Pubdate: Thu, 21 Aug 2003
Source: View Magazine (Hamilton, CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 View Magazine
Author: Matt Mernagh
Bookmark: (Emery, Marc)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


The self-proclaimed Prince of Pot, Marc Emery, is on a coronation tour
of Canada promoting his belief that marijuana is legal.

The publisher of Cannabis Culture, founder of the BC Marijuana Party
and owner of Marc Emery Seeds Direct has been smoking grass on the
steps of police stations across the country at the international
stoner hour of 4:20 to varied responses.

On the kick off for the Summer of Legalization Tour he smoked a cannon
of a joint in front of the Toronto police station while cuddling a pot
plant and didn't get arrested.

Cops in other provinces, however, have thrown the book at Emery for
his little stunt.

"It has definitely been a great success," Emery says via cellphone.
"In every jurisdiction that I've been arrested in I get to convince
the judge that there is no marijuana law in the country.

There are six charges against me and I'll be pleading not guilty in
each one. I'm going to make a charter challenge.

Canadians love their Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Eighty per cent
of Canadians believe in the charter. The courts love the charter.

Politicians don't love the charter because they want to pass
repressive laws. Politicians haven't moved towards granting us more
freedoms, in fact, they're taking more freedoms from us."

Emery's belief that marijuana is legal comes from a recent court
decision in Ontario. A Windsor judge ruled that the federal government
failed to enact a new marijuana law after the Ontario Court of Appeal
gave them a year to do so.

The Liberal's failure to pass a new law, which is only now tabled in
the House of Commons, has created a pot paradise in Ontario with
Amsterdam-style cafes springing up in just about every major city. The
police in Ontario don't even have the power to confiscate or take down
a toker's name should they get spotted in public enjoying a hit of

Judges in other provinces can either abide by the ruling or pronounce
their own verdict.

Emery is arguing that the unequal application of the Controlled Drugs
and Substances Act has rendered it useless. He rhetorically asks, "How
can the law be suspended in one place and not in the rest of the
country? Where's the gain of arresting 50,000 people a year for
smoking a plant?

I'm going to overturn all the marijuana possession offences that have
taken place in the last 18 months - because there is no marijuana law."

It's going to cost the Prince of Pot plenty of dough to free those
50,000 potheads.

He's started up a legal defense fund that so far has raised $3,000,
and he's cutting corners by not hiring a lawyer to represent him in
each province in which he has been charged.

"The biggest cost in the protest is going to be the flights," Emery
admits. "Taking a plane to Newfoundland is going to cost $2,000. Since
I have to do this six times, I'm going to represent myself.

I'm hiring a lawyer to teach me how to represent myself in front of a
judge, but to save money on legal fees I'll be representing myself."
Emery is no stranger to political protest resulting in arrest. While
operating a book store in London, Ontario, he fought Sunday shopping
and was arrested for selling obscene material, a 2 Live Crew album.

"I haven't spent much time in jail," Emery confesses. "Every time I go
to jail it's a really humbling experience." And his criminal record is
pretty impressive.

"I've been charged 17 times, jailed 13 times and have 19 police

Oddly enough, it's not jail that bothers me. People have to know that
anyone can go to jail for pot. In Winnipeg I had one gram on me and
appeared in front of the Justice of the Peace in leg irons.

In Edmonton I was in handcuffs for two hours.

People believe that you can't go to jail for pot, but these
experiences should show them otherwise."

While the substance Emery deals in has been considered contraband
since 1928, he's a legitimate wealthy businessmen who remits all taxes.

"I pay $144,000 a year in taxes or about $12,000 a month. The federal
government loves me. The businesses also pay tax. I don't want to go
the way of Al Capone," he says in reference to the Mafia boss who was
convicted of income tax evasion.

He contributes a great deal of money to marijuana causes such as Renee
Boje, an American who is seeking political asylum in Canada after
being charged for watering medicinal marijuana plants in California,
where medicinal weed is legal.

Another American medicinal marijuana refugee, Steve Kubby, was hired
to host the pot news hour on Emery's website

The activist has already benefited greatly from lax marijuana laws.
His businesses are well established and he should gain even more when
the laws are finally eliminated. "We're about two to three years away
from a full-blown pot industry.

We haven't won yet, but we're making great gains.

It's a perfect time to start a cannabis cafe in Ontario. It's already
legal in Ontario. The police are going to have a difficult time
shutting them down once they get up and running.

There are already four places in Vancouver where you can

The impact Marc Emery Seeds Direct has had in North America can be
felt in just about every community where a dealer proclaims he has "BC
Bud," the most potent grass around.

His seed business offers over 500 strains of cannabis for the indoor
or outdoor gardener. "Without a question Marc Emery Seeds Direct has
played a pivotal role in making good pot available anywhere in
Canada," he boasts. "I've sold four million seeds in nine years.
That's hundreds of thousands of pot plants.

The DEA and RCMP don't even bust as many plants as I'm indirectly
responsible for."

Some might consider his Wednesday, August 27 protest at the downtown
Hamilton police station nothing more than a crass publicity stunt.
"Even if this is a publicity stunt I'm on the front page of every
newspaper that a rally is held in. My message that marijuana was
suspended from the CDSA is getting out."

As for the protesters attending the rallies, the numbers have been
small, mostly teenagers or twentysomethings. "It's always difficult to
get people out who aren't young kids. The older pot smoker who might
work in a bank or a traditional job doesn't want to attend a pot rally
for fear that someone might recognize them. Younger smokers don't have
to worry about that as they have part-time jobs and they want to
attend rallies."  
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin