CANNABIS CULTURE – The White House has finally issued a response to the “Pardon Marc Emery” petition signed by 8,249 people calling for Obama to pardon Marc and send him home to Canada. Not surprisingly, the answer is mostly a disappointing non-response: the White House has “declined to comment”.
Here is the original “Pardon Marc Emery” petition text submitted to the WhiteHouse.gov website’s “We The People” petition campaign:
We petition the Obama Administration to: Pardon Marc Emery
Created: September 23, 2011
Issues: Civil Rights and Liberties, Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement, Human Rights
Total signatures: 8,249
We formally request President Obama pardon and release Marc Scott Emery. Marc Emery, a well-known Canadian political activist, publisher, businessman and leader of the BC Marijuana Party, was arrested in 2005 at the request of the United States for selling cannabis seeds through the mail. The DEA press release by Administrator Karen Tandy on July 29th, 2005 clearly explained the United States’ extradition request was a “significant blow … to the marijuana legalization movement” because Marc Emery’s money had been “channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada” – and therefore, was for the purpose of prosecuting and punishing him by reason of his political opinion, activity and involvement; [DEA press release seen at www.FreeMarc.ca]
Here is the official White House response, issued November 18th, 2011:
Official White House Response to Pardon Marc Emery
Why We Can’t Comment on Marc Emery
Thank you for signing the petition “Pardon Marc Emery.” We appreciate your participation in the We the People platform on WhiteHouse.gov.
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution gives the President the authority to grant “Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States.” For more than 100 years, Presidents have relied on the Department of Justice and its Office of the Pardon Attorney for assistance in the exercise of this power. Requests for executive clemency for federal offenses should be directed to the Pardon Attorney, who conducts a review and investigation, and prepares the Department’s recommendation to the President. Additional information and application forms are available on the Pardon Attorney’s website.
The President takes his constitutional power to grant clemency very seriously, and recommendations from the Department of Justice are carefully considered before decisions are made. The White House does not comment, however, on individual pardon applications. In accordance with this policy and the We the People Terms of Participation–which explain that the White House may sometimes choose not to respond to petitions addressing certain matters—the White House declines to comment on the specific case addressed in this petition.
The White House answer to the “Pardon Marc Emery” petition is one of only 19 responses issued so far to numerous petitions submitted by Americans through the WhiteHouse.gov website’s “We The People” campaign. Many of those 19 petitions received the same non-response, refusal to comment, leaving many Americans discouraged yet again in President Obama for claiming that he wants to listen to the American people, but ignoring them when they bring up serious issues.
Three times Obama has sought public input on the most important problems facing the United States; three times the number one issue voted on has been cannabis prohibition and the drug war – the #1 petition at “We The People” being the most recent; and three times the President has laughed off or ignored the question. Based on that record, it’s not surprising that the White House won’t comment on the “Pardon Marc Emery” petition.
“Am I surprised? Unfortunately, no,” said Jodie Emery, wife of Marc Emery. “But it’s certainly a disappointment because Marc was obviously persecuted for his political activism and financial contributions, as stated in the DEA’s own press release on his arrest. He has widespread political and public support in Canada, the United States, and even worldwide to bring him back home.”
The disappointment in the White House isn’t limited to the pardon petition. “Obama has been a failure as President when it comes to truly upholding justice and addressing what really matters to Americans,” Jodie said. “The petition responses – or lack thereof – are an insult to citizens of the United States who expected accountable, open, progressive government when they voted for Obama on his promise of delivering ‘hope’ and ‘change’.”
Marc’s response upon hearing the White House’s comments: “Americans should be encouraged more than ever to join in the Republican Presidential campaigns for Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, two principled politicians who have made ending the drug war a priority in their public statements and political careers. There is simply no hope with President Obama.”
Marc is currently serving a five-year plea deal sentence in Yazoo City medium-security federal prison in Mississippi. His transfer application to serve his time in Canada was rejected by the US Justice Department in April 2011. He can reapply for transfer in 2013, but it’s not likely he will win support from the Canadian Conservative government, which is changing the transfer agreement guidelines to prevent most Canadians from being transferred home.
In the U.S. federal Bureau of Prisons, inmates are eligible for “early release” at 85% of their sentence if they remain on good behaviour. Marc’s early release date is set for July 9th, 2014. He writes regularly from prison; his blogs can be seen at www.FreeMarc.ca.