Marc Emery aka the Prince of Pot turned himself in at the BC Supreme Court in Vancouver yesterday marking the end of a long court battle. He was arrested in 2005 on trumped up charges by the DEA. He was arrested in Nova Scotia while attending Hempfest along with Keith Williams, 50, of Vancouver, BC and Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek, 34, of Vancouver. The arrests were requested by the DEA and carried out by the RCMP. There is controversy over the arrest regarding many issues such as Canadian sovereignty and the political motivation for his arrest.
Marc was the leader of the BC marijuana party and hands down the #1 marijuana activist in Canada. He was the editor of Cannabis Culture magazine and owner of the BC marijuana party bookstore in Vancouver as well as owner of Marc Emery seeds. He was only able to be arrested by the DEA because he sold seeds via the internet to customers in Canada and the United States. It must be noted that it is not illegal to sell seeds in Canada or the US. ‘Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana”, “Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana Seeds” and “Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering”. Canadian police have not laid charges.
Emery is expected to be sentenced to five years in federal prison in the US for his seed sales. He sold millions of seeds in the decade prior to his 2005 arrest and became a leading hemispheric advocate for marijuana legalization, using the profits from his seed sales to fund reformers across the continent.
He also called out then drug czar John Walters for lying about marijuana and interfering in Canadian domestic politics, leading then DEA head Karen Tandy to issue this press release lauding his arrest as a blow to the legalization movement:
Today’s DEA arrest of Marc Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, and the founder of a marijuana legalization group — is a signficant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement.
His marijuana trade and propagandist marijuana magazine have generated nearly $5 million a year in profits that bolstered his trafficking efforts, but those have gone up in smoke today.
Emery and his organization had been designated as one of the Attorney General’s most wanted international drug trafficking organizational targets — one of only 46 in the world and the only one from Canada.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery’s illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canda. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.
He was very obviously targeted because of his political influence. What else will we allow the US to control in Canada? If they can come over and arrest a person who never set foot on American soil who is safe from US drug war tyranny? Marc is martyr for the good fight and we have not seen the last of him. He took his bogus punishment with dignity and went down saying”Plant the seeds of freedom. Over grow the government everyone,” Emery yelled as he was led away by sheriffs at the B.C. Supreme Court in downtown Vancouver.
The Vancouver Sun’s Ian Mulgrew sums it up nicely in an op-ed piece entitled Marc Emery’s Sentence Reeks of Injustice and Mocks Our Sovreignty:
After two decades as Canada’s Prince of Pot, Marc Emery will surrender himself today in B.C. Supreme Court and become the country’s first Marijuana Martyr.
Emery will begin serving what could be as long as five years behind bars as Uncle Sam’s prisoner for a crime that in Canada would have earned him at most a month in the local hoosegow.
It is a legal tragedy that in my opinion marks the capitulation of our sovereignty and underscores the hypocrisy around cannabis.
Emery hasn’t even visited America but he was arrested in July 2005 at the request of a Republican administration that abhorred his politics.
He is being handed over to a foreign government for an activity we are loath to prosecute because we don’t think selling seeds is a major problem.
There are at least a score of seed-sellers downtown and many, many more such retail outlets across the country.
In the days ahead, once the federal justice minister signs the extradition papers, Emery will be frog-marched south to Seattle where his plea bargain will be rubber-stamped and he will be sent to a U.S. penitentiary.
For comparison, consider that the B.C. Court of Appeal last year said a one-month jail sentence plus probation was appropriate punishment for drug and money-laundering offences of this ilk.
The last time Emery was convicted in Canada of selling pot seeds, back in 1998, he was given a $2,000 fine.