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Enfin les griffes des geôles américaines se sont desserrées, et après cinq années et six centres d’enfermements, les plus divers, allant de la prison de sécurité au centre de rétention, dans autant d’Etats différents, pour finir, les dernières semaines, en Louisiane, avec des mexicains sans papiers, Marc Emery est libre !

Le « prince de l’herbe » – « prince du pot », comme on dit là-bas –, condamné comme un gros dealer, avait scandaleusement été extradé du Canada pour être livré à la justice américaine, alors qu’il n’était « coupable » que de vente de graines par correspondance, une activité légale dans son pays. Comme au Pays-Bas, où d’autres ont fait tout aussi légalement prospérer le même commerce, ou en Espagne, et même en France où ça n’est pas moins légal, même si l’intimidation est si lourde que les producteurs comme les points de vente sont plus que rares [Publicité : Seul point de vente de graines à Paris, la Maison des graines, à la librairie Lady Long Solo, 38, rue Keller, entre Bastille et Voltaire].

Pendant des années, Marc Emery a publié un des meilleurs magazines au monde sur la question des drogues, Cannabis culture, incluant le catalogue des graines qu’il vendait en VPC. Il a contribué par tous les moyens, faisant une chaîne de télé, un parti, multipliant les combats politiques, se faisant enfermer 23 fois au Canada, avant cette peine de cinq ans « négociée » avec des tribunaux américains qui le menaçaient de bien plus, en vertu de la politique d’arrangements judiciaires qui interdit quasiment aux innocents de se défendre, les obligeant même à se reconnaître coupable, au terme d’un chantage à des peines inconcevables qui font que Marc peut s’estimer heureux de n’avoir fait « que » cinq ans – 4 ans et demi, en fait…

En quatre ans et demi, il aura appris 120 morceaux de rock’n roll, surtout dans le pénitencier où il est resté trois ans, l’essentiel de sa peine, où il participait à un super groupe… Il n’avait jamais touché un instrument de sa vie et maintenant, il joue de la basse. Sa célébrité lui aura valu respect aussi bien des prisonniers que des gardiens. Il ne se plaint pas particulièrement de sa prison, et en sort avec une énergie digne d’Elvis

A peine a-t-il posé le pieds au Canada qu’il multiplie interviews et conférences de presse, lançant une campagne plus qu’originale, appelant à voter non pour le Marijuana party, mais pour le parti Libéral, mené par Justin Trudeau qui s’est prononcé en faveur de la légalisation. Il faut dire que c’est au parti conservateur qu’Emery doit son extradition, et il ne cache pas que c’est la forme de « revanche » qu’il aura choisi, que d’apporter le vote cannabique, généralement abstentionniste, au Parti Libéral, pour chasser les conservateurs.

Les conservateurs font mine de s’en féliciter et attaquent Trudeau comme empoisonneur de la jeunesse. Les libéraux sont apparemment gênés de ce renfort inattendu et intempestif. Ce qui ne trouble pas le moins du monde Marc et Jodie, sa femme, qui ont même réussi à se retrouver dans ce tourbillon de la vie, et, postulant pour le couple du siècle, lancent la campagne de Jodie pour l’investiture du Parti Libéral dans une circonscription de Vancouver, chez eux, sur leurs terres, au pays du cannabis presque libéré. Vancouver qu’il faudrait appeler la Nouvelle Amsterdam, plus que New York…

Ils auront même réussi à faire un premier spot de campagne à deux, parfait.

Avec ou sans l’investiture du parti libéral, ils promettent de faire des meetings dans une trentaine de villes, et même une tournée en Europe, mais pas encore en France, sauf changement de programme, s’ils souhaitaient passer par Paris, par exemple, où on serait trop content de les recevoir…

Paris s’éveille

Légaliser le cannabis au Canada, combat d’une vie pour Marc Emery

14 AOÛT 2014

Près de cinq ans d’emprisonnement aux Etats-Unis n’ont pas entamé la détermination du Canadien Marc Emery, un activiste de longue date de la légalisation de l’usage du cannabis, revenu avec l’idée d’obtenir sa revanche dans les urnes.

« J’ai l’intention de continuer à faire pression pour la libéralisation de l’usage du cannabis et je continuerai à en fumer et à militer pour », clame à l’AFP Marc Emery qui, à 56 ans, arbore un peu plus de cheveux gris et un léger embonpoint.

Extradé par le gouvernement conservateur canadien, les Etats-Unis l’ont condamné pour avoir vendu et expédié par la poste plus de trois millions de graines de marijuana à des clients américains.

Celui qui s’était autoproclamé « prince de l’herbe » est depuis son retour mardi au Canada en campagne contre le Premier ministre Stephen Harper et son gouvernement conservateur, qu’il juge responsables de lui avoir gâché des années de sa vie.

« Je vais m’appuyer sur plus de trois millions de sympathisants contre le gouvernement Harper » tout en veillant à ce que le parti libéral et son chef Justin Trudeau mettent en oeuvre la légalisation dès leur victoire aux législatives d’octobre 2015.

Ce thème sera l’un des enjeux du prochain scrutin électoral et Justin Trudeau, qui a reconnu l’an dernier avoir consommé du cannabis alors qu’il était déjà élu au Parlement canadien, s’est prononcé en faveur de cette légalisation.

Marc Emery, qui a fondé en 2000 le Parti de la marijuana, va donc faire campagne pour les libéraux. Son épouse, Jodie Emery, qui ne le quitte plus depuis qu’il est revenu au Canada, vise l’investiture de ce parti dans une circonscription de Vancouver (ouest).

« Je suis confiante dans le fait que nos efforts pour libéraliser l’usage du cannabis vont être fructueux bientôt », avance Jodie Emery, le téléphone collé à l’oreille pour fixer le prochain rendez-vous média ou organiser l’accueil des sympathisants du côté de Vancouver ce week-end. « Nous allons parler d’une seule voix aux prochaines élections et apporter aux gens ce qu’ils attendent » en fédérant tous les sympathisants de l’Atlantique au Pacifique.

Marc Emery sait bien que les promesses électorales sont souvent laissées en chemin. « Nous avons été trahis à plusieurs reprises dans le passé, et cette fois nous allons nous assurer que cela n’arrivera plus », martèle-t-il en rappelant les volte-face des libéraux et des conservateurs dans le passé.

L’assouplissement de la législation canadienne, quand la loi reste répressive chez le voisin américain, fait dire aux tenants d’une ligne dure que cela augmenterait les trafics et aboutirait à la main mise de cartels mafieux, ou encore encouragerait le tourisme ou l’immigration de fumeurs au Canada.

« Dans pas mal d’Etats américains des parlementaires et des activistes travaillent à cette légalisation et notre espoir est que les groupes de pression réussissent aussi aux Etats-Unis » à faire tomber les barrières sociales et légales, dit Marc Emery.

Si le prix est fixé à un dollar le gramme des deux côtés de la frontière, ceci empêchera tous les trafics, explique-t-il en soulignant que la libéralisation permettrait aussi de donner un coup de pouce à l’industrie touristique et donc à l’économie canadienne dans son ensemble.

Depuis mi-2010 dans sa prison aux Etats-Unis, il a été « inondé de lettres et de courriels du monde entier » et a dépensé 18.000 dollars pour y répondre et faire entendre sa voix au-delà des barreaux.

« J’ai été arrêté 28 fois pour du cannabis et j’ai fait 23 fois de la prison », et rien ni personne ne freinera son enthousiasme, rappelle celui qui était aussi à la tête d’une affaire florissante de culture de graines de cannabis et du magazine Cannabis Culture avant son extradition aux Etats-Unis, des responsabilités reprises par son épouse Jodie.

[Source : Libé, AFP]

Le Prince du pot, Marc Émery, ovationné à son retour au Canada

Publié par La Presse Canadienne le mardi 12 août 2014

WINDSOR, Ont. - Marc Émery, le soi-disant « Prince du pot », a été bruyamment accueilli par ses partisans lors de son retour au pays après avoir purgé une peine d’emprisonnement aux États-Unis pour avoir vendu des graines de plant de marijuana.

Agé de 56 ans, M. Émery, qui avait été extradé aux États-Unis en 2010, a juré de continuer son militantisme en faveur de la légalisation de la drogue même si cela entraîne de nouvelles arrestations.

A son arrivée au Canada, il a été ovationné. Une odeur de pot s’est répandu autour de lui. Il a été embrassé par sa femme Jody, qui aimerait se présenter pour les libéraux à l’occasion des prochaines élections fédérales. L’ancien détenu a prononcé un discours d’appui aux libéraux, épicé d’anecdotes de prison.

Le chef libéral Justin Trudeau s’est déjà prononcé en faveur de la légalisation de la marijuana.

Selon M. Émery, les libéraux veulent sincèrement légaliser la marijuna. Il a encouragé les partisans d’une telle mesure d’aller voter aux prochaines élections.

Il a ajouté que la légalisation de la marijuana — qui doit, selon lui, s’accompagner de mesures permettant de supprimer les dossiers judiciaires de ceux qui ont été reconnus coupable de possession de cette drogue — est le seul enjeu électoral qui aura un impact profond sur la vie des Canadiens.

« Il y en a qui disent que les Canadiens sont intéressés par des choses beaucoup plus importantes, a dit M. Émery. Je leur réponds : A quoi êtes-vous intéressé ? A l’économie ? à l’environnement ? A la santé ? Ce n’est pas en votant qu’on y changera quelque chose. »

Le militant reconnaît qu’il y a beaucoup de travail devant lui, ne serait-ce que souvent les gens de la « culture du cannabis » ne participent pas souvent aux élections. Il a toutefois fait remarquer qu’ils représentent « un bloc sous-estimé d’électeurs ».

« Si on obtient un gouvernement libéral majoritaire l’an prochain, on n’aura plus à revenir aux urnes pour légaliser la marijuana », a-t-il ajouté.

M. Émery envisage de visiter 30 villes canadiennes avant le déclenchement des prochaines élections, se rendre dans des universités l’hiver prochain et se faire entendre sur la scène internationale, notamment en Irlande et en Espagne. « Nous répéterons le même message : l’interdiction de la marijuana n’a rien eu de bon. Si on ne veut pas que les jeunes fument de la marijuana, c’est une chose. Mais leur donner un dossier criminel, les stigmatiser, les emprisonner pendant une nuit. Selon moi, c’est vraiment traumatisant. »

Il dit avoir été arrêté 28 fois pour des « actes de désobéissance civile » liés à la consommation de marijuana. Il se dit même prêt à retourner en prison pour « continuer de prouver son point ».

Le discours de M. Émery n’est pas tombé dans l’oreille d’un sourd. Peu de temps après que le militant eut fini de vilipender le premier ministre Stephen Harper, le ministre de la sécurité publique, Steven Blaney, n’a pas perdu de temps pour tenter d’amalgamer « un trafiquant de drogue reconnu coupable » aux libéraux. « Les libéraux veulent que nos enfants aient plus facilement accès à la marijuana, les Canadiens peuvent avoir l’assurance que notre gouvernement va adopter des politiques qui gardent les drogues loin de nos rues et assurent la sécurité de nos familles », a-t-il déclaré, par voie de communiqué.

Pendant son séjour en prison, Marc Émery dit avoir joué de la basse et lu livres, magazines et les milliers de lettre appuyant sa lutte.

[Source : 98,5, La presse canadienne]

Le « prince du pot » de retour au pays

Marc Emery, surnommé le « prince du pot », est arrivé à Windsor aujourd’hui, peu après 16 h. Il a tenu son premier point de presse depuis sa sortie de prison aux États-Unis. Il a purgé sa peine, mais l’activiste n’a pas l’intention de baisser les bras.

Le Britanno-Colombien avait écopé d’une peine de prison pour avoir vendu des semences de cannabis par Internet à des clients américains.

Une foule nombreuse et des proches l’attendaient avec impatience. Certains ont profité de ce rassemblement pour fumer un joint. La police, qui était sur place, a observé la scène.

