HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Desperate Beef Producers Look to Drugs for Relief
Pubdate: Mon, 28 Jun 2004
Source: Western Standard (Canada)
Copyright: 2004 Western Standard
Author: Peter Jaworski 	
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Emery, Marc)


"Just read a news article regarding your offer of help for those down on 
our luck with the mad cow crisis happening recently.

You know, you are the only person actually offering to DO SOMETHING to 
help. I would like to thank you on behalf of the industry for the offer."

So begins an e-mail from "R.W." to Marc Emery, marijuana activist, 
publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine, and widely known as the "Prince of 
Pot." R.W. is a farmer somewhere in Saskatchewan, one of the many 
devastated by the crisis brought on by the worldwide embargo on Canadian 
beef, after an Alberta cow was diagnosed with BSE last May. The two may 
share a love for, well, agriculture, but it took the catastrophic 
consequences of BSE to bring the pair, from very different walks of life, 

Despite the farmer's gratitude, he doesn't want to publicly thank Emery for 
his aid package.

In fact, he's requested anonymity.

That's because Emery's offering to send beef producers something that's 
even more verboten than Canadian beef: a marijuana growing kit, complete 
with a lamp, nutrients, seeds and everything else they'll need to grow one 
pound of pot every two months. Emery's suggesting that farmers diversify 
into the narcotics business to supplement their income while they wait for 
beef prices to recover. The seeds, which yield high-potency marijuana 
strains, such as Afghanis and Northern Lights, as well as hash plants, take 
about 45 days to mature, and, unlike our homegrown beef right now, are 
highly marketable commodities, according to Emery. "They don't have a lot 
of experience in the business, so they have to have good stuff to at least 
make the sale," says Emery. If they do it right, Emery predicts the 
ranchers can take in an extra $2,000 every couple of months.

Since Emery started the program in February, the response has been modest. 
So far, one farmer each in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan has taken 
Emery up on the offer.

But, says the pot activist, there have been plenty more just writing to 
thank him for his efforts to at least try to help, even if they don't plan 
on getting into the trafficking business.

Not surprisingly, Emery is a small-government kind of guy (he's been 
fighting Canada's pot laws for years) and says his efforts to help out are 
driven by his belief that the community should be the one coming to the aid 
of stricken beef producers, not government. "I guess I'm opposed to all 
business bailouts, including for farmers," he says. "I guess that's what 
brought this on--I don't believe in government action in the economy, but I 
believe that people have to take the initiative to help others.

So I'm kind of like an old-world conservative: I believe in private 
contributions to help people out of a mess."

Predictably, there are few willing to endorse Emery's initiative, even 
though they admire his charitable spirit.

When contacted for comment, a spokesperson from the Canadian Cattlemen's 
Association laughed at the scheme. Ron Glaser, spokesman for the Alberta 
Beef Producers, chuckled a bit, too, and says farm diversification is a 
good policy, but not when it involves crops like this. "We certainly 
appreciate all of the support we receive from Canadians of all walks of 
life, but recommending that producers who are struggling move into illegal 
activities--that's just foolish," he says. Federal Minister of Agriculture 
Bob Speller declined comment, but a spokeswoman said the idea is "not 
something he would chuckle about."

Emery isn't discouraged and says his offer is still open to farmers who can 
prove they are the genuine article (he insists on seeing cattle sale 
receipts as proof that they are "real farmers dealing in cattle"). He says 
he knows he's doing the right thing when he hears from farmers like R.W., 
who recently wrote to Emery to share the enthusiasm he and his wife have 
about the new venture. "We are excited, and a little nervous about our new 
proposition," he writes.

But, concludes R.W., "I'm happy I decided to e-mail you. Thank-you so much. 
It's been pretty depressing out here the last couple years.

You've got two older folks acting like kids, which we haven't done in a 
long time." 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake