Marc Emery US Prison Blog #12: Letter to Jodie

Oh dear, my sweet Jodie, I feel wobbly today. I’ve a sore throat, a woozy head and a stuffy nose. I’m drinking hot liquids and lots of water, getting sleep, but these next few days will be trying. And I’ll admit, I’m a bit nervous about sentencing coming up on the 10th. Most inmates do get jumpy because its the biggest uncertainty of any prisoner, the sentencing! Even though I have an agreement in principle on a 5-year sentence, I’m still nervous that the judge could make it a longer sentence. So the next 10 days will be a little unnerving.

My Transfer application to the Canadian corrections system goes in on that day too, I hope, through the Canadian Consulate here in Seattle. Then, about 6-8 weeks later, I’ll be sent to my designated prison somewhere in the US Bureau of Prison system, it could be Lompoc or Taft Correctional Institution in California, or a place even as far away as Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, New Mexico or Texas. I’m going to request Lompoc, because it will be the low-security prison you can get to with the least difficulty, my sweetheart, to visit me; and even then, you’ll only be able to afford, barely, to see me every second weekend if people are still sending support and the store is doing well. You’ll fly to Los Angeles and then take a commuter flight to Santa Maria, and then a shuttle bus or taxi to Lompoc. If I get sent to Taft, you’ll need to get someone to drive you to Bakersfield, so we’ll need to find some female supporters who live in Bakersfield who can help you out on those visit weekends.

Great banner to use for September 18thGreat banner to use for September 18thI’m excited that there are many individual and group actions going on in the many corners of North America and even abroad for the world-wide Marc Emery Support Day on Saturday, September 18th. Loretta Nall is going to march up Dexter Avenue in Montgomery, Alabama to the statehouse with some supporters. Dexter Ave. is where Martin Luther King’s Dexter St. church was, and she knows how much MLK’s example and work has impacted on my life. The Clemons family of Silver Spring, New Mexico are going to wear their Free Marc shirts and take signs to the Telluride Blues Fest on that day. There are correspondents of mine who are putting king size bed sheets on bridges over the main highway by their town in upstate New York. Barry Cooper in Austin, Texas will be organizing an action down by the Texas legislature. Numerous other people are doing activities, which are listed at and

Anyone who cares about my fate who wants to add their light to the sum of light to urge my return to the Canadian Correctional system can easily take a sign and just hold it up, wearing their Free Marc t-shirt if they have one, at their nearest busy intersection. You don’t have to go far. Three hours at a busy place in their hometown or city will been seen by thousands of people. Canadians, I hope, will also write Public Safety Minister Vic Toews before or after they go out on the streets and urge him to bring me back to Canada, as is the obligation of the government under law.

I hope you’ve got a good informative list of suggestions at the website and on my Facebook fan page. I bet many of my close friends have not even sent Vic Toews a letter in the mail yet. Friends should get each member of their family to write and ask him to approve my transfer request to serve my sentence in Canada. It’s easy to take it for granted that someone else will write on my behalf, but I bet even you, Mrs. Emery, haven’t written Vic Toews yet! So many tens of thousands of people who’ve met me, and I know care about me, have still not written a simple 4-paragraph letter on their computer, printed it out, put it in an envelope (no stamp required in Canada!) and dropped it in a letter box to Mr. Toews. I’ll need him to get thousands of letters to assure my repatriation, especially from older people with children, the people who vote.

Please contact the Canadian Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews (pronounced “Taves”) and ask him to approve Canadian citizen Marc Emery’s prison transfer application so Marc can serve his sentence in Canada. Please be polite and respectful when contacting Vic Toews.

The Hon. Vic Toews
Parliament Hill
Suite 306, HC Justice Building
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6
(No postage required in Canada)

You can also call or email Vic Toews:
[email protected]
[email protected]

I’ve sent out over 300 letters to correspondents since May 20 when I arrived here at FDC Sea-Tac. That’s a lot of letters written with these painful six-sided Bic pens; as you know, I’ve got a big callous on my right hand middle finger now. I try to write every single correspondent who writes me a quality letter.

I have written many chapters of my autobiography, Jodie, and I know you haven’t seen any yet, but I have sent my editor all the corrections I identified and hopefully you will have several chapters to read by the weekend. I think my early life stories are a lot of fun, and they clue people in to the person I am today. Some, of course, are quite revealing and maybe even controversial, but I don’t like the idea of hiding anything in my past. There are even some parts of my life I’m embarrassed about, but even that will be written about. Fortunately, my history with you is a very honourable time in my life, and as we approach our 9th anniversary of our friendship – December 4th, when you first joined the Cannabis Culture online forums and we began to correspond – I will have our history written by them.

Awesome sign for hanging from an overpassAwesome sign for hanging from an overpassI want to whole book to be completed by November when I expect to get designated to my next stop on this prison journey, which will send me much further away from you. I have written 40 pages in longhand that I haven’t sent to my editor yet, to go along with the great burst of material about my early years in 1958 to 1974 that he has now. The good thing about reaching my designated prison is that it’s the earliest opportunity for me to put in my application for transfer to the US Bureau of Prisons. I need their approval also, along with the Canadian government, in order to be moved into the Canadian corrections system.

Of my autobiography, I want you to take a few chapters when you get them, and put them on Facebook and CC to get feedback, to hear what people think. None of the earlier years are about politics; it’s about my personal development and adventures, as the politics doesn’t start until about 1979, and I’ve got many chapters of material written before that time.

I also am working on the Canadian Voters Guide to help people understand this next Canadian election and what’s at stake. The cannabis culture is the pivotal target of the Conservatives’ push to create a prison security state. History shows that by following the persecution of one group in a country, it is possible to chart in exacting detail the gradual self-destruction of that entire country. As the scapegoating and oppression get worse and the laws become corrupt, the police become cavalierly abusive and corrupt, then the judicial system and the entire structure of institutions in the country becomes fraudulent too.

My persecution is emblematic of this decline in democratic values in Canada. What’s being done to me is the road map for what will be ahead for millions of Canadians. This includes the elimination of basic rights and protections now that passing a joint is deemed a “serious crime”. It includes draconian 5-year penalties for minor drug offenses, massive police surveillance, and a host of police state measures for virtually any marijuana offense.

The two main election issues have to be, as defined by the media over the last 3 months:
1) prisons & the ideology that motivates the vast expansion of them in Canada, and
2) the loss of democracy in Canada.

Consider that the prisons only need expansion to accommodate the huge expected increase in marijuana “offenders”. There is no other section of the Canadian population that is affected by all these laws the Conservatives have changed or want to change, and the explanation of “unreported crimes” as the reason for the multi-billion prison expansion plans clearly means the many thousands of people growing, sharing and using marijuana. Five to seven million Canadians smoking, possessing, growing, selling, passing joints, using as medicine, growing as medicine, the hundreds of seed sellers – they are all now targets of police surveillance, arrest, stringent bail conditions, longer jail terms. Police can now spy on Canadians without court permission if they suspect any marijuana infractions are taking place. Soon there will be mandatory minimum jail sentences, new factors under law to mandate longer than minimum jail time, an end to compassion clubs, possibly an end to April 20 and Cannabis Day celebrations, and ultimately, even an end to the medical exemption program.

Spreading the word everywhere in a big waySpreading the word everywhere in a big wayAs to the rapid erosion of democracy, look at the one thousand peaceful demonstrators rounded up in Toronto in late June during the G-8 without Habeus Corpus, a call to a lawyer, or due process, for no other reason that they were standing on a Canadian street peacefully, possibly holding a sign. Rounded up, stripped down, abused, and held in instant cages erected like it was East Berlin or Moscow in the 1950s and released under intimidating conditions while no one knows where you were or what happened to you!

All the power of Parliament is in the hands of the Prime Minister’s office; every day he appoints more reactionary judges, commissioners, generals, Senators, privy councillors, bureaucrats. Though the Prime Minister’s party was elected by only 16% of the Canadian population, he governs with impunity. The opposition is, inexplicably, cowed even though 70% of Canadians find Harper and the Conservatives loathsome!

Police are illegally vetting juries for “unorthodox” views, to deny any accused a true jury of his peers. Senior bureaucrats are being intimidated by the PM’s office, several have resigned, but unfortunately only to make room for some compliant lackey of the Prime Minister. Senators have been appointed to toe the official government line, but Senators are supposed to be appointed for their independence because they serve terms of 10, 20 or even 30 years, and they are supposed to be guardians of Canada’s long-term interests. Elected politicians look at nothing more than the consequences of their actions in view of the next election one to three years away. The PM has even resurrected the spirit of Richard Nixon and his old “enemies” list. The following headline comes from the front page of the Ottawa Citizen of August 19: “Harper’s growing ‘black list’ a threat to democracy: critics”.

