Marc Emery: Marijuana Legalization vs. the Conservative Party in Election 2015

“Marijuana is a societal ill.” – Canadian Justice Minister Peter MacKay

“(Marijuana is) one of the sins that defile the land.” Influential Conservative Party organizer Fran Parker, who says the majority of the ‘Conservative base’ takes its orders directly from God via the Peace Tower Clock on Parliament Hill (you can read about this in the book ‘The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada‘ by Marci McDonald)

“‘This punishment is in accordance with Islamic Law. Thank God, we can implement Islamic law in parts of the country freely and we hope to be able to do so throughout the country.’ Sheik Farah Ali Hussein … told the crowd.” This comment was in response to seven men being given 40 lashes in public for the sin of marijuana in Somalia (Associated Press)

“But Jodie Emery, who advocates for looser marijuana laws and whose husband Marc is in a US jail on drug charges, gets it. ‘Vancouver has a big and growing immigrant community from strict anti-drug use countries, so the Harper Cons are targeting them,’ she wrote to me on Twitter” Paul Wells, MacLean’s Magazine


Paul Wells, in his MacLean’s blog, quotes statistics that show Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s popularity, while generally rising or ascendant, is dipping in some areas. He believes this is because “the pot ads are playing big” in immigrant communities.

This perception is addressed by a Justin McElroy blog entitled “Who is against decriminalizing pot in BC? Looking at Sensible BC’s numbers”. In it, McElroy notes: “Let’s get to the final comparison though, the one that Wells focused on in his piece. Put simply: Did ridings with large immigrant communities reject the Sensible BC petition more than the rest of the province?”

Short answer is: yes, they did, big time. “The petition didn’t just fail (to reach 10%) in any riding where at least 45% of people had a mother-tongue other than English … it didn’t even reach 5% in any of them.”

The federal Conservatives are exploiting the obvious implications.

According to Wells: “I believe the Conservative campaign against Justin Trudeau on marijuana legalization is by far the most ambitious partisan exercise they have undertaken since their ad blitz against Michael Ignatieff in the first few months of 2011. In recent campaign-style videos aimed at the Liberal donor base, Trudeau staffers are asserting that the 2015 general election campaign is underway. To a greater extent than I would have imagined, and a far greater extent than has been covered (by journalists) elsewhere, the campaign has begun by focusing on differences over drug policy.”

The Conservatives are spending big, BIG money targeting Canadian immigrant and ethnic communities in their mother tongues on the marijuana issue. These immigrants often come from countries that have Sharia law (Somalia, Sudan, Iran) or some variant of Sharia law (North Africa, Nigeria, Palestine, Pakistan, Iraq, Ethiopia, the middle east) or some variant of patriarchal authoritarianism (China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan, India, Indonesia). In many of these countries there are penalties including flogging, life imprisonment and even the death penalty for cannabis, and considerable propaganda demonizing its use and culture.

Harper’s team is targeting them in the hope of maintaining prohibition in a secular Canada, where the majority of the population actually wants legalization. That is: the vast majority of those whose mother tongue is English or French.

Sharia law is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Countries that practice Sharia law in one form or another have public flogging and the death penalty for marijuana, in addition to the intolerable abuse meted out to women, gays, children, non-traditionalists and dissenters. Authoritarian nations like China, Malaysia, Vietnam, numerous former Soviet republics (mostly ending in ‘-stan’) have the death penalty and flogging available as punishments for marijuana, and cherish cultural conformity.

Like the Conservative ‘true believers’, Sharia true believers view marijuana as a sin against God. And since the Conservatives are selling marijuana as a moral sin, it is to be expected they would align themselves with ANY demographic that shares their religiously-inspired lunacy about cannabis.

Actually, when you look at the world, you see that it is these extremist religious groups from all countries that run politics on planet Earth these days. From Republican holy death trippers in the USA, to Conservative end-of-times Christians in Canada, to Hindu extremists in India, to the Taliban in Afghanistan, to Islamic sacred avengers and revolutionaries in Nigeria, Central African Republic, Somalia, Sudan, Algeria, Yemen, Pakistan, the zealous anti-semite Slavs in Poland, Romania, Hungary, the hateful brands of Catholicism or Greek Orthodoxy that are virulent in Croatia, Serbia, or the authoritarian patriarchies that use the concept of ‘sin’ as a form of Orwellian social control in China and other Asian countries – they are all on the same trip. They feed off each other.

Books have been written about this phenomenon. All are intolerant chauvinists totally obsessed with demonizing some “other”, and the whole planet is full of them. Most of the bloodletting of the last 25 years is from religious based intolerance, whether in Nigeria, Mali, Algeria, Egypt, Palestine/Israel, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Chechnya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, India, Burma, China, Tibet, Lebanon and others. Race-based intolerance comes next on the list of carnage causers, and then prohibition-based drug war violence, and then economic displacement exploitation. It is an intolerant world out there.

This is what puts a whole new perspective on 2015 and how it will change Canada. We have a Conservative advertising campaign designed to appeal not only to the home-bred Canadian religious lunatics, but also to their counterparts from around the world. These home-born inquisition nuts are a minority in Canada. They are not a minority in some other countries.

The Conservatives have figured out that if you can combine these two groups – the native crusaders against the sin of marijuana, and the immigrant crusaders against the sin of marijuana – you’ve got a majority forever, in a five-party government.

We’ll all be living in Canada’s first theocracy courtesy of a government that wants to eradicate sin/marijuana from society. And make no mistake: the only authentic long-term goal of Stephen Harper, reiterated in every book about the Conservatives (Slumming It At the Rodeo, The Armageddon Factor, Harper’s Team, et al) is to permanently change “the culture” in Canada, to reflect dogmatic Christian social conservative values on the environment, marijuana, the military, natives, women, arts & culture, policing… everything.

Of course, it seems ironic that, as much as the Conservatives loathe both marijuana and the people who support it, the Conservatives need marijuana to win the election, because marijuana gives them the religious platform of holy prohibition. By seizing on this role, the Conservatives create the Party As Religious Institution that is worshipped by its supporters because it is saving Canada from sin.

By voting for the Conservative party, these people feel they too are part of a holy crusade. Essential to all crusades are blessings from above. It can’t be a holy crusade unless you have divine approval from above. Therefore Harper becomes the first modern Canadian Prime Minister to end his speeches with ‘God Bless Canada’. Here we have the leader, whose political base believes God talks to them from the Peace Tower clock on Parliament (as documented in The Armageddon Factor), giving Canada blessings from God.

In all this, the Conservatives need one more thing. They’ve got the imperative to totally remake Canadian culture from a tolerant, secular, liberal multicultural society into a socially-conservative, Biblically-inspired, ‘a pox on the environment’, militarist, police-state surveillance society, where all sin will be revealed and punished. Now we just need the Devil. Satan. We need images of wasted lives, shattered souls and wretched people, the type of people who make you feel uncomfortable and creepy, the type of people who represent a societal ill.

This is what comes in the ads the Conservatives have been running in the ‘immigrant’ and ‘ethnic’ communities. The more tolerant Canadian-born French and English communities are relatively unaware of these outrageous ads, and this Conservative campaign strategy – and believe me, the election campaign is vigorously underway! This following Conservative ad is so intellectually insulting and grotesque that Maclean’s Paul Wells suggests readers view it even though it is not in English:

Punjabi News ad (video)

We see wasted marijuana sinners passed out on a floor, their eyes glassy, their souls sucked dry by Satan. X-ray skeletons are smoking a joint, all the while the narrator says in the mother-tongue of the immigrant community targeted “TRUDEAU” over and over and over again.

Repetition brands these connections into the receptive immigrant mind – often insular communities rife with the religious or orthodox chauvinism of the ‘old country’, not the more broad-minded typically-thought-of Canadian ethos found in much of English and French Canada. No, these ads don’t run in what you may regard as ‘typical Canadian culture’, they run those ads in those communities that, shall we say, are resistant to western democratic-ideals assimilation. The kind of people the old-school Conservatives used to want to keep out of Canada because they kept voting Liberal and wouldn’t learn English and become ‘like us’, but who are now embraced for their religious orthodoxy or cultural chauvinism.

You think these ‘immigrant community’ ads are insulting now? Ah, your naivete is showing. You ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait until you see the one the Conservatives have with Trudeau’s mother begging her son to get treatment for his marijuana addiction before it’s too late and he starts a nuclear war to get another joint. “Get treatment!” she begs as the camera closes in on tears running down her face, “Don’t nuke Medicine Hat just to get a joint. Think of the kids!”

Ok, that last one, that’s me mocking the extremes the Conservatives will go to in order to demonize Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. But as I’ve noted before, the Conservatives read my blog, and they’ve quoted it in Parliament (demonizing me and the opposition parties), so I’m sure there is some Ezra Levant-like partisan in the Tory war room writing that copy down, “Trudeau’s Mom Speaks Out”, thinking ‘that’s a damn good ad idea!’

But it is prohibition that brings crime (read, ‘sin’) to immigrant and minority neighbourhoods on a far larger scale than it does to white mainstream French or English communities, something to which His Worship Mayor Rob Ford can attest to, as he purchased crack and heroin from Somalian gangs.

Immigrant communities terrorized by prohibition gangs are open to the Conservative ads promising to make their communities safe by building prisons for marijuana sinners. The evils of prohibition are professionally manufactured by the Conservatives when they enforce and expand prohibition.

This is pretty cold-hearted and insidious stuff, a self-fulfilling prophecy of cynical doom for political profit. The Conservatives create the prohibition environment for the prohibition murders, prohibition assaults, prohibition robberies, prohibition grow rips and home invasions, prohibition inducements to every young teenager in the immigrant community to join a drug dealing gang or become a dealer, prohibition extortions (of even Mayors!), prohibition corruption of police… all to form a solid political base.

The Conservatives promote prohibition and watch gleefully as it destroys communities, particularly immigrant communities. Then, when you have the community so frightened they’re scared to go outside, you promise to make them safe by being ‘tough on crime’, the crime you have knowingly, intentionally and cynically manufactured with these policies of prohibition. You run the sort of ad campaign the Conservatives are now running in immigrant communities, and you call Liberal leader Justin Trudeau “Drug Trade Trudeau”.

It’s an endless cycle. As long as you keep the community terrorized with your prohibition policy, you can get people to vote for you to keep them safe – to keep them safe from the terror you keep generating with prohibition; to keep them safe from sin, all the while doing ‘God’s work’.

Getting dizzy? That’s the idea.

No prohibition means no drug gang crime and terror.
No drug gang crime and terror means no fear advertising.
No fear advertising means no sin.
No sin means no Conservative (Talking Clock) Party.

Wells of MacLean’s had something else interesting in his blog. It was a transcript of Vancouver-Quadra Liberal MP Joyce Murray’s appearance on a Cantonese-language Fairchild Radio open-line forum.

Fairchild Radio and TV are the media for British Columbia’s significantly-sized and generally very moneyed Chinese community. Wherever there is a Chinese majority in ridings in BC, they currently have a Conservative Chinese-Canadian MP. These Chinese communities are very prohibitionist; there is not a high-profile Chinese-Canadian spokesperson against prohibition in all of British Columbia. As a community they are affluent, or very affluent, politically engaged, reactionary in the extreme, and give money to the Conservative Party. Most Chinese-Canadians are now comfortably in the Conservative camp; their votes are already parked in the Conservative Ark.

This current marijuana propaganda campaign aimed at Asian-Canadians is about getting rich donations from this affluent, reactionary sector. The Conservatives rely on about 100,000 Canadians to give the Party up to the legal maximum per-person donation of $1,200 a year, and that has them taking in record sums over $20 million each year now, out of just less than one percent of the Canadian adult electorate.

It was Chinese-Canadian Conservative MP Wai Young of Vancouver South who demonized me and the opposition parties in Parliament, telling more lies in the space of a minute than one could think possible, even for a politician. But for her, it was a media op, a badge of distinction to be proudly played to the (largely Asian) home crowd in Vancouver South, a riding adjacent to that of Liberal MP Joyce Murray.

Wai Young, Question Period (video)

As to Liberal MP Joyce Murray’s appearance on Fairchild Radio, where numerous Conservative “Drug Trade Trudeau” ads have run in Cantonese, Wells points out that “Murray gets hammered by callers.” He wonders if they could be partisan plants, as on English language radio. He gives this example of one caller to Murray on the radio open-line:

Mr. Liu is speaking: “This marijuana is just a gateway drug. For drug users this is just the beginning. After marijuana, drug users usually take stronger drugs, like amphetamine, barbital, heroin, cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), midazolam and countless others, and there are still more strong synthetic drugs… If the Liberals are in power and buy up the marijuana market, do you think organized crime won’t go ahead and fight for the heroin, amphetamine, barbital, MDMA, cocaine markets? And if the Liberals come into power, would they go and buy up other drugs too? In this case, a Canada under Liberal rule would be no different than Colombia, where the government is the drug lord, and those ruled will mainly be drug users and addicts, and the country’s productivity and taxes… when the people don’t have the energy to produce, to create, to engage in economic productive activities, who would be able to pay tax to the government? If everybody is addicts…”

That’s some pretty professional demonization propaganda pumped out, whether its an English-speaking Canadian or Cantonese-speaking Canadian. It is all insane, from the premise that the Colombian government is the drug lord, that those ruled will be mostly addicts, that marijuana is a gateway drug, that the Liberals will “buy up the marijuana market”, etc., etc., but no matter, it’s got every Conservative election talking point: Fear (about your children), fear about drug lords, sin, and of course the ‘work ethic’ (an obsession with the Chinese community and the religious right), and lots and lots of lies and hysteria. Does this seem like the sort of detailed lies the average non-partisan Canuck would have easily at hand? It’s definitely the sort of specialized ad copy we might soon hear again, especially if one’s mother tongue is neither English nor French.

Of course, facts DO matter, especially when they (always) conflict with dogma and preconceived notions. Unfortunately, knowledge and facts are on the defensive in most of the world outside of Canada, and here we see this retreat of reason within Canada, within a national debate, within the governing party, its war room made up of educated university graduates, resorting to crass ignorance and hateful and patently false screeds, to win the hearts if not the minds of voters. The Conservatives are engaging in holy war, and war demands victory, not understanding.

I remind you that the leader of the Canadian Alliance/Conservative Party before Stephen Harper, Stockwell Day, was a university-educated man who nonetheless seriously believed the planet was only 6,000 years old, and that man and dinosaurs co-habited together, and that the dinosaur fossils found all over his native province of Alberta are mere thousands of years old, despite ALL evidence contradicting that belief. For these people, facts do not matter. What matters to these Conservatives and their ilk is deference to authority, the obliteration of tolerance, the control of the citizens through propaganda and surveillance, the homogenization of Canadian culture, the demonization of others, and conformity of belief.

What reasonable Canadians need to do is join the Liberal Party of Canada. Give the Liberal Party of Canada money, as much as you can. Volunteer. This is going to be a critical election and we have never had this opportunity before. This time its Prohibition vs. Legalization. Lies vs. Truth. The sleazy malodorous propaganda of the Conservatives vs. the truth-telling campaign of the Liberals. The dictatorship and stolen elections (let’s not forget that!) of Stephen Harper vs. Justin “The Legalizer” Trudeau.

The Canadian NDP, alas, has demonstrated hostility to legalization, and Thomas Mulcair’s absurd and ridiculous position on legalization (That is: ‘No’) has the entire NDP caucus whipped into silence or condemnation of legalization. The NDP cannot be considered relevant to the Canadian Cannabis Culture in the upcoming election campaign – a campaign that is, I remind you, already underway.The NDP are now an impediment to the goals of our culture and have to be regarded as unfriendly and irrelevant. If you are a member or supporter of the NDP, please reconsider now! The Liberal Party of Canada under Justin Trudeau is offering Canadians an unprecedented gift, one big pivotal vote in October 2015 to end marijuana prohibition. The NDP position is a Royal Commission and some vague platitudes about decriminalizing. It’s as if for Thomas Mulcair and the NDP, it’s 1969 again, and Mulcair is proposing the LeDain Commission.

How bad is the situation for the Cannabis Culture in Canada? While Colorado, Washington state, and Uruguay move forward with variants on legalization, 30,000 legal, licensed medical cannabis Canadians are having their permits to grow their own (or for other patients) revoked. What happens when they are found growing after March of this year?

Read the piece from the online journal THE TYEE, specifically the December 16th piece headlined “The War on BC’s Small Pot Farmer: Canada busts mom and pop grow-op while fostering the rise of biopharmaceutical marijuana“, written by Molly Lynch.

A British Columbia mother in the famous marijuana-growing area of BC known as the West Kootenays, near Nelson, returns home after taking her daughters to elementary school. RCMP psychos in full combat regalia are moving furniture, taking family photos out of the house, prowling around with an “excited” German Shepherd on a “tight leash”, terrorizing a family, and generally ripping the place apart for eleven hours.

This, according to the prohibitionists, is called doing God’s work. They found “evidence of a grow-op” in a “closet-sized room” in the basement. Three months later the family gets a notice from a bailiff that the government is seizing their house. They haven’t been to court yet for the criminal charge of possession for the purposes of trafficking, the charge (incidentally) that tens of thousands of former legal medical-necessity home growers now face in just a few months, under the new Health Canada medical marijuana restrictions. The notice says it doesn’t matter if they are found guilty or not. They have lost their home under the BC Civil Forfeiture Act, there are other provincial equivalents in most provinces that most Canadians do not even know exist.

Now living with her sister while her husband moves 1,000 kilometers away to Fort McMurray, Alberta to work in the oil fields, the mother wonders how this can happen when latest polls show two-thirds of the province wants marijuana legalized. “I don’t understand what more they want from us,” said the mother. “Penal, financial and public flogging. We’re not Hell’s Angels here. We’re a family. But now we are fighting to hold on to our family, all for a law no one believes in.”

In fact, The Harper Conservatives dedicated $500 million to the five-year Anti-drug Strategy in 2007, largely to combat marijuana grow gardens, and the budgets for the RCMP to attack grow gardens went from $85 million to $113 million in 2012. In 2012, Nelson-area RCMP were given the first “Award of Excellence” from the BC Civil Forfeiture Office for seizing over $75 million in cash and related property, mostly from hundreds of home marijuana growers.

None of the 30,000 formerly legal licensed home growers are eligible to keep their gardens for medical purposes. None of these 30,000 growers are eligible to be part of the corporate regime that is now being issued production licenses by Health Canada. And the RCMP has the names and address of all 30,000 of those previously legal growers. And whereas a person up until now could grow their own legal medical bud for $2-$3 a gram – and maybe sell some leftover to other people in need – now they have to buy from corporate entities cozy with the federal government (like Prairie Plant Systems) at $8 to $15 a gram.

These patients inevitably face anxiety, unfairness and risk of losing their home, going to prison, having their kids seized by Children’s Aid, lawyer bills, a criminal record, an exploding price for their medicine – all when they were hurting no one, and for an activity most British Columbians think ought to be legal.

When the mother in this story (in the Tyee, the pseudonym ‘Emily Wright’ is used) talks of public flogging, doesn’t that take us back to why this Canadian version of Sharia law (see the quote at the beginning of this piece about men in Saudi Arabia receiving a public flogging for marijuana) is here, now, in Canada? When you can have your family broken up, your home seized, your kids taken away, spend time in prison, lose your medicine, publicly humiliated, police state terrorism in your home… over what the facts say are harmless beneficent plants that the majority of Canadians want legalized for all?