Marc Emery s’est adressé aux médias devant l’hôtel de ville de Windsor. Il n’entend pas cesser ses activités et il continuera de militer pour la légalisation. Il a entre autres promis d’enterrer la prohibition de la marijuana, qui sera assurément un enjeu de la prochaine campagne électorale fédérale.

L’ex-prisonnier a parlé avec humour du temps qu’il a passé derrière les barreaux. Il a remercié tous ceux qui l’ont appuyé financièrement lors de son emprisonnement, car les achats du quotidien en prison sont chers, a-t-il expliqué. Selon lui, la prohibition de la marijuana n’apporte rien de bon, mais fait considérer comme criminels des millions de gens, pour rien.

Son épouse, Jodie, était à Windsor pour l’accueillir. Dès demain, le couple devrait se rendre à Toronto, avant de retourner à Vancouver dimanche, ou Marc Emery compte reprendre son travail à sa boutique Cannabis Culture. Ils ont d’ailleurs prévu plusieurs arrêts dans des villes un peu partout dans le monde pour parler de réforme judiciaire.

Le « prince du pot » avait été extradé aux États-Unis, puis condamné à cinq ans de prison en automne 2010.

Depuis l’incarcération de Marc Emery, le cannabis a été légalisé dans les états de Washington et du Colorado, alors que le Canada a plutôt durci le ton avec l’introduction de peines minimales obligatoires pour la production de marijuana.

Par voie de communiqué, le ministre de la Sécurité publique et de la Protection civile, Steven Blaney, s’est exprimé sur le retour de Marc Emery au Canada.

« Aujourd’hui, le trafiquant de drogue reconnu coupable Marc Emery est déporté vers le Canada. M. Emery et sa conjointe sont de fervents partisans de la vision de Justin Trudeau consistant à légaliser la marijuana.[...] Les Libéraux veulent que nos enfants aient plus facilement accès à la marijuana, les Canadiens peuvent avoir l’assurance que notre gouvernement va adopter des politiques qui gardent les drogues loin de nos rues et assurent la sécurité de nos familles », a conclu le ministre.

[Source : Ici radio Canada]

“Prince of Pot” Marc Emery’s resolve hardened by prison

Marijuana crusader who served four years in U.S. jails has resumed his mission to legalize pot. Wary politicians may find he’s not so easy to shut up.

Not 24 hours after he was released from U.S. jail and frogmarched across the Detroit-Windsor border in handcuffs, Canada’s “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery was in Toronto joshing with international media, vowing revenge on the prime minister, organizing a nationwide “smoke out” and reaffirming the claim he once got high with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

That was Wednesday. By Saturday, Emery still hadn’t been home yet.

That the 56-year-old marijuana activist is a political hot potato is a fact of his long life in the sticky margins of stoner celebrity.

He knows his endorsements — most recently of Trudeau — are not sought by serious politicians in Canada. Most would rather downplay or deny ever having had a “joint” meeting with the reefer reformer. And Emery admits his tendency to self-aggrandize has in the past veered beyond bad taste, such as in a decade-old blog post in which he called former justice minister Irwin Cotler a “Nazi-Jew” for allowing his extradition proceedings to go forward.

But none of that has slowed the London, Ont.-born Emery in his 35 years of pro-pot activism, alternately supporting the NDP, the Greens and now the Liberals.

“They can tell me to shut up,” Emery says, when asked about the backlash to his new Liberal leanings. “But we are not going to stop talking about marijuana legalization.”

The we, in this case, includes Emery’s legions of legalize-it fanatics who stop him on the street for a handshake and a cellphone selfie — a perplexing phenomenon for the man who spent the last 4½ years in jail.

But this time the we also includes his biggest supporter, wife Jodie Emery, 29. Every bit the fellow traveller in his cannabis crusade, the two met in 2004 and married two years later.

The coming year could see a dramatic role reversal for the pair, however, as His Highness takes a back seat — at least on the face of it — to his wife’s push for the Liberal party nod in the Vancouver East riding next year.

In response to the announcement, the Liberals have said little.

“We do not comment publicly about any potential candidates,” Liberal spokesman Olivier Duchesneau said this week. “We have open nominations in every riding and that includes that one, and any Canadian can enter that process.”

It’s hardly an endorsement of the potentially headline-grabbing candidate. And it remains to be seen whether Canada’s first family of weed will turn out the dope vote among its followers, or go bust.

Emery has always believed he is on the right side of history when it comes to the marijuana debate. And, after years of toil and two dozen trips to jail, he believes he is today more right than ever.

“It’s fun to be me,” Emery says, taking the stage between two Canadian flags at a downtown Toronto vapour lounge. Minutes earlier, he marvelled as he spun out of his hotel lobby, “Four and a half years since I’ve seen a revolving door.”

Around him, approximately 200 people, mostly young, gather to smoke weed and meet the man who helped make this pot-permissible space and dozens like it across the country possible.

When Emery was charged with selling marijuana seeds into the U.S. in 2005 and eventually extradited to Seattle in 2010, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency hailed his capture as a “significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the legalization movement.”

Today, Washington state is peppered with government-certified weed dealers and, along with Colorado, the state is seen as a leader in the movement to full U.S. legalization.

That’s thanks in part to the $4.5 million in seed revenues Emery estimates he sent across the border from his Cannabis Culture shop to help pay for drug-law challenges between 1995 and 2005.

“Marc’s going to be a person — a historical figure — that will be remembered and revered by future generations as somebody who made real sacrifices to help change these laws,” says Emery’s best friend and former NDP candidate for West Vancouver, Dana Larsen.

“These are things that are going to be, I think, recorded in the history books in the future that our children and grandchildren will read about — this transformation and how we ended the war on marijuana.”

Emery didn’t use marijuana in prison, he says. The punishment for those who do is often more jail time and that seemed an unworthy sacrifice.

Instead, he taught himself to play the bass guitar and plowed through two dozen magazine subscriptions, a daily newspaper and a book a week — most sent to him by Larsen.

“It was a very redemptive and meaningful experience being in prison and I hope I always carry the message forward that I saw there that it is a very wrong society that punishes people for drugs,” he says.

For anyone expecting to get a reformed or humbled Emery back from his five-year sentence in the American South, they sorely misjudged him. What we got back instead is that common product of North America’s prisons : a savvier ex-convict with a hardened resolve.

That he remains barred from the U.S. indefinitely is his sorriest regret, Emery says.
But with a pair of Canadian tours and a jaunt through Europe already planned for next year, the man who once proudly boasted that he hadn’t “left Canada voluntarily in 20 years,” is ramping up his global reform efforts like never before.

“There’s a sense of the inevitability of it,” Emery said Wednesday night, posing with strangers for photos between his cab and a Toronto head shop where still more media interviews were lined up.

“If there is more marijuana being produced today than yesterday, we’re winning,” he said. “I tell people we never had it so good.”

[Source : The star]

Prince of Pot, Marc Emery, has Trudeau’s back, welcome or not, says ally

WASHINGTON — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau might have an ally in Canada’s Prince of Pot — whether he likes it or not.

Allen St. Pierre — executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the oldest pro-legalization group in the U.S. — knows Marc Emery from their time fighting pot laws.

He says Emery’s itching to return to the fray after serving time in U.S. prison for marijuana distribution.

« I dare say that putting him in jail for five years did not reform him in the slightest. It only agitated him to the point where I think getting Mr. Trudeau elected as a reformer is going to be the singular thing he focuses on the most, » St. Pierre said.

Emery will support his wife Jodie in her ambition to run federally for the Liberals — the party has so far kept its distance — and plans to campaign unofficially for the party once he’s back in Canada.

While the party says the Emerys have as of yet played no role in the Liberal party, St. Pierre sees Marc throwing his support behind Trudeau regardless.

« You could have a partnership between a pro-marijuana publication owner and a major political candidate. It’s like Mrs. Clinton being backed by High Times, » he said.

For her part, Hillary Clinton has said she supports medical marijuana, but is taking a wait-and-see approach to legalization.

With the ground shifting rapidly on marijuana prohibition, candidates in major elections on both sides of the border won’t be able to dodge the issue.

In the U.S., Alaska and Oregon are considering joining Colorado and Washington in legalizing pot. About 30% of all Americans now live in jurisdictions with some form of decriminalization.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is also weighing a 2016 presidential bid, is critical of current drug laws and has called for mandatory minimums for pot to be repealed, but he isn’t in favour of legalizing the drug.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who’s openly considering another run for the Republican nomination, is in favour of decriminalization.

[Source : Toronto Sun]

Marijuana advocate Marc Emery vows ’political revenge’ against Tories

So-called Prince of Pot gives 1st interview to CBC since release from U.S. prison

B.C. marijuana advocate Marc Emery vows to take political revenge on the Conservative government once he is finally released from U.S. custody and returns to Canada later next month.

Speaking with CBC Radio in his first interview since being transferred from a U.S. federal prison to a private deportation facility in Louisiana, Emery said he is frustrated but eager to get home and continue his campaigning work.

« My own government betrayed me and I’m going to wreak an appropriate amount of political revenge when I get home and campaign against the Conservative government, » Emery said.

« The whole thing is nonsense. I should never have been turned over to the U.S. government, » said the fervent Liberal supporter, already fired up for next year’s general election.

Emery and his wife, Jodie, have already announced plans to hold rallies in 30 Canadian cities to try to unseat the Conservatives and stir up support for Trudeau.

« Hopefully we’ll do a good job and get the young people to vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and get that legalization agenda enacted in Canada as soon as possible. »

Trudeau has said that by legalizing pot, the government can tax and regulate it. However, the Liberals have so far been cool in their response to the couple’s support for Trudeau.

In a brief statement to CBC News last month, Liberal spokesman Dave Sommer said the party “does not endorse the Emerys’ plans in any way. They are not affiliated with the party and we haven’t had any hand in planning these events at all.”

The Conservatives, meanwhile, who oppose efforts to legalize marijuana, seem more than eager to exploit any possible connection between Emery and the Liberals.

Emery also criticized the delay in his return to Canada, accusing U.S. and Canadian officials of dragging their feet.

« I’ve been DNA tested, and fingerprinted, and chained and shackled every inch of the way throughout the United States prison system. »

« So, the Canadian government knows who I am, they have my passport. So is all this rigmarole necessary to get me back to Canada ? »

Emery was sentenced to five years in prison in 2010 for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana after his Vancouver-based mail order business was busted in a joint operation involving U.S. and Canadian law enforcement agencies in 2005.

After his paperwork is completed and a flight is booked to Detroit, it is estimated he will return to Canada sometime between Aug. 10 and 25.

Waxing philosophical about his experience in U.S. prison, Emery said many people had expressed some degree of interest, admiration or agreement with his advocacy work.

« I’ve never encountered any disrespect from prison officials and nor inmates. Inmates were particularly kind to me, » he said, adding that he had also joined fellow inmates in forming a band.

« I learned to play bass guitar. I was in a very wonderful band and played wonderful, wonderful music for three years, and I’d never picked up an instrument in my life prior to being in prison, so I bring home something extra. »

Emery said he would probably get back into the marijuana seed business as soon as he could — at least in Canada.

« We sponsored hundreds of political activities and rallies all around the world with that money. Of course I don’t regret it. And they’ve been very fruitful, » said Emery.

« We’ve seen the results of 20 years of my activism throughout the world, and the landscape has changed considerably. »

« Most of Canada and most of the United States favours legalization and this is going to come to pass. And a lot of that was due to our early work in Vancouver. »

Meanwhile, Emery said, the legalization of marijuana in Washington state and Colorado made his time in prison even more worthwhile.

« That was a great thing. That made my time even more worthwhile. I mean I’ve always expected I would end up in prison. Don’t mistake that. I just thought it would probably be a Canadian prison, » he said.

« But an American prison, fine by me, if that’s the way you have to achieve martyrdom to achieve something you want, that’s fine by me. I was pleased. »

In the end, Emery said, he recognizes the irony that many people, including his U.S. prosecutor John McKay, who opposed his work years ago, are now advocates for the legalization of marijuana themselves.

« Nonetheless, I’m the one that’s triumphant. They’re the ones that changed the way in their mind to come to where I’m standing, and that’s all you want when you’re a person like me, that’s all that matters, » he said.

« Not the amount of time you spent in jail, not the cost, whatever it takes, whatever you have to do in order to get your objectives obtained. And so I’m happy. »

Emery spoke exclusively to CBC Radio’s On The Coast and CBC News Network’s News Now with Ian Hanomansing on Wednesday. You can watch part of his interview on the CBC News Network above.

[Source : CBC News]

Marc Emery, B.C.’s ’prince of pot,’ to return after 5 years in U.S. prison

Emery was extradited in May 2010 for selling marijuana seeds cross-border

Jul 07, 2014

Marc Emery, Canada’s self-styled « Prince of Pot, » concludes a five-year sentence on Wednesday and will emerge into a lucrative marijuana landscape, where two U.S. states are now issuing recreational pot licences, medical growers are reaping profits and investors aren’t hedging on potential opportunities.

The 56-year-old Vancouver resident was extradited to Seattle in May 2010, when he pleaded guilty to selling marijuana seeds from Canada to American customers before serving his time in several U.S. corrections’ facilities.

When he was first arrested almost a decade ago, the Drug Enforcement Agency heralded his seizure as a « significant blow » to the legalization movement.

On Monday, Washington state distributed for the first time licences to 24 shopkeepers who will hawk legal marijuana, while New York simultaneously became the 23rd U.S. state to authorize pot as medicinal treatment.

« I wish he hadn’t gone to prison, » said his wife Jodie Emery in an interview, just before boarding a flight at a Mississippi airport after her final visit to the Yazoo City institution. « But it’s almost fitting that he had to go down into the belly of the beast of America where the drug war begins, and where it has pressure in Canada, and spend his time in the U.S. to oversee all the success from his work. »

She lauded her husband for spurring much of the shift in legal regulations and social consciousness while he’s been locked away.

« Marc (can take) a lot of credit for everything happening in the U.S.. And of course it’s a wonderful feeling to see that his mission has been accomplished, » said the 29-year-old, who’s assumed much of the advocacy work and has been managing their marijuana paraphernalia store. « He was successful, even though he had to pay the price for it. »

Marc Emery started selling pot seeds in 1994 to raise money to support activist groups, lobbyists, court cases and ballot initiatives.

In the years leading up to his arrest and extradition an entire « Free Marc Emery » movement replete with posters and T-shirts sprang up. However, it could still be weeks before the high-profile activist’s diverse contingent of followers can finally celebrate his release.

The Canadian man will be transported on Thursday to a private deportation facility in Louisiana, where paperwork must be completed and a flight booked to Detroit. His estimated return is between August 10 and 25.

Jodie Emery said she’ll encourage a crowd to greet him in Windsor and then Toronto, before the pair visits his siblings in London and Newmarket, Ont. They may even spend a weekend alone.

But all the while they’ll be plotting their next moves, because the laws in Canada still lag far behind the U.S., Jodie Emery said. Recreational marijuana remains illegal.

In the works is a 30-city, cross-Canada advocacy tour, as well as speaking engagements and meetings with officials in Spain, Austria, Ireland and Uruguay.

When the dust settles, Jodie Emery expects her husband to go back to work at the Cannabis Culture store in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. She said his seed business is long-gone, while everyone else in the industry is leaps and bounds ahead.

« Marc’s going to have to walk by a weed shop to and from work, and he won’t even be doing it himself, » she laughed. « Or, maybe, maybe we will become associated with one of the new licensed providers and try and change the whole system to allow everybody to grow. Our activism won’t end. »

In his final blog post from prison, Marc Emery wrote that he expects to « marvel at all the changes in Vancouver, » including hundreds of new buildings and 35 medical marijuana dispensaries that have opened.