We have to make it impossible for candidates of all political parties in the next election to discuss issues without addressing the cannabis culture. That’s because the cannabis culture is the group most affected by both these issues of prisons and the theft of our democracy. We are these issues. We’re the ones who will be filling the prisons. We’re the ones who represent the biggest majority in Canadian history that has ever lost its democratic rights. The cannabis culture is Canada’s single largest voting block.

Try to imagine any other rational issue where 53% of the voters have been ignored in Canada. Try to imagine any “crime” other than marijuana that could generate the numbers needed to fill Canada’s new multi-billion dollar prison empire – look to the United States, where the war on marijuana users has packed the prisons beyond capacity.

Crime rates, excluding marijuana offenses, have been going down for decades. If we eliminated prohibition, we could close prisons and SAVE billions and dramatically reduce crime and criminal organization enrichment, but the Conservatives give not a whit of thought to that.

The message can't be missed when it's this clearThe message can’t be missed when it’s this clearThere is simply no way to fill these prisons without marijuana prohibition. Thousands of jobs and contracts, unimaginable sums of money (in a time of record deficits in the government budget) and tons of political power have already been committed to Canada’s new incarceration industry. It is all totally dependent on marijuana prohibition.

That is why my election guide will be important. That is why we must, my dear wife, set up a Canadian cannabis culture ‘Register To Vote’ website, all in the hope of igniting a return to 1960s spirit of civil rights workers that I have been so inspired by in my books ‘Parting the Waters’ and ‘Pillar of Fire’ about Martin Luther King, Jr., the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Voter registration and desegregation (legalized participation in society) was the main aim of these civil rights workers, and voter registration and integration (legalized participation in society) is the main aim of the cannabis culture.

It is true the Harper government is a threat to democracy in a myriad of ways (which make many allies for our 53% of Canadians who support the legalization of marijuana), but cannabis prohibition and the increased persecution of our culture is the dominant impetus of this government. No other group claims anywhere near 53% pf the Canadian population. This number has been going up since 1992, it never goes down.

When I am sentenced on Friday, September 10th, a majority of Canadian citizens, and a near majority of American citizens, are being sentenced with me. On September 10th, I become the first of tens of thousands, perhaps over a decade hundreds of thousands, of taxpaying Canadians the Harper government plans to send to prison under these new extraordinary measures. The only difference between myself and millions of other Canadians threatened with five years in prison is that I’m being sent to an American prison initially, while Canadians will be sent to the new Canadian prisons (as, in fact, I might too end up in one).

What I was doing, which now gets 5 or more years in prison, was only worthy of a fine in the 1990s and unworthy of any criminal prosecution while the Liberals were in power in Canada from 1999 to 2005. That is changed now. Canada has become a prison nation overnight. Now the 53% won’t need to sent to the US gulag for severe punishment; it can happen right here at home in Canada in a prison especially built for the cannabis culture. The Conservatives are advocating and making the most repressive and undemocratic laws in Canada’s history outside of wartime, with myself and all my fellow people as the specific targets of their persecution.

Taking it to the streets and being seenTaking it to the streets and being seenThe Harper government recently and arbitrarily rewrote Canada’s marijuana laws. Handing a joint to someone can now qualify as a “serious” crime offense in Canada. I went to jail for a three month sentence for passing one joint in 2004 under the old laws; they have since been made far more severe by an order-in-council out the Prime Minister’s office on August 17, with no Parliamentary awareness or input. Now you get years for doing the same, especially if it is a second or third cannabis offense on your “permanent” record. Medical growers are not protected. Compassion clubs are not protected. They are, in fact, the targets. Harper, nor any Conservatives, have ever publicly acknowledged any value or legitimacy to medical marijuana, even though it is supported by 82% of the Canadian population, and countless medical studies and court rulings!

I became the first Canadian to be jailed for openly working for marijuana legalization. Nobody before me was prosecuted for working to legalize marijuana. Upon my arrest, DEA Administrator Karen Tandy reiterated numerous times it was all about my legalization efforts. The word “seeds” is not mentioned even once in the DEA press release from her desk on the day of my arrest in 2005, but my politics are brought up several times!

I am the first person sent to a penitentiary for selling marijuana seeds, in the US or Canada. That is because I am the recognized leader by both countries in ending marijuana prohibition. That is why I seek your support on Marc Emery Support Day on Saturday, September 18th. Standing up for me, is standing up for you. We are all on the bus to heaven or hell in Canada and the United States; there are people facing 5 or 10, or even 20 years and more for medical marijuana in Texas and Alabama, just as there is one Canadian facing 5 years or more for selling seeds – the same seeds George Washington planted every year for 30 years at his Mount Vernon plantation, the same seeds Thomas Jefferson used on his plantation at Monticello in Virginia.

We’ve got to get out and vote! In California, people must vote Yes on Proposition 19 this November, to legalize marijuana for all adults. Ignore our enemies who sow dissent by telling you to support prohibition and vote no, especially the evil ones who are doing it from within the cannabis culture. You’ve got to register to vote in Canada and the United States. It’s got to be done. The paramount issue in both countries for every candidate at every level is “what are you going to do about marijuana prohibition?”

My dear Jodie, I am truly looking forward to being with you again, so we can continue to push for a change in the laws and work on your political career aspirations. People will follow your example just as they follow mine, and we will be able to reach victory together.

Sending love, from your hard-working prince,
Marc Emery

P.S. I’ve never witnessed such unanimous condemnation of a ruling party’s policy directions as I have in recent months in Canada. The Conservative plans to end the prison farms that produce local food for prisoners, the nationwide prison expansions, the arbitrary designation of formerly minor crimes into “serious crimes”, the huge financial budget spending increases for the expected flood of additional prisoners into the Canadian prison system; all these have been roundly condemned by all Canadian media from the Sun media, the National Post, Globe & Mail to Toronto Star. Opinion columnists I have never agreed with before, including Barbara Kay of the National Post and Father Raymond deSouza of the same, are agreed, in a period of declining crime and increasing safety, passing laws to put more Canadians in jail for longer sentences at greater costs is wrongheaded.

In fact, many note correctly that the Tory policies of prohibition, on marijuana, drugs, gambling, and sex trading, manufacture crime and criminals where none, in a truly free society, would exist. Mexico’s 28,000 dead, including hundreds of police, military and political figures, over the last 6 years, is a result of prohibition violence that prohibition laws manufacture. Finally, Mexico’s prohibitionist-in-chief President Calderon is asking for a debate on legalizing drugs, following on the urgings of his predecessor Vincente Fox, for the immediate legalization of cannabis and cocaine.

A majority of Canadians, after 40 years of sustained use amongst millions of Canadian daily, want marijuana legalized. Yet the Tories in Ottawa will have none of that. No matter what enlightenment may have spread amongst the masses after 40 years of prohibition futility, the prevailing Conservative ideology of punitive Christian fundamentalism must be the golden rule for governance of Canada in 2010.

The mercurial Prime Minister Harper has appointed hundreds of these fire & brimstone Tory sycophants as judges, commissioners, Senators, advisors, and ambassadors; remaking Canada’s reputation and administration by incremental stealth toward a Christian theocratic rule. It’s a direction the very large Canadian majority do not wish to go. It is a certainty that today 70% of Canadians, in poll after poll, would vote Liberal, NDP, Bloc Quebecois or Green Party, versus 30% for the Tories. That 70% wants Canada to NOT go in the direction and manner the Tories are dragging the nation.

Yet not one of these pundits, or opposition politicians representing the 70% majority, have demanded the obvious: an immediate fall election.

Elections are relatively cheap – about $300 million. Building and expanding our prisons cost $10 billion over 5 years, 33 times the cost of an election. New fighter jets we don’t need for a war we won’t have cost $16 billion, 48 times the cost of an election. The $56 billion stimulus deficit we didn’t require costs 182 times the cost of an election. All the Tory policies cost a whopping burden for negative results.

Since 70% of the nations voters oppose the Tory agenda; why are Canadians not insisting on an immediate election when Parliament reconvenes in September? Harper is polling amongst his lowest numbers ever; it’s now or never, I say.

Can we have an election and get this over & done with? Like, right now?!

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.