Pubdate: Tue, 12 Oct 2004
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2004 The StarPhoenix
Author: Betty Ann Adam, The StarPhoenix
Bookmark: (Canadian Marijuana Party)
Bookmark: (Emery, Marc)


Towel Theft Distressing, But Emery Enjoyed Hotel Stay During Temporary

As marijuana activist Marc Emery looks forward to his release from
jail next Monday, supporters continue their daily vigil in a tent
across the street from the courthouse where the so-called Prince of
Pot was convicted of drug trafficking.

The 45-year-old marijuana entrepreneur and activist has continued to
preach his marijuana decriminalization message from the Saskatoon jail
by phoning daily journal entries to friends in Vancouver, who
transcribe and post them on the B.C. Marijuana Party's website.

Recent postings include messages Emery wrote while staying at the
Delta Bessborough on the weekend of Oct. 1 to 3, while out on a
55-hour temporary absence.

He was joined at the landmark hotel by his partner, Cheryl. The couple
enjoyed room service, meals at the Spadina Freehouse restaurant and
walks along the Meewasin Trail.

Emery owns a marijuana seed store and Internet business in Vancouver.
He claims, in one posting, to pay $12,000 per month in personal income
tax. He is the leader of the B.C. Marijuana Party and is its main
financial backer, according to Jodie Giesz-Ramsay, who works for him.

Emery was sentenced Aug. 19 to three months in jail after pleading
guilty to passing a joint at a pot rally in Kiwanis Park in March.

He will be released Oct. 18, the two-thirds point in his sentence, as
required by law. Temporary absences are allowed at the two-thirds
point of the reduced two-thirds of a sentence.

During his recent outing, Emery complied with the release terms,
staying away from the tent which supporters raise each day on the lawn
of the former Gathercole building, but he told local supporter Kerry
Kunkel, who visited Emery at the hotel, that he was glad to see the
tent from the Broadway Bridge.

Nine people who sat in the warm shade of the tent Sunday said they
want to see marijuana decriminalized.

"We're here to help make Canada a more tolerant place to live," said
Mitchell Brown.

The group claims to be holding the longest marijuana protest in the
world. People have occupied a table or tent on the site for about four
hours per day since Emery began his jail sentence almost two months

The volunteers estimate they have collected 300 to 1,000 signatures of
the 4,000 needed to launch a pro-marijuana political party in
Saskatchewan, like the B.C. Marijuana Party.

The group said they do not smoke pot while conducting the vigil
because they don't want to get shut down. Sometimes they discuss
Emery's website entries.

Emery's jailhouse diary describes the daily trials of having to clean
toilets, mop floors and eat food he doesn't like.

Living among convicted criminals also leads to unpleasantness such as
the theft of his "nice, grey bath towel" and his resulting inability
to shower until a visitor brought him another at a scheduled visit.

"Alas, inexplicably, there are no other clean towels that the jail can
lend me. I hate this situation. A man like me, smelling, begging these
guards to help me recover the one towel I'm allowed to have," Emery
wrote on Sept. 18.

There were also regular complaints about a knee injury he suffered
after deciding to take up jogging and over-working his muscles running
four miles on the first day. He wrote that the physical nature of his
work wasn't helping it any.

He was moved to the minimum security urban camp on Sept.

Emery also writes that he has embarked on writing a book about the
similarities between the persecution of Jews, blacks, aboriginals,
Chinese in Canada, traditional female healers and pot smokers.

Emery also writes that he talked to actor Woody Harrelson on the phone
from jail when Harrelson was in the Marijuana Party bookstore in
Vancouver. Emery writes that he has talked to lots of famous people,
then goes on to criticize the rich and famous for not donating money
to help his cause.
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