Prison Blog: DEA Admits All My Seed Money Went To Activism

Jodie and Marc in Yazoo prison, June 23rd 2012It’s July 15th, and I have 724 days to go if I serve every day in the US federal system up to my early release date of July 9th, 2014. That means I now have less than two years to go on this sentence here in the US, though I am hoping to be transferred back to Canada next summer or fall to be home with Jodie in Vancouver by Christmas 2013.

If I do get a Canadian transfer, I’ll receive statutory release (parole until March 2015) in Canada anytime after July 2013. I was rejected for transfer by the US Department of Justice last year in April, and have to wait two years before an application is reconsidered.

Over a year ago, after getting the transfer application rejected, one of my lawyers put in a Freedom of Information request about me to the DEA, FBI, Department of State, Bureau of Prisons, and other U.S. federal agencies. The FBI claimed not to have any file on me, others sent minor paperwork, and the DEA stalled – claiming that with so many email accounts and servers to go through, they couldn’t afford the time to do it! But finally, some the DEA files were handed over; heavily redacted too, of course.

Some of the most interesting information is that the DEA confirmed that I gave over $2,000,000 to activists, activist groups, political parties, rallies, events, court challenges, and verified that over $753,000 of it was sent by Western Union wire. (I actually gave just under $4,500,000 in cash, check, money order, credit card and western union to those causes and people from 1995 to 2005, but the DEA apparently could only ascertain $2,000,000 of it, from 1999 to 2004.)

Here are the excerpts from the DEA release: [Click the images to view the full pages]

PAGE 14:

In a recent Editor’s Page piece, EMERY and assistant editor Giesz-Ramsay boast that “my [EMERY’s] organizations (including CC) have contributed over $2,000,000 toward court battles, ballot initiatives, jailed individuals, rallies, conferences, marches and elections – all involving cannabis or the drug war.”

It goes on to state, “There is virtually no drug reform group or organization in North America that has not received some assistance from us.”

These sentiments are confirmed by the investigation conducted by the San Francisco FD into the numerous Western Union wire transfers initiated by Marc EMERY to many marijuana political activists around the world.

PAGE 18:

The San Francisco Field Division, in coordination with the Blaine Resident Office is investigating Marc EMERY. At the request of Blaine RO, SFFD has conducted an analysis of Western Union wire transfers sent by EMERY for the period 5 April 1999 until 5 April 2004.

In total, $753,712.14 was transferred by EMERY through Western Union Financial Services. The financial analysis revealed that EMERY distributed this money to candidates for elections in the United States, Canada, Australia and other countries.

This Report of Investigation details the significant websites and email accounts documented in cables DTG: 102055Z June 2005 and DTG: 102110Z June 2005.

So there you have it. Although I have claimed all along to have donated millions of dollars (all my seed profits) to activist efforts in those ten years I was a seed seller – because that was the point of the seed business – it’s still nice to have the DEA confirm this. And out of the San Francisco Field Office of DEA, at that.

Of course, this further buttresses my claim that my extradition and prosecution was entirely political in nature, considering what DEA head Karen Tandy said on the day of my arrest:

“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 Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.”

As always, that DEA press release can always be seen and downloaded from the front page of (click HERE for the direct link).

My band YAZOO had its July 4th concert on Friday evening, June 29th. Terry, my lead guitarist, played a beautiful Jimi Hendrix version of Star Spangled Banner in the middle of our 17-song set, which we managed to get completed in 100 minutes. It was my 8th concert, and our best yet, with few mistakes, and a comfortable 93 degrees F (34 C) temperature from 6:15pm to 8pm when we played. Our song list was:

1) Hey Joe (Hendrix)
2) Jumpin Jack Flash (Rolling Stones)
3) Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
4) White Room (Cream)
5) Red House (Hendrix)
6) Little Wing (Hendrix)
7) Star Spangled Banner (Hendrix)
8) Pride And Joy (SR Vaughan)
9) Back in Black (AC/DC)
10) Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top)
11) Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Santana)
12) Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)
13) Crazy Train (Ozzy)
14) Whole Lotta Love (Zeppelin)
15) Come Together (Beatles)
16) Blue on Black (KW Shepherd)
17) Voodoo Child (Hendrix)

For the last three weeks I have been learning ‘Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid’ by Led Zeppelin, and now have it down. We’ll be adding that pair of songs to our Labor Day concert set list. I have just mastered ‘Plush’ by Stone Temple Pilots and am now intensely learning and practicing on ‘Enter Sandman’ (Metallica), with ‘Bad to The Bone’ (George Thorogood) and ‘Running Down A Dream’ (Tom Petty) to be learned next. We have over seven weeks until this next concert and we should have these songs mastered by then.

‘Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid’ was perhaps my biggest challenge so far, although it took a lot of practice to get proficient on my two previous big challenges, ‘Black Magic Woman’ and ‘Crazy Train’. I’ve also been working more enthusiastically on the minor and major scales, because I have realized that all songs are created within a scale and I can see that, when I go through the B minor scale, for example, I can hear how ‘Lean On Me’ by Bill Withers was created out of that scale. So musical light bulbs are going off in my head about song construction and how these songs sound so ‘right’, it’s all in the scales!

We did get a ‘special’ July 4th meal: two hamburger patties instead of one, a slice of watermelon, and a pouch of Famous Amos raisin/oatmeal bite-size cookies. It could be worse – and usually is!

There is a charming poster of my band YAZOO by Gary Wintle posted on my Facebook fan page at I finally got some copies in the mail; numerous correspondents waxed enthusiastic about it, and my bandmates’ families have seen it and enjoyed it too. I want YAZOO to become the most popular band no one in the free world has ever actually heard!

If anyone reproduces the poster in color from Facebook and sends it to me, I’ll have each member of the band autograph it and send it back to you. (My mailing address is always on the front page of I’m hoping we can take that wonderful Gary Wintle illustration of the band, make some modifications to it, and put it on t-shirts and get them out there. If you would be interested in buying a YAZOO band color t-shirt for $15, let Jodie know. I’m hoping we can make 50 of each male and female t-shirts, give two to the families of my four band-mates, keep a couple for posterity, and sell the other 90. I promise to sign the t-shirt for anyone who has one when Jodie and I go on our 30-50 city cross-Canada speaking tour, from September to November 2014. Can’t wait to travel Canada to see our people and fire ’em up for the May 2015 federal election! We’ll have to make sure the NDP and Liberals fully intend to repeal the Harper mandatory minimums for marijuana as that election comes closer.

Canada’s new mandatory minimum jail sentences for marijuana and all illegal drugs come into effect November 22nd, thanks to the Stephen Harper Conservative majority government. This will change Canada’s cannabis culture significantly, and worryingly. There are numerous enhancements that make jail time longer, such as growing or selling in a rented property, in residential communities, second offenses, and more. Once Canadians start being charged under these new penalties, a chill will descend on Canada’s cannabis culture, and prices will rise (making the black market even more lucrative, of course). Canadians are increasingly opposed to marijuana prohibition, but the Harper Conservative government is in office until an election in May 2015. There are dark days ahead, and a lot of work will need to be done to fix everything!

I have fallen behind on responding to letters sent me, so I have decided to make four different postcards that I can use to send to everyone who writes me a letter within a day of my receiving it. Most of my letters that I write are 6-10 page letters and take 90-120 minutes. I love writing such long missives, but I don’t end up responding to most of the letters I get because I actually don’t have the time! So this way, I’ll be able to answer each letter with a postcard (the photos are of me and Jodie in the visitation room, or of me by myself in the prison photo room) and a personal message on each one that might only take me 10-15 minutes each. Most of the letters I write tend to repeat the same information (what I’m reading, the music I’m playing, etc.) and I cover that in these blog entries, so on the postcards I’ll be able to be a bit more personal (albeit brief).

I’m reading voraciously, mostly still outside, but as every day is 96-100 degrees F (35-38 C) now, and will be for the rest of July and early August, I escape to the air-conditioned environs of our unit every now and then. Some books of note that I finished recently include:

– ‘The Fish That Ate The Whale’, the biography of the ‘Banana Man’ Sam ZeMurray
– ‘Emperor of All Maladies’, a ‘biography’ of cancer
– ‘Armies of the Night’, by Norman Mailer, of the march on the pentagon in October 1967 protesting the draft and the Vietnam War
– All seven books in the ‘Joe Sandilands’ murder mysteries by Barbara Cleverly
– ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’, by Michael Pollan, following up his brilliant book ‘The Botany of Desire’

I’ve been enjoying graphic novels by Grant Morrison, his ‘The Doom Patrol’ Vol. 1-4, ‘The New X-Men’ 1-3, ‘WE3’, a plethora of Carl Barks material, his Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge work from 1949-1960, a very bizarre and wonderful series called ‘CHEW’ about an investigator who is ‘cibopathic’, meaning he gets visions and information from eating anything (except beets). So to solve murders he (now this is strange) eats a sample of the flesh or blood of victims, or the murderer! I’ve also gotten larger hardcovers of the work of Steve Ditko and Bernie Kriegstein. Kriegstein did work for EC comics and others in the 1950’s, and Ditko has a career spanning the 50’s to the early 80’s, and is most famous for the first 38 Spiderman comics. He was an Ayn Rand acolyte, and that shows up in work like ‘Mr. A’ and ‘Avenging World’.

These and so many other graphic novels that I get (and lend around the prison extensively) come to me courtesy of my great friend Dana Larsen. And most of the books I’m reading, and music books I work from come from Dana too! Dana is organizing ‘Sensible BC‘, which exists to get a referendum on the ballot in British Columbia in September 2014 to essentially decriminalize marijuana possession in BC. Dana is an incredible activist and person and I hope you will join his Facebook page (click HERE) and support his dispensaries, Sensible BC at, and his many other extraordinary projects. Dana ran for leadership of the BC New Democratic Party from January to April 2011, and was very, very good in that campaign all the way to the leadership convention, and represented the cannabis community with great panache and honor.

Jodie and Marc in Yazoo prison, June 23rd 2012Jodie visited me last weekend, and you can always see the latest photos of us on my Facebook page, where she recently posted the photos from our visit here on June 24th and 25th, and she shares them in her weekly videos at (also always posted at and As you can see, there is a new photo background, a change from the fence by the seaside background that has been at Yazoo since May of last year.

For every anniversary or special occasion between Jodie and I, I make a special card relying heavily on the talents of one or two Mexican guys here. In prison there are many talented artists, particularly from Mexico, and they do great 3-D greeting cards. I help out in simple things like waxing the letters to make them shine and gleam, cutting out the paper or cardboard shapes, gluing pieces together, and choosing the text. I admit I don’t do the really talented work! I started work on June 4th for the card for Jodie and my 6th anniversary (on July 23rd), and finished it June 24, sent it June 25 only to have Jodie get an empty envelope in the mail! These are exquisitely beautiful cards and Jodie proudly shows them on her Jodie Emery show every week at and

Despite the latest card going missing in the mail (maybe look for it on eBay sometime in the future as an authentic Marc Emery signed card – hah!) I still have time to get another card made, so I’ve started work on it with my brilliant Mexican artist and I’m hoping we have one ready by next week in time to send to Jodie, arriving before July 23rd. Look for it on the Jodie Emery show of July 26th! And thank you to those friends and fans who send donations to my commissary, so I can buy phone calls to talk to Jodie, and other prison essentials. Jodie and I both really appreciate it!

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.