Pubdate: Thu, 16 Jul 2009
Source: Gauntlet, The (CN AB Edu)
Copyright: 2009 Gauntlet Publications Society.
Author: AEndrew Rininsland, Editor


Marc Emery -- best known to Canadians for smoking massive joints at
pro-cannabis legalization rallies and taking bong hits before
defending the plant at news conferences -- visited Calgary on Sun.,
July 5, as part of his farewell tour. Emery's visit marked what will
likely be the last time he is here before being extradited to the
United States on drug-related charges.

"I want to give out everybody's marching orders so that more are
active and my time in jail is not so bad," said Emery. "One of the
things I used to remember from being in Saskatoon Correctional --
three months for passing one joint -- was that you get a lot of 'Oh
man, it must suck to be in prison.' You never need to write someone in
prison and say that. So one of the things I like is when all the
activists write me while I'm in prison and tell me 'I was doing this
to make pot legal.'

"[The tour is] mostly to give them instructions and effective ways to
make me happy while I'm gone," Emery continued, semi-jokingly.

As the publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, B.C. Marijuana Party
leader and the namesake of the Marc Emery Seed Company, few people
have had as much interaction with the Canadian cannabis subculture as
the 51-year-old.

Emery's Calgary speech detailed the potential impact of new
legislation such as the recently-passed Bill C-15, which adds
mandatory minimums for drug offenders, while discussing some of the
insights and memories gained during two decades defending the
medicinal and recreational use of cannabis. Emery also addressed
topics ranging from LSD use in Major League Baseball to the importance
of fatherhood in preventing drug abuse.

Emery is in the process of being extradited to the U.S. on
drug-related charges, something he has fought vociferously against.
Along with medicinal cannabis activists Michelle Rainey and Greg
Williams, he is accused of selling marijuana seeds to Americans and
initially faced an enormous sentence in U.S. jails on charges similar
to that of a drug kingpin.

Emery believes he is being politically persecuted for his actions,
citing a Vancouver event in December 2002 where he and others heckled
then-U.S. Drug czar John Walters, and further argues he operated Emery
Seeds in compliance with Canadian law -- even going so far as to
explicitly declare income from marijuana seeds on his taxes.

At one point, Emery alleged Health Canada even referred patients
looking for high-quality cannabis genetics to Emery's organization.
After the No Extradition publicity campaign failed to generate any
sympathy from the Conservative Government, Emery entered into a plea
agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, which would have seen
him spend a mixed term in American and Canadian jails. This was
rejected by the Canadian government, forcing Emery back to the
bargaining table and causing him to believe the Canadian Department of
Justice wishes to use him as an example.

Despite the gloom surrounding his trials Emery was upbeat and
optimistic, rallying supporters and encouraging them to oppose the
recently-passed Bill C-15 at the senatorial level. Emery finds the
bill troublesome as it adds mandatory minimums for first-time
offenders and says it will accomplish little but fill Canadian prisons
with young people, as he believes mandatory minimums have done in the

"A mid-level or high-level dealer is going to get one to three years
anyway, so the only people [Bill C-15 is] really going to effect are
young people who sell to their friends," said Emery. "That's how we
all become dealers, right? Four of us want to buy some weed, three of
us have money, one person has a connection . . . He begins to pay for
his own stash through dealing. Those are the people -- because it's a
conspiracy of three or more people -- who are going to go to jail for
six months, one year, two years. If you're near a school it's double,
if it's your second or third offence, it's double."
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr