Pubdate: Tue, 12 Aug 2014
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Nick Eagland
Page: A7


'The rest of the world kind of slowly recedes from memory,

Marijuana activist Marc Emery returns to Canada on Tuesday morning
after a four-and-a-half-year stint in American prisons for selling
marijuana seeds to a U.S. buyer. Postmedia phoned him at a Louisiana
detention centre to learn more about his return.

Q: What's the plan for today?

A: I get put on a plane at probably about 10 or 11 (EST) in the
morning and arrive in Detroit around three. At that point, U.S.
marshals deliver me under the tunnel to the Canadian border point and
Jodie (his wife) and some friends of mine should meet me there. If
it's nice weather, we'll have (a few) hours in Centennial Park by city
hall. Hopefully by nine or 10 o'clock, Jodie and I will retire and go
get something to eat. Then we've got to get on a plane at six in the
morning and fly to Toronto for a whole variety of things, not the
least of which is to buy some stuff like new glasses and a cellphone.
I've never texted in my life so people have to show me how these
things all work.

Q: How does it feel to be coming home?

A: People ask me if I'm excited and I'm not really excited because
I've been here so long, I really don't know any other life other than
being behind bars in these dirtbag prison cells and dormitories. If I
look outside there's always razor wire. If I get taken anywhere
outside of prison I'm shackled up =C2=85 handcuffed and leg-ironed and a
waist belt of chains around me. When they finally deliver me to
Windsor and I see a sunset without razor wire and I don't have any
shackles on me, then I guess I'll kind of believe it.

Q: How do you think prison has changed you?

A: I don't think it's changed me at all, but the one thing you do
learn is that you can adapt to anything. I've been in six different
kinds of prisons in my time in the U.S. and some are horrible and some
are all right, but you adapt to all of them. Once you're in a place
like this =C2=85 you kind of make that your home and the rest of the worl=
kind of slowly recedes from memory and from experience. I stayed the
same and that served me well in prison. I don't remember getting upset
very often and I certainly didn't have any confrontations with any
inmates or guards or anything like that.

Q: Have any interesting prison stories?

A: I did see violence, but nothing ever came close to me. Prisoners,
in my experience, were very atypical to what you see on TV. I was
amazed how many people who were serving 10, 12 years in prison, their
first instinct when they got out was to sell drugs or grow marijuana
or do something against the law again which could put them behind bars
for another 15, 20 years - it was just nutty that they had not planned
on any kind of legitimate lifestyle when they got out.

Q: What are your expectations for when you return to

A: They tell me that they've got 35 dispensaries in Vancouver - I find
that phenomenal. That's almost like it's legal without being legal and
that's a very peculiar kind of Twilight Zone to find myself in. The
way technology has influenced people - my wife says, "People look at
their screens everywhere they go, Marc." She said no one makes eye
contact in lineups any more, everybody's always looking at their
screens on the bus or on the SkyTrain.

Q: What do you think of Jodie's political plans?

A: My deep-seated feeling is that Liberals are so nervous about me,
they'll probably do anything to derail her successfully getting the
nomination in Vancouver East because otherwise, if she gets the
nomination, the brain trust of the Liberals will be worried about what
I might say over the next year. She's a terrific speaker, she's a
terrific mind, she's got amazing compassion and she's a terrific
Canadian who would make a great representative, but she's saddled with
me and I don't have the same reverence for the process that she's showing=