Pubdate: Fri, 24 Oct 2014
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2014 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Alan Small
Page: D8

Citizen Marc * Towne * 95 minutes * 14A * 2 stars out of five


IF Marc Emery is "one of the most influential forces in the modern 
marijuana legalization movement," the movement should look for some 
new leaders.

That is the obvious conclusion to make after viewing Citizen Marc, 
the Canadian-made documentary that does little more than give the 
so-called Prince of Pot a silver-screen soapbox to air his 
libertarian views on marijuana laws.

Emery was released from a Louisiana prison earlier this year after 
serving most of his five-year sentence for exporting marijuana seeds 
in 2005 from his Vancouver business to the U.S. The film, directed by 
Vancouver's Roger Larry, retraces Emery's steps from owning a London, 
Ont., bookstore at 17 to becoming a perennial candidate for almost 
any party that will have him, whether it's the Libertarians, the NDP 
or, of course, the Marijuana party.

He certainly has his pipe dreams. Emery says he's running parallel 
lives with Martin Luther King Jr. and the film also compares his 
fight with those of such luminaries as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

He says he an acolyte of libertarian author Ayn Rand, and long before 
he distributed pot seeds, he fought all sorts of governmental fees 
and regulations, like special municipal taxes and Sunday shopping laws.

His attention-grabbing tactics - getting carted off to jail in front 
of television news cameras over Sunday shopping violations - 
eventually helped change Ontario's laws. The tactics proved so 
successful that he moved to Vancouver and he launched his Hemp B.C. 
business, which landed him on the pages of the Wall Street Journal, 
Rolling Stone and, of course, back in jail.

Emery and the film celebrate the seemingly endless array of raids and 
arrests, and combined with his droning on and on about freedom from 
government, it's a bad trip.

Amid all the interviews and Emery's grandstanding are animated 
segments that liken him to a misunderstood superhero whose arch-enemy 
is a monolithic government.

Occasionally, a journalist or a skeptic is brought in to leaven all 
the Emery excitement, and, in one brief interview, a critic almost 
refuses to build up the "Marc Emery media myth." Almost.

Throughout his campaign, he challenges authorities to put him in 
jail. When the U.S. and Canadian governments call his bluff, his 
weepy goodbye to his wife clashes with the film's defiant tone, and 
the selflessness of the martyrs who Emery professes to admire.

There are many valid arguments for altering Canada's marijuana laws, 
but the movement might be better served with an advocate who isn't 
always looking out for himself, or another headline, as Emery does 
throughout Citizen Marc.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom