MARC EMERY AGREES TO FIVE YEARS IN CANADIAN PRISON
VANCOUVER - Marc Emery, Vancouver's self-styled Prince of Pot, has
tentatively agreed to a five-year prison term in a plea bargain over
U.S. money laundering and marijuana seed-selling charges.
Facing an extradition hearing Jan. 21 and the all-but-certain
prospect of delivery to American authorities, Emery has cut a deal
with U.S. prosecutors to serve his sentence in Canada. He also hopes
it will save his two co-accused - Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams,
who were his lieutenants for so much of the past decade.
The three were arrested in August 2005 at the request of the United
States and charged even though none had ventured south of the border.
Since then, they have been awaiting the extradition hearing. With the
proceedings about to begin, Emery says his lawyer brokered the best
If accepted by the courts in both countries, Emery said he will serve
the full term and not be eligible for Canada's lenient
"I'm going to do more time than many violent, repeat offenders," he
complained. "There isn't a single victim in my case, no one who can
stand up and say, 'I was hurt by Marc Emery.' No one."
He's right. Whatever else you may think of Emery - and he grates on
many people, what is happening here is a travesty of justice. Emery's
case mocks our independence as a country. Prosecutors in Canada have
not enforced the law against selling pot seeds and all you need do is
walk along Hastings Street between Homer and Cambie for proof.
There are numerous stores selling seeds and products for producing
cannabis. Around the corner, you'll find more seed stores. You'll
find the same shops in Toronto and in other major Canadian cities.
The last time Emery was convicted in Canada of selling pot seeds,
back in 1998, he was given a $2,000 fine. Emery has flouted the law
for more than a decade and every year he sends his seed catalogue to
politicians of every stripe.
He has run in federal, provincial and civic elections promoting his
pro-cannabis platform. He has championed legal marijuana at
parliamentary hearings, on national television, at celebrity
conferences, in his own magazine, Cannabis Culture, and on his own
Internet channel, Pot TV.
Health Canada even recommended medical marijuana patients buy their
seeds from Emery. From 1998 until his arrest, Emery even paid
provincial and federal taxes as a "marijuana seed vendor" totalling
He is being hounded because of his success. The political landscape
has changed dramatically as a result of Emery's politicking for
cannabis. Emery challenged a law he disagrees with using exactly the
non-violent, democratic processes we urge our children to embrace and
of which we are so proud.
But along the way he has angered the anti-drug law-enforcement
community - the same gang that insists we must continue an expensive
War on Drugs that has failed miserably for more than a quarter
century and does more harm than good.
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Five years in a Canadian prison with no 'good time' will no doubt suck out loud. However, when considering that Marc was facing life in an American prison it looks like a sweet deal to me. I just spoke with Marc last week about this very thing. At that time he was adamant that he would not take a plea deal. We discussed his motivations for that and when he was done explaining I had to agree with his decision. I also admired it and could see myself being as obstinate as a mule if I were in his position. However, I am very happy to read this morning that he has changed his mind. I hope that the US authorities accept the deal and Marc never has to leave Canadian soil.
I love you Marc. This is the right decision. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.