« Jodie and I appreciate everything you’ve done for both us and the movement at large in my absence, » he wrote on June 30. « I can’t wait to get home to thank you all in person in the weeks and months ahead, and resume the unfinished battle to finish off marijuana prohibition with renewed vigour. »

[Source : CBC News]

Marc Emery : ‘Prince of Pot’ a Canadian hero

Marc Emery a staunch fighter for “liberty,” according to author

It’s not often that I disagree with Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente, but her recent column on Marc Emery (Pot still fails the sniff test) triggered one of those rare occasions.

Marc Emery served five years in an American prison for selling marijuana seeds across the border.

Unlike the “Prince of Pot”, I don’t use marijuana. I never have, and probably never will, even if it were to become legal for recreational use. But then, I don’t use alcohol either. Slowing down my brain just isn’t my cup of tea.

Nevertheless, I have been a staunch admirer of Marc’s ever since I first met him, about 38 years ago, long before he began championing pot legalization. Marc Emery has been a powerful force for liberty in Canada on several fronts.

For instance, he helped legalize Sunday shopping by operating his London, Ontario bookstore seven days a week, back when it was illegal to do so. He even went to jail over that issue, after refusing to pay his fines. That four-day stint proved to be merely a practice run for his later five-year marijuana-related imprisonment.

Marc Emery challenged Canada’s obscenity laws by selling banned music tapes. He then racked up a freedom-of-speech victory by publishing a marijuana newsletter at a time when the Criminal Code forbade it. An Ontario court eventually struck down that law as contrary to the Charter.

Marc Emery has also contributed to the welfare of his fellow Canadians by diligently reporting every penny of income from his marijuana seed business – more than $4 million cumulatively over the years – and paying federal and provincial income tax on it (at least, if you believe that those governments will spend that tax revenue on Canadians’ welfare, which is questionable. But I digress).

Canada has changed radically since Marc Emery first set out to legalize pot. There are now approximately 40,000 legal medical marijuana users, with some estimates saying there will be half a million in 10 years’ time. A survey released last week by the Department of Justice showed that 70 per cent of Canadians want the law softened, either by legalization or decriminalization. Even the Fraser Institute (the free-market think tank whose name is usually preceded in media reports by the epithet “right-wing”) published a report a decade ago describing the benefits of legalizing pot.

Marc Emery plowed all of his seed sale profits into funding the legalization movement, keeping nothing for himself except what he needed to live on. He made a large donation of seed money (pun intended) to help organizers in Colorado. That state is now one of two (Washington is the other) that have legalized pot for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Another 21 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana. Four other states have decriminalized it, reducing the penalty for possession to fines, rather than a jail sentence and a criminal record. Even John McKay, the former U.S. attorney who prosecuted Marc, has changed his mind and now publicly favours legalization.

While Marc Emery didn’t do this single-handedly, there is no question that he was a driving force in the movement. He is at least partly responsible for the fact that hundreds of thousands of people across North America now have legal access to a medication that helps relieve their pain and epileptic seizures. He can also take credit for keeping hundreds of thousands of people out of jail. He has achieved these victories at great personal cost, doing several stints in Canadian jails before his most recent U.S. imprisonment.

Wente said that Marc’s no hero, but I disagree. He has shown exceptional courage and perseverance. He has made huge personal sacrifices. His actions have benefitted thousands, if not millions, of people. That’s pretty heroic in my books.

But what about Wente’s charge that Marc Emery is “among the most obnoxious jerks in Canadian public life” and a “relentless self-promoter who’s compared himself to Gandhi and Martin Luther King” ?

Yup, Marc Emery talks a lot. He talks quickly – too quickly for some people to grasp what he is saying. Sometimes he talks when it’s really somebody else’s turn to talk. But where’s the rule that says a hero has to be perfect ? These are minor flaws, all things considered, especially since most of what Marc says makes extraordinarily good sense, and is something that people urgently need to hear.

And I’ll bet neither Gandhi nor King were perfect, either.

Karen Selick is the litigation director for the Canadian Constitution Foundation.

[Source : Beacon news]