Pubdate: Fri, 15 Aug 2014
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 The London Free Press
Page: A7
Bookmark: (Emery, Marc)


Marc Emery may think of himself as a marijuana messiah, leading the 
long-suffering to deliverance from pot laws they believe unfairly 
punish them and restrict their freedom to smoke up.

No stranger to ego, Emery may even believe he's the chosen cannabis crusader.

But Canada's self-styled "Prince of Pot" - just released from a U.S. 
prison, after doing 4 1/2 years for selling marijuana seeds into the 
U.S. from Vancouver - makes a poor martyr for the kind of electoral 
backlash he imagines he will now inspire against the federal 
Conservative government he vilifies.

No sooner was the B.C. man back across the border from Detroit, than 
he was vowing vengeance against the Tories. Prime Minister Stephen 
Harper, he called a "tyrant." It's now Emery's mission to deliver 
votes to the Liberals led by Justin Trudeau, who supports legalizing 
marijuana. Emery's wife, Jodie Emery, a fellow traveller on the 
crusade, wants to run for the Grits in Vancouver.

Tellingly, there was no Liberal advance party among the small circus 
of fans, and clouds of pot smoke, that greeted Emery as he held his 
first court on Canadian soil in years. No wonder. For starters, while 
Emery is good at manufacturing his own publicity, once famously 
firing up a joint on the steps of the police station in London, where 
he ran a used book shop, and boasting how often he's been arrested, 
it's not at all clear he'd be an asset to any mainstream political party.

Further, while Canada has traditionally been more lenient than the 
U.S. on pot offenders, it's not clear voters here are prepared to go 
as far as to legalize weed, even if large numbers don't believe 
offenders should be saddled with criminal records for possession of 
small amounts. Marijuana, after all, remains a controlled narcotic 
and there are no illegal factory grow-ops raising only small amounts 
of the stuff.

Finally, if Emery's anti-Tory push dovetailed with popular thinking, 
surely the obvious beneficiary - the Marijuana Party - would have 
done better than the scant 1,756 votes it won in the 2011 federal election.

Often, where there's political smoke, there's fire. Here, there's 
only more smoke - irritating, but ineffectual.
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