The Heroes of Cannabis Prohibition #1 – Marc Emery

The self proclaimed “Prince of Pot”

Maybe the name rings a bell, maybe it doesn’t. Not to date myself, but I guess it probably depends on your age. Marc Emery is a Canadian Cannabis activist, politician, and entrepreneur. As the Canadian government took a page from our neighbours to the south and stumbled its way around Cannabis legislation/prohibition, the ‘Prince of Pot’ is probably the most prolific Canadian to have put himself in the line of fire again and again.

Marc created and owned many businesses throughout his life starting at the age of nine. It started with mail order stamps, and by the time he was seventeen he was dropping out of high school and buying a used bookstore in London, Ontario. I could only dream of being so industrious at such a young age. He operated the store for seventeen years and finally sold it in 1992. Throughout the 80s, he would run for a number of political positions, including Ward 3 Alderman in Hamilton, Ontario, the Libertarian party, and the Freedom Party of Ontario. He also ended up running, unsuccessfully, for Mayor of Vancouver in ’96, ’02, and ’08.

Marc’s legal issues started with an obscenity charge in 1991. He was accused of selling copies of rap group 2 Live Crew’s CD, ‘As Nasty As They Wanna Be’, which was banned at the time in Ontario. After being sentenced to probation, he immediately started selling copies of Cannabis related literature and ‘High Times’ magazine in contravention of Canadian law at the time. Always the proponent of free expression and speech, he invited local police to arrest him. They wisely declined, as that might make the tyranny seem a little too obvious.

In 1998, via a joint (pun intended) operation between American Navy agents and Vancouver police, he was convicted of selling Cannabis seeds, the most dangerous seeds in North America. And thank goodness for that, had these institutions not teamed up and undoubtedly spent a ton of tax payer money on this operation, we may have very well ended up overrun with Cannabis plants.

This is probably the most interesting charge throughout Marc’s ‘criminal’ career. In 2004, he was charged and convicted of drug trafficking, because… wait for it… a witness saw him pass a joint. I guess that makes every last one of us drug traffickers. He spent 61 days in Saskatoon correctional center for basically being a chill dude.

In 2005, acting on the request of the DEA (way to stand up for our citizens Canada), he was charged again with a litany of nonsense (conspiracy to distribute Marijuana seeds among them). Meanwhile, Gary Webb, a journalist who had implicated the CIA for its involvement in Iran-Contra cocaine trafficking, had been found dead with two shots to the head. It was ruled a suicide, so I guess that’s why the DEA wasn’t busy following up on that one. In 2010, Marc was extradited and spent just over 4 years in an American prison.

Most recently, in 2016, Marc and his wife Jodie were charged again under ‘Project Gator’, a Toronto police project targeting dispensaries, resources well spent! They were fined and given two years probation. Still over-the-top, but I guess its better than getting sent to jail for passing a joint.

Marc Emery, the ‘Prince of Pot’, defender of free speech, horticulturalist, and ever the contrarian. He was a martyr in his own way, sacrificing his freedom to bring awareness to how crazy the ‘drug war’ really is. How dare these plants exist, and how dare you sell their seeds. How dare you even sell paper with words that refer to these plants! At least we are finally teetering on the edge of sanity with the push for legalization. It’s about time, and Marc should be recognized for his contribution to personal freedom.

“We can begin the restructuring of thought by declaring legitimate what we have denied for so long. Lets us declare Nature to be legitimate. The notion of illegal plants is obnoxious and ridiculous in the first place.”

-Terrence McKenna