Mar·tyr (mär’tər) One who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce devout principles. One who makes great sacrifices or suffers much in order to further a belief, cause, or principle. One who endures great suffering: a martyr to prohibition. tr.v. -tyred, -tyr·ing, -tyrs. To make a martyr of, especially to put to death for devotion to religious beliefs. To inflict great pain on; torment.
War·ri·or (wôr’ē-ər, wŏr’-) One who is engaged in or experienced in battle. One who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause, or conflict: neighborhood warriors fighting against developers.
I recently used Martyr to pay praise to the late great Jack Herer. It is my opinion that Marc Emery be placed in that same category, where it takes a true Warrior to fight the battle that these men have given their life to. These men have fought against a $1.6 billion dollar budget, ultimately giving their life to end prohibition. Marc has devoted countless years of his life to the fight against prohibition and its political games. Not to forget the millions, yes people, millions of dollars given to cannabis activist foundations all around the world. Marc has been persecuted and still stands strong in his beliefs and has helped to establish a movement that continues to gain support daily all around the world. In recent events Marc has continued to be persecuted and imprisoned, and still stands tall, rises to the occasion and abides by the laws that he is fighting to change.
While we puff on a glass pipe that’s ironically filled with a plant that can, and more than likely cost a man his life. Marc Emery got out of a car. He then glanced over at his wife, embraced her, taking in a scent that will always be associated with a memory of her. At that point Marc and Jodie Emery gave each other a kiss on the lips and then a good bye. May 10, 2010 was not an ordinary day in the US; it wasn’t one of the great moments that will forever be remembered. Nor was it a great day in our nation’s history, instead it was one that will be considered a “dark day” during this time in our nation’s history. It was the day Marc Emery’s bail conditions required that he turn himself in at 9am, then to wait for the Justice Minister to make the decision about his extradition.
The Path of a Warrior
Marc Scott Emery was born in London, Ontario. As a young man Marc had ambitions that eventually set a course for life as the “Prince of Pot”. At the young age of 9, Marc started a stamp business from home. As the years came and went, so did his business ventures. After going from comic books, to a used book store in just a few years, Marc found himself in a fight with the London Downtown Business Association. It was very apparent then that Marc Emery’s choices as a young boy were all part of his destiny, and had set the path to becoming a Great Leader and advocate for the decriminalization of Cannabis. His later battles and achievements included; running an emergency garbage service during a municipal garbage strike, serving as the Freedom Party Action Director, and running for Canadian House of Commons. Marcs’ activism in the fight against prohibition flourished as he gained knowledge of how politics’ truly worked. His early cannabis activism started to become more apparent over the years as Marc rented out then named London Regional Art & Historic Museum for his first pro-cannabis assembly. Not soon after he was convicted of selling cannabis related literature and how-to books on the growing & smoking marijuana. Still Marc continued to sell and distribute pro-marijuana literature and stay active in the fight against prohibition. At one point even inviting neighboring police into his shop to show them around, however at this point the police chose not to charge Emery. Unfortunately this wouldn’t last long. But still Marc strived, and started what would later become a $5 million dollar a year business.
“Prince of Pot” seed bank?
In March of 1994 Marc moved to Vancouver, Canada where he would soon call home and even run for Mayor at one point. On the 7th of July Marc opened a store appropriately named Hemp BC. This would be the jump off point for a whole industry that would be in the sales and distribution of marijuana paraphernalia and other cannabis related items. This industry would soon take over and Canadians all over the country would soon follow suite. That is, with the guidance and leadership of Marc Emery.
Toward the end of 1994 Marc Emery got the embargo on marijuana and drug related literature ban lifted. Following this, he started to sell Cannabis seeds, and later would begin the start of his magazine Cannabis Canada Magazine later fittingly named Cannabis Culture Magazine. Marc Emery Direct Marijuana Seeds started in 1994 and catapulted his business and life into a legislative spotlight. In 1995 Marc’s seed company was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Soon after the article was released Marc’s store was raided by Vancouver Police. Emery was convicted and given a $2200 fine. No jail time was enforced what so ever. As time would go on Marc would continue his sales through print. Marcs’ fight on prohibition gained more and more interest so much so that he eventually expanded his store into a legal help centre & cannabis café. Marc drew so much attention at this point CNN featured him in an episode named “Canada Cannabis”. In the episode the journalist dubbed Marc Emery the “Prince of Pot”. Once again, more media and international attention and once again, Canadian Police come raiding, this time pulling out a $1.6 million worth of merchandise including over 10,000 cannabis seeds. Marc was jailed, and once again no charges were filed. Upon return he was banned from the centre his business was located. Marc sold the store to the manager, who was continually harassed and raided through to 1998.
At this same point Marc’s office was raided in April of 1998 and again in September. He was jailed then released the next day. Yet again, no charges were brought up. Meanwhile all this was stirring Vancouver’s very own mayor stated that Marc Emery “was going to be toast”. Sure enough the Canadian government along with the American Navy had a couple under cover agents’ go into Marcs store and purchase marijuana, then proceed to smoke in the cannabis in the shop. Another raid followed soon after. This is when Marc would bring his seed distribution to print and fight the war on prohibition via mail-order. 2 years later Pot-TV was established. From 1995-2005 Marc Emery’s seed company paid virtually $600,000 in federal and provincial taxes. Despite the constant harassment from Canadian government, Marc continued to abide Canada’s laws and pay taxes.
The Prosecution Prosecuted in the US
Marc Emery boasted at one point that he was the financial backer for almost every “pro-pot” effort in North America along with many others across the globe. Marc claims to have helped cannabis initiatives get on the ballots in California, Nevada, Alaska and Arizona along with other countries around the globe. This started an on-slot of not only local media, but international attention as well. In 2004 Marc was arrested for allegedly “passing a joint” resulting in his imprisonment in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Emery supporters held an ongoing vigil until Marc was released after serving 61 days in jail. This among other incidents drew the attention of US law enforcement, namely American DEA Administrator Karen Tandy. This is when the fight not only for his life, but the freedom and decriminalization of marijuana had just started.
On July 29, 2005 Marc Emery was arrested in Nova Scotia where his was presence at HempFest encouraged the fight against prohibition. This is when American authorities had the audacity to charge Marc along with Gregory Keith William and Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek with “Conspiracy to distribute Marijuana, Marijuana Seeds” and “Conspiracy to engage in money laundering”. Despite all these offenses having taken place in Canada, local authorities had no interest in charging the three. Following these events US DEA Administration added fuel to the fire with this statement:
“Today’s DEA arrest of Marc Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, and the founder of a marijuana legalization group — is a significant 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 Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.”
A $200 Fine
With this raid in 2005 where Canadian Police under the request of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), raided both BC Marijuana Bookstore and their headquarters in Vancouver, Canada. Marc would later be released on $50,000 bail and was about to start a fight not only against his extradition. But a fight that would question the freedom of not only Canadians, but anyone who does anything that would go against the US DEA. Ironically enough not all Canadian officials support the charges brought up. Among the Canadian officials that support Emery is Libby Davies of the NDP, Ujjal Dosanjh of the Liberals and Scott Reid of the Conservatives. Despite the laws of Canada stating clearly that the only charges to be brought up for the sales and distribution of cannabis seeds is a $200 fine. A hearing pertaining to the extradition of Marc Emery was scheduled with Justice Minister Rob