Pubdate: Fri, 12 Jun 2009
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 The London Free Press
Author: Randy Richmond
Bookmark: (Emery, Marc)
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Canada)


Visiting the Bookstore He Founded in 1975, Former Londoner Is
Undaunted at the Prospect of Serving a U.S. Prison Term

Canada's self-proclaimed prince of pot, Marc Emery, says he's not
afraid to go to a U.S. federal penitentiary in a few months.

But he still asked Londoners to push for his transfer back to Canada
and Americans for an outright pardon.

"I'm not scared. I've never been scared of anything. That might be
foolish. It's not that I'm courageous. It's just a state of being.
It's how I am," Emery told a supportive crowd at the Richmond Street
bookstore he founded 34 years ago, City Lights.

"I'm hoping you can help me out," Emery told a couple dozen
supporters. "Everybody has to lobby the federal government to bring
Marc Emery back to Canada or even better yet, free Marc Emery."

Emery returned to London yesterday to say goodbye to family, friends
and supporters. After pleading guilty in August, he expects to be
sentenced in September to as much as eight years in a U.S. prison.

"I just know this is something I'm prepared to do. I'm going to miss
everybody. I'm going to miss my wife Jodie for sure," he said as she
looked on.

The long-time marijuana activist is facing three charges dating back
to 2005 for selling pot seeds to U.S. and Canadian customers via his
Vancouver mail order business .

He had been fighting extradition to the U.S. on those charges, but
says now his lawyer is negotiating a deal with U.S.

Canada has never fought a U.S. extradition order and the Stephen
Harper government, which is toughening anti-marijuana laws, would
hardly go to the mat for him, Emery said.

So instead, he's hoping to strike a deal with the U.S. district
attorney by pleading guilty to the lesser charge of distributing marijuana.

In exchange, the U.S. will drop the more serious charges of
manufacturing marijuana and money laundering, which could lead to a
life sentence, Emery said.

"I'm 51 years old. Anything over 12 or 13 years is kind of a life
sentence because the average person dies in a U.S. federal prison
around the age of 65."

Emery noted he's been fighting laws and bylaws for decades, ever since
he opened City Lights, a used bookstore, on Richmond Street in 1975.
Among his targets: Sunday shopping, mandatory fees for downtown
merchants to beautify the core, laws against selling books about
marijuana and obscenity laws.

In 1992, he sold the book store and lived for a while in Indonesia. He
resurfaced in Vancouver and continued to fight against marijuana laws,
firing up an oversized joint outside the London police station in 2003.

"Sometimes I think I've failed at this mission I've had to make
marijuana legal, to end the prohibition," he said yesterday.

But he remained undaunted by the long mission or the prospect of eight
years behind bars, saying he'll use the time to learn French and
prepare for his next career.

" I put out for this country for 30 years and Canada owes me. They owe
me to be elected to the federal parliament and make me justice
minister so finally I can repeal this awful terrible prohibition we
have in this country." 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake