Mayors Endorsing Legalization, and Activists Protesting the Prime Minister

Dearest Miss: This was such a good week! You were magnificent in capturing the zeitgeist of the current politics affecting Canadians. In the last two weeks alone you’ve been quoted in newspapers, appeared on TV in Vancouver, were interviewed on Toronto and Vancouver radio, did a London, England podcast and the Free Talk Live radio broadcast (talking about your upcoming appearance at the prestigious New Hampshire Liberty Forum on February 23-26), and confirmed a Sun TV news appearance for Monday, and a radio interview in your hometown Kamloops Thursday.

Even I got in on the current big debate. On Thursday, November 23rd, four previous Vancouver mayors issued a call to legalize marijuana and end cannabis prohibition, particularly imploring the Canadian Prime Minister Harper not to proceed with mandatory minimum jail sentences for cannabis under Bill C-10, which is likely to pass in the current Canadian Conservative-controlled Parliament.

The news department of CTV news, a major television network, asked you for my opinion of this statement from the four former mayors, then showed the remarks I issued from Yazoo federal prison on that night’s TV news broadcast, and published me in the online CTV news story too.

On Friday morning, the Province newspaper led their Letters to the Editor page with my full letter and remarks under the bold headline, “Politicos only say war on drugs is a failure after they’ve quit”, and a photo of you with the massive FREE MARC banner in the background. In my letter I impugn the integrity of the current elected officeholders in Canada and the US who refuse to concede to the democratic will to legalize marijuana and recognize the folly of prohibition.

Marc's LTE in The Province (click to view)Marc’s LTE in The Province (click to view)

While it’s hopeful that four former mayors have made crystal clear the urgency and necessity of ending prohibition to restore justice, the safety of our streets and our individual freedom to choose, it remains disturbing that virtually no politician currently in elected office at any level advocates this.

It is a political irony that these former mayors, former presidents of Colombia, Brazil and Mexico, former governors, hundreds of other previously elected and now former officials throughout the world, along with hundreds of former police officers, all declare the war on drugs a counter-productive failure, a gift to organized crime and a threat to the stability of several nations, but none of them acted on this while in the political authority of their elected or appointed office.

There is an unfathomable disconnect between actually holding political office and doing the right thing when it comes to ending prohibition. Even with majorities in the U.S. and Canada favouring the legalization of marijuana, no serious action occurs in the parliaments, statehouses, legislatures and congresses of Canada, Mexico or the United States to further this desire. Nor is any rational explanation for this dereliction of democratic will and common sense offered by the authorities in office. Why?

– Marc Emery, U.S. federal prison, Yazoo City, Miss.

As the media continued to cover the news about the four former mayors joining Stop The Violence BC to condemn prohibition, and question the current Vancouver Mayor, Gregor Robertson, in this regard, they noticed he had added his voice to the call and issued the following Tweet online Thursday night:

@MayorGregor: Good to see 4 Vancouver ex-mayors calling for end of cannabis prohibition. I agree, we need to be smart and tax/regulate.

The news coverage of that Tweet got a number of quotes from the current mayor about how prohibition is a failure. And this happened right after my recent blog called him and others out for never publicly endorsing legalization despite knowing he ought to. So now he is on record endorsing legalization as the newly re-elected mayor. Oh, my sweet wife, this is wonderful to see!

On that very same Friday, you held signs up and delivered slogans with your enviable lung power at an appearance by the Prime Minister and the Premier of BC at Telus Science World in Vancouver. Your message that prohibition only benefits the politicians, police and gangsters was the dominant media talking point of the day, thanks to you, despite both the PM and Premier being there announcing funding for the facility.

Your presence even had the media grilling the Prime Minister on the crime bill, and while he rejected your assertions categorically, as he insists always on doing, you had the media being your conduit to the PM! Fantastic! I loved hearing your appearance on the CTV news segment about the mayors and Harper’s visit, when you played it over the phone for me. Oh, dear Jodie, you’ve done such a great job. Almost every media outlet had your message, succinct and to the point.

[See Jodie’s quotes from the news stories here.]

You are so inspiring! Together, Team Emery made tremendous political impact in these last few days! And to top it all off, on that Friday night, as part of the Thanksgiving weekend concerts here at the prison, my rock and roll band THE YAZOO 5, played a 55-minute performance from 7pm to 8pm. Our nine-song set went very well, I had a wonderful time! I knew our songs and had them thoroughly practiced. We were outdoors with fully amplified electric equipment and were deliciously loud on a clear evening with 65 degree Fahrenheit temperature, just the right amount of light, playing under an open big sky. My bass guitar work was so improved, I wasn’t even nervous at any time throughout the concert or even before.

Our band is made up of TC, a black Mississippian, originally of Detroit, who loves soul, country and R&B; Sapp, a terrific black drummer from Florida who picks up on an unfamiliar song immediately; Victor, also our vocalist and wonderful rhythm guitarist, an Hispanic American who loves rock and country; my good friend Terry, the virtuoso Hendrix guitarist with 20 years of professional performing experience (who knows how to play almost every song ever!); and I, who, after six months of playing bass, have done three concerts now and am getting pretty good! TC is a brilliant singer and does soulful vocals on Stormy Monday, Hotel California, I Can See Clearly Now, and Red House. Victor does wonderful country vocals on Way Out Here, Out in the Backwoods, Killing Time, and he finally nailed the vocals to Voodoo Child and Purple Haze.

My only disappointment is that I’d love to put on a show with the band every weekend – it’s so thrilling. Our next concerts will, in fact, be over the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday weekends. We’ll be adding Don’t Stop Believing (Journey), Blue on Black (Kenny Wayne Shepherd), Don’t Blink (Kenny Chesney), and Sitting on the Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding) for those shows, and probably dropping Purple Haze. I also know how to play bass on White Room, Wind Cries Mary, Money, All Along the Watchtower, Sunshine of Your Love, Johnny B. Goode, I Shot The Sheriff, Stir It Up, No Woman, No Cry, and Tightrope. Terry knows the lead on all those songs too, so we might bring some of those out in the new year.

I’ve just finished a terrific 850-page time travel novel that had me absorbed over eight days, written by Stephen King, called 11/22/63. I enthusiastically recommend this book. In a sleepy town in Maine (where else for Stephen King?), a modest teacher named Jake is shown a time travel portal at the back of the diner owned by his friend Al. Through this portal, you go from the year 2011 back to September, 1958. Always the same day, same time, same place. Al has been going back to September 1958 hundreds of times over the past few years to buy meats at 1958 prices for his diner. With each trip into 1958, Al does change the past, and it’s fixed in time, until the next jaunt back into ’58, and then the past is reset back to the status quo. And when he returns from 1958 through the portal, only two minutes has elapsed in 2011 time, no matter how long Al or Jake has stayed in the past. Al gets it in his head to go back to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from killing President John Kennedy, which Al hopes will prevent the Vietnam War, the assassinations of M.L. King and Robert Kennedy. But by 1962, while shadowing Oswald, living off the winnings from gambling on sports he knows the outcome of, Al gets irreversible cancer, and has to return to 2011 to recruit English teacher Jake to do the job.

What I’ve told you is established in just the first 40 pages, the next 800 are engrossing, thrilling and disturbing. Throughout the book the reader is teased with the premise “if you could, would you, should you?” The past is obdurate – a new word I learned, meaning the past resists changes. The past doesn’t want to be disturbed, and puts roadblocks in the way of those change agents who come into the past. With every page I was thinking about the implications of the premises established by this book, so when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it.

It’s also a touching love story, Jodie, and it made me think of us. The distance between us, the time (955 days) remaining until we’re together again, the strength of our commitment, and the romance we have always had. Time and space. I love my incredible Mrs. Emery!

And when I wasn’t thinking about the implications of changing the past, it was because those nine songs for my concert were in my head, morning, noon and nighttime too! Waking up and as I fell to sleep, I could hear my bass lines to Killing Time, Way Out Here, Stormy Monday, and the others. That’s something new in my life, Miss, that I’m really enjoying, this hearing songs I am working on in my head at all times of the day.

Can’t wait to see you on December 10th and 11th! Congratulations on your terrific work getting the Prime Minister’s attention, and getting our message into the news. I’m excited to have you seek a Liberal or NDP nomination in the 2015 election. Qualified as I feel I am, I might have too much baggage to seek elected office successfully – but you, everyone loves you, Miss, you are so classy and so wise for your age. I am so honoured to be your husband!

Forever your grateful prince,

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.