This is why the October 2015 election is the most important in our lifetime: because Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada want to end this cruel, costly, inhumane insanity. No one else will or can do this. A vote for any other party is destructive to the goal of our people, our culture, to a tolerant fact-based way of life.

The RCMP has always been an extremely violent and reactionary force completely opposed to the people of Canada (read my RCMP history article for the proof). Up to recently, it was a white supremacist occupation army by-and-large dedicated to the suppression of Canadians, and an adjunct to the political establishment in Ottawa. The RCMP, like the Conservatives, have always regarded themselves as omnipotent and beyond the reach of any kind of accountability.

The RCMP believes it is fighting ‘sin’ and doing God’s work. This means there is no limit on their powers of abuse and destruction. This is why the RCMP can joyously destroy a family’s life over a few plants, and why the Conservative Party can thus empower them. They are both the Holy Inquisitors, both believing that there are no human beings involved when marijuana is involved, there are only sinners. They are both of the mindset that they are eradicating, as Justice Minister McKay would say, a ‘societal evil’.

The Conservatives know there are not enough religious, sin-hating zealots among white French or English speaking Canadians, so their outreach is very specific now; find the intolerant sin-hating zealots in the immigrant community, join those together with the home-grown Anglo-Franco religious right, and continue to have four opposition parties split the sane-citizens vote. As Harper disdainfully said at the recent Conservative Party convention, the Conservatives hate any Canadian who don’t think like them.

My good friend Dana Larsen, who heroically organized the magnificent but failed Sensible BC decriminalization initiative (they got 220,000 signatures in BC, short of the necessary 350,000) says the biggest thing about the Sensible BC campaign was all the people who thanked him for giving them a way to get involved. “We tell them to write a letter to their MP or make a meeting with their MLA or write to the paper… and those are good things to be doing, but they are not very soul satisfying.”

Here’s what is soul satisfying: Winning. Winning once and for all. Burying prohibition forever.

And we can win it all in the October 2015 election. The campaign is underway already. You’ve got to jump in, be brave, be bold, donate money, and talk up Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada for their thorough, forward-thinking marijuana legalization policy. Register to vote and campaign effectively with a team in your riding. Be part of an inspired movement whose time has finally come with a federal election centered on marijuana legalization.

Not voting is equivalent to cultural suicide. That results in victory for our enemy, the Evil Conservatives and their appeal to the intolerant, hateful zealots who want to destroy us. Realize you are part of the biggest voting bloc in Canada – larger even than the religious and cultural prohibitionists – and all the power that comes with that.

Sensible BC tried valiantly against overwhelming statistical odds to get decriminalization on the ballot in British Columbia for 2013.

Legalization is on the ballot in all of Canada, in the 2015 election.

If we all vote, that is the end of having your life ruled by a Talking Clock or a religious fanatic or dictatorial control freak like Stephen Harper. It is our one chance at true empowerment. Otherwise we are left with a theocratic police state where you will forever be anxious about losing your house and kids, with police ripping apart your home and shooting your pets for fun. I bring up the pet shooting remark because it is true; the police have killed pets by the hundreds in their raids of Canadian weed farmers over the years, and it’s a very damning image. And as recent despicable Conservative ads show us, this IS an image battle.

When I get home this August, at the top of the Cannabis Culture homepage online will be an ‘ELECTION 2015’ banner taking you to an election home page. Cannabis Culture has the best cannabis news coverage in the world; “Best in the world” used by some is a trite boast, but at Cannabis Culture, which I began as a printed magazine in 1994, it is the real thing. For the Canadian cannabis culture, we are and will continue to be the place for definitive information to use in the run-up to the October 19th, 2015 Canadian federal election.

All of us have to give Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada our monetary and political support. He’s put legalization out there. He’s gone all-in. If Trudeau and the Liberal Party don’t get public support – our support, and a lot of it – then the Conservatives and their evil agenda will prevail.

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.