Marc Emery’s chant of the weed: Stephen Harper just visiting Canada too

Sep 29th, 2009 | By | Category: In Brief
Marc Emery’s wife Jodie, helping the Canadian Prince of Pot’s campaign in support of Republican Ron Paul for US president, 2008.

Marc Emery’s wife Jodie, helping the Canadian Prince of Pot’s campaign in support of Republican Ron Paul for US president, 2008.

[UPDATED OCTOBER 1, 3, 20]. Yesterday Canada’s so-called Prince of Pot, Marc Emery, surrendered to authorities at the BC Supreme Court. He is now in a Canadian jail awaiting extradition to the United States, on a 2005 charge of selling marijuana seeds to US customers through the mail. The “US Attorney’s Office is pressing for a sentence of five to eight years in a US prison.” Emery was “convicted in Canada in 1998 for selling pot seeds and given a C$2,000 (US$1,835) fine.”

All this marks the imminent end of a long and appalling journey. We first reported on the issue in the summer of 2005, in an article called “Marc Emery and the Canada-US marijuana outrage .. can the war on drugs spread north?

In the early fall of 2009 Emery is still “making a last-ditch attempt to get his supporters to lobby federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to stop the extradition or allow him to serve his sentence in Canada.” Yet in “March 2008, the federal government decided to turn down a plea arrangement, which would have had him serve his time in this country.”

Marc Emery is certainly a strange bird personally — for whom it is seldom easy to feel unambiguous sympathy. And your opinion on his current situation probably depends on your broader political outlook.

Especially in Canada, where libertarians of any sort are less common, if you are on the right you may agree with the Canwest News Service that: “Nobody should shed any tears for Canada’s self-proclaimed ‘Prince of Pot.’” Yet Emery himself  is probably best described as a right-wing libertarian. He was inspired by Ayn Rand as a young man, and he (and his attractive young wife) supported Ron Paul for US President in 2008.

Jodie Emery as centerfold in husband Marc’s Cannabis Culture magazine, August/September 2005.

Jodie Emery as centerfold in husband Marc’s Cannabis Culture magazine, August/September 2005.

Without any reservation we support Vancouver Sun columnist Ian Mulgrew’s article of this past Sunday, “Marc Emery’s sentence reeks of injustice and mocks our sovereignty.” Emery’s case “is a legal tragedy that … marks the capitulation of our sovereignty and underscores the hypocrisy around cannabis … 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.”

And so it sadly seems that the answer to our question from the summer of 2005  — “can the war on drugs spread north?” — is yes (even in the new age of Barack Obama!). Yet, whatever else,  Canada has a less dysfunctional policy on marijuana. And no matter how often he visits  the North Pole, our current minority prime minister will never live down his government’s abject failure to stand up for Canadian sovereignty in the legal tragedy of Marc Emery.

Stephen Harper may have technically lived in Canada most of his life. But, as it turns out, when the going gets tough he is just visiting too.

UPDATE OCTOBER 1: Yesterday the Western Standard ran an item that slightly qualifies our argument about local libertarians above. The item is headlined: “Marc Emery left his mark on Edmonton conservatives. So where are they now?”  And it hits this intriguing final note: “While the Harper Conservatives have chosen to use marijuana policy as a political weapon against their easily frightened political opponents with ties to the marijuana legalization movement, Canada’s conservative movement before Harper was open to discussing drug policy reform. In fact, they were open to having this discussion with Emery, a man they are now prepared to sacrifice in order to enhance Canada-US relations and scare up a few more conservative votes.” Our own final thought is: Two cheers for the Canadian libertarian sovereigntists at the Western Standard. It could do Mr. Harper some good to listen to them.

UPDATE OCTOBER 3: Another aspect of the hypocrisy surrounding cannabis — and Marc Emery’s current US prosecution — is illustrated in a Wall Street Journal piece today: “Legal-Pot Backers Split on Timing.” This reports that: “A majority of Californians in recent polls say the state should legalize marijuana. What pot proponents can’t agree on is how soon voters will really be ready to approve legalization.” In fact it has been possible to buy “medical pot” at neighbourhood stores in the Golden State quite openly for some time — as some of us can testify directly. And Bill Maher recently noted on Jay Leno’s new show that there are now more at least de facto legal medical pot stores in Los Angeles than Starbucks coffee shops. (Further updates on rest of page below.)

UPDATE OCTOBER 20: Still more ironies in the fate of Marc Emery have now arisen. See, e.g.: “Obama administration won’t prosecute where medical marijuana is legal” ; “A federal about-face on medical marijuana” ; “US to end war on medical marijuana in legal states” ; and “Judge grants injunction against city’s medical marijuana dispensary ban” (where the city in question is Los Angeles).

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  1. One of the problems inhibiting legalization is that people who smoke a glass pipe are not considered serious or mature. It is this stigma that scares many people who use pot to keep it a secret. It is up to us to be public about our choices and to make sure our voices are heard by the ones that ultimately decide what the rules are. Every letter you send to a representative is considered the voice of a thousand constituents that did not take the time to write.
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  2. I think pot should definetly be legalized. The cops don’t even bother wasting their time on the daily stoner so how about stop making us live in fear and just make the shit legal. On another note, everybody smokes pot, from every walk of life. LEGALIZE MARIJUANA

  3. It is very frusterating to see so many resources wasted on such a benign substance. I agree, save everyone the headache and legalize it.

  4. Marijuana should be legal. It’s less harmful than aspirin! It kills ‘0’ people! MJ is proven to increase brain cells, MJ increases Alzheimer patients memories and brain cell production!!

    The pharmaceutical companies, drug cartels, criminals, jail system, cotton companies, alcohol companies all make billions of dollars keeping Marijuana illegal.

    People are brainwashed through media to believe it’s bad and damages your brain, so the masses will keep it illegal so the evil people can profit.

    They don’t care about us, they don’t care about our health, they don’t want us growing our own medicine!

    Over 62% of people in Canada want to end the prohibition, but the government and Prime Minister ignore us! They are being paid off, they want to profit, they are evil. I’m sick of the lies and corruption!!!

    God gave us this plant to heal, enhance and help in our lives!!!!

    FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LEGALIZE MARIJUANA NOW CANADA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. How can a plant that heals, takes pain away and is Natural be illegal, but yet Alcohol is!!!!
    I`ll never figure that one out! Free Marc !!!!!

  6. […] average voter, even enlightened ones. They might also be a bit nervous about photos of Jodie Emery, posing in a skimpy bikini in support of libertarian Republican wingnut Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential […]

  7. Dans une décision de ce 21 janvier, la Patio Administrative
    de Cologne s´est prononcée en faveur d´un patient souffrant de sclérose en plaques.

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