Marc Emery, marijuana activist, long a thorn in the side of the U.S. war on drugs is facing extradition to the United States.
Marijuana activist Marc Emery and his mail order marijuana seed business serviced U.S customers looking to grow their own.
Marc Emery got his start in the mail order business as a child buying, selling stamps and comic books before moving on to marijuana and related paraphernalia.
Marc’s Cannabis Cafe and his mail order business seemed to thrive, particularly in Vancouver, long a society of dope smokers, who considered Vancouver a marijuana mecca since the 1960’s.
Emery operated his business enterprise with relative freedom, perhaps experienced a few legal bumps in the road, though always a long time activist since the mid 1970’s in every conceivable cause of one type or another. The Ontario transplant certainly was never deterred by anyone, including a failed attempt at running for political office.
In regards to Emery, a new found freedom came about when Marc, after an attempt to get an audience advocating marijuana use in Ontario, won a Ontario court challenge to allow drug related literature to be published, such as High Times.
Marc, it appears, felt he would find a more appreciative audience elsewhere than stodgy Ontario. Mark soon took his various ventures, publications, marijuana advocacy to Vancouver where he found a willing Vancouver clientele eager to follow his mantra and marijuana lifestyle.
Marc set up shop and soon media were taking notice the world over at this upstart, with media naming him the Prince of Pot. Marc seemed to operate with relative freedom in Vancouver, much to the chagrin of our neighbours south of the border who would later send government agents covertly to investigate his highness and his place of business.
It came as no surprise later on when Emery’s new venture, the Cannabis Cafe was open for business, a cafe where marijuana was smoked freely ala Dutch style cafe. This caught the attention of then Vancouver Mayor Phillip Owen, who postulated to the U.S media that the end of days for Marc is “Toast”.
Soon after, Vancouver police descended on the “Baked” crowd at the Cannabis Cafe and like a stern parent cleared out his marijuana and drug paraphernalia, wagged a legal finger at Marc, wrote him up, fined him and went on their merry way.
Though Marc was never charged for his marijuana indiscretions, it can only be assumed that since he paid provincial and federal sales taxes on his various marijuana activities, one can be sure a federal can O worms would be opened since the feds and province greedily pocketed his sales taxes extravaganza for their coffers estimated to be over $500,000 plus.
Marc Emery, unfazed by fines, would soon be back in business, regardless that he lost over 1.5 million dollars of marijuana and associated drug paraphernalia seized by police.
In 2005, Emery’s was detained and arrested, charges would stick this time, with many marijuana advocates who felt this came about as a result of U.S. pressure on Canadian authourities to fish or cut bait, as Marc Emery was contravening U.S. law selling illegal drugs to U.S. customers while using Canada as a safe haven to operate. This was putting Canada/U.S. relations in jeopardy.
Can Canada whose previous governments, both provincially (NDP) and federally (Liberal) emphatically state to the U.S. they were serious about ending the War on Drugs, while happily collecting well over a half million dollars in sales tax from a drug dealer? Goodness, South American countries have been invaded by U.S. forces for doing much the same.
The other issue which may have irked the U.S. Government may have been the ongoing publicity surrounding the Prince of Pot, from media, a movie and play certainly didn’t go unnoticed and could have been the last straw.
Keeping under the radar was never Emery’s strong point, pissing in government and law enforcement’s cornflakes is his forte.
Coming full circle, last week Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s response to Canadian’s looking for answers in decriminalization of marijuana laws were met with a downer of a response by the Prime Minister, who stated, “the status quo stands”.
Three politicians from all three federal political parties, Liberals, NDP and Conservative are looking to block the extradition of Emery to the United States. One can only assume votes are to be had, following the response by voting age marijuana users across Canada, upset over Prime Minister Harper’s anti marijuana decriminalization stance.
Marc Emery, if extradited to the United States, where ZERO tolerance on drugs is the catchword of the day, is looking at five years in the slammer for an offense.
This offense we Canadian’s must remember was condoned by previous provincial and federal governments in Canada.
Canada’s previous stance (before the Federal Conservative party inherited the Federal Liberal and Provincial NDP, who happily collected a half million in sales taxes from Emery) stated these previous governments stated to Canadians and the U.S.A that they were truly serious in stemming the War on Drugs. If this was the case, then Emery’s activities should have been nipped in the bud at it’s inception a decade and a half ago.
Should Marc Emery go free? That is for the law to decide.
One puzzling turn of events was last weeks ruling by a British Columbia Supreme court judge Peter Leask, whose take on the War on Drugs certainly raised the question of his supreme competence, since this judge went against the recommendations of his own Crown attorneys. During a drug case of monumental proportions, the Crown attorneys argued for 16 and 14 year sentences respectively for two hard core methamphetamine and cocaine dealers. These arguments were overturned by said judge Peter Leask who felt flaccid sentences of 14 months was ample prison time as a strong deterrent for the two accused, who happened to be members of the Hells Angels.
Perhaps the U.S. Government should be immediately applying to extradite by all means necessary and trade BC Supreme Court Peter Leask for Marc Emery instead?
Many Canadian’s according to media reports feel British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Peter Leask has done more harm to the War on Drugs campaign than local mail order seed seller Marc Emery could ever dream of.
Marc should be so lucky.
By Barry O’Regan