HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html 'Prince of Pot' Off to the Joint for 3 Months
Pubdate: Fri, 20 Aug 2004
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 The Province
Author: Dan Kinvig, CanWest News Service
Bookmark: (Emery, Marc)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


SASKATOON - The man known Canada-wide as the "Prince of Pot" - and
the founder of the B.C. Marijuana Party and Cannabis Culture magazine
- - has been handed a three-month sentence after pleading guilty to one
count of trafficking the drug.

It was the eleventh drug-related conviction for Marc Emery, but the
first time he has been sentenced to jail time. For previous offences,
he's been fined.

Emery seemed stunned as Saskatoon provincial court Judge Albert Lavoie
pronounced the sentence.

"Three months for one joint?" he asked the gallery.

A bailiff quickly silenced him, telling him he wasn't allowed to have
contact with courtroom spectators.

Emery was arrested at Saskatoon's Vimy Memorial bandshell on March 22
following a pro-pot speech at the University of Saskatchewan.

Crown prosecutor Frank Impey told the court that between 20 and 30
university-aged people showed up at the bandshell with Emery.

A witness interviewed by police confirmed seeing Emery pass one of
them a joint, but said that no money changed hands.

Emery produced four marijuana cigarettes containing a total of 2.3
grams when searched by police.

Impey conceded that the amount of marijuana in question was small, but
argued to the court that Emery's 10 prior drug offences warranted more
than a suspended sentence or a fine.

"Mr. Emery has been fined in the past and his behaviour continues,"
said Impey, who suggested an incarceration of three to six months.

Emery's lawyer, Leanne Johnson, argued that her client was making a
political statement and that he did not profit from passing the joint.

Johnson also argued the public's attitude towards marijuana has
changed and noted that Prime Minister Paul Martin has said he plans to
reintroduce legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts
of the drug.

But Lavoie cut her off.

"I'm not here to discuss the pros and cons of marijuana," he

In his sentencing, Lavoie said his job is to uphold the laws of the
land until such time as they are changed.

"No democratic society can have any freedoms unless the underlying
value is respect for the law," he argued.

"[Emery's action] was in a public setting, with an absolute,
unacceptable flaunting of the law of this country, deliberately done.
In that respect, Mr. Emery has overstepped the bounds of the
fundamental basis of our society."

Outside the courthouse, Emery's supporters fired up their pipes in

Johnson said an appeal is unlikely, given that it often takes three
months before the court of appeal hears a case.

Heading into court Thursday, Emery himself had been pessimistic about
his chances of getting off with a fine.

"Saskatchewan probably is the least progressive and most punitive
province in the country when it comes to sentencing," he said.

"I'm scared, I'm nervous and I've got butterflies." 
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