common sense & Discretion……..*sighs* perhaps, one day( he said with a glimmer of hope ).

  16. Don M on

    I’m so happy to learn that Marc is out of solitary. That must have been brutal for him. I wrote to him and can only hope he got my message of concern and hope – but I wouldn’t be surprised if the prison officials have confiscated at least some of his mail. As far as I can tell, they are not caring and compassionate people – indeed, quite the opposite! I’ve written to President Obama twice asking him to consider acting at the Federal level to work towards legalizing marijuana and to pardon Marc Emery. Of course he hasn’t replied… I can only hope he gets my message and actually considers it.

    Seriously, I really don’t get the impression that the American leaders care much what the American people want – they seem to serve their only their own greedy selves. I wonder how many of them (and/or their family members) have smoked and got off easy since they are among the ruling wealthy – pretty pathetic to think about!

  17. Anonymous on

    This may sound a little crazy but there seams to be common enlightenment amongst us THC users.
    Could it be that it causes immunity to the political brain washing propaganda program and that’s why its illegal.
    I don’t think everyday citizens realize when someone like Harper is asked a question that they don’t actually answer the question they go off on some spin about something they want you to think is relevant.
    Someone who has been brain washed thinks, Hey what a great answer.

  18. little boy smart on

    I agree with you. the button on this board are sticky, but i agree with you. its all so lax and who gives a fuck now a days. lets all go down to the river instead.

  19. Samuel Harnischmacher on

    I hope your starting to feel better after your mind bending experience in the solitary… at the very least you can say life’s better today than it was yesterday, so to speak. trying my best to spread the message with the very little cash i have, and soon hope to improve my efforts… FOR THE MASSES, the war on pot is one seems one of the best anyone could be a part of although id like people to realize the benefit of other substance that is generally considered illicit. Psychoactive plants and herbal remedies work very well if the proper guidelines are met and this is nothing new! these alkaloid containing plants and fungi, and other semi synthesized psychoactive ‘eye’ opening tools can be used for learning and have nothing to do with entertainment necessarily and are a whole lot more about the medicinal quality witch is more than apparent! thanks.

  20. Anonymous on

    I am deeply sorry for the conduct of the idiots in the ruling class in my country. Mark is a political prisoner, not realy a criminal but someone whose basic beliefs differ from the beliefs of the ruling idiots. One day not only will they cease doing this but be punnished like war criminals. The constitution of my country was written to grant individual rights and freedom in the widest of leways, And that government interference in peoples lives unjustly would be limited. This is in exact reciprocal of what has happened here, be proud you stupid b*stards. You have reversed freedon into persecution, and crossed a sovern nations border to do so. That’s usually what the CIA operatives do. I’m truely sorry maybe next election we will have a whole lot more libertarians+ Ron Paul-like canadates, and sooner than later they will change this but I think it is going to be an attrition thing. On a national level at least. States that fall will help momentum, but when it gets to a certain level, that will slow way down until we get some key defectors from the other side. Keep your head up mate. This is as much your revoultion as anymans. Thank you from the heart.

  21. Pat on

    I am sorry for the world we live in. USA sending troops everywhere (N korea now + heavy artillery, russian spies convicted in US) g20 summit. The oil spill, angry citizens all over. No one seems to listen to the people, no one in US wants war, only the psycho paths and none in Canada. Marc is pro legalization for marijuana. What has marijuana done for our societies? How many drunk drivers will kill our family members. How many times Do I need to cry over my friend whom was killed by a drunk driver. How many lives will the governments let be taken by idiocy. Any one who has half a brain and who is not a stooge knows marijuana is peaceful. After a long day of work one can not smoke a bong or joint or vaporizer or which ever method of administration they prefer? Just to relax. How menacing are us marijuana smokers? We’re obviously terrorizing and ending zillions of lives. Yeah right the american government is a joke. As well as the way Canada is steering, saddens my heart. I use to be proud to be Canadian.. If one is not smart enough to not over abuse marijuana and use it in a manner of relaxation, peace, meditation or which ever purpose it is sad. I do not know to many people who smoke 24/7 and sit at home and do nothing like some alcoholics I know or other drug addicts. Emery is so menacing to the american’ but logically it is all just a giant scheme. The dea can’t solve their own problems so lets get Marc emery who will come quietly. What about the heroin lords? COKE lords who drill tunnels beyond the boarder. The dea can not get close to them because they use their money for evil. They will blow the DEA away, they know it as well. I read an article from the mexican gov’t simply pleading with USA to legalize and regulate hard drugs to take away the power of these crime lords. TO SAVE LIVES IS THEIR OBJECTIVE. Supposively, right? Wrong, I am not sure what their objective is. Obviously to cause the thinking majority confusion and anger and hate.

    My sympathies Mrs. Emery, god bless you Marc. You will be alright, these people are sick in the head.

  22. Anonymous on

    I could have sworn that the DEA was supposed to enforce the laws, not try to prevent them being changed. Why was Tandy so proud of beating down the Cannabis legalization movement? She let it slip that the DEA is really around to prevent Cannabis legalization. Why is it in the nation’s interest to keep Cannabis illegal? Tandy didn’t bother to explain that.

    Cannabis being completely illegal is just wrong, it’s obvious. So now the question is who is behind the international prohibition of Cannabis? Why does the UN still have it in Schedule 1? Why is it that all of these governments and organizations can just arbitrarily put Cannabis into categories with hard drugs like opiates? Not one of them has actual scientific justification for scheduling Cannabis like that. How the hell are they still getting away with it? Somebody has to stand up in the UN and say “WFT is going on here, you ignorant hillbillies. Have any of you actually bothered to at least Google “Cannabis” before throwing it in there with heroin?” Somebody has to do something about that Asian guy being the Secretary General of the UN. Guy’s apparently a complete imbecile.

  23. PotMedia Asia on

    logic can overcome with nationwide referendum vote on cannabis,yet this dehumanization of violent G8 arrest of peaceful protesters.Global epidemic of both alternative media,and sanctioned propaganda TV/press being beaten/caged in Toronto for having recording equipment?The police are agent provacateur and stage pseudo-violent events to “justify”rounding up innocents.This is the worst i’ve seen in 50 years of increasing global tyrannic formal control.I am a teacher that just sent Marc a couple of sample letters from developing Khmer second language thinkers.Showing them the miracle seeds/achene put the mind at rest, and system two cognition can work after primal fear subsides.The Buddha use of one hemp seed daily allows me to speak calmly about cannabis in Phnom Penh.”Theatre of the mind” is the fear tyranny uses to control all average folks as they try to survive worldwide thugocracy/agent provacateur mayhem.

  24. Anonymous on

    I’m glad hes out.
    I’ve totally lost faith in our government and the Canadian people.
    Not a proud Canadian like I use to be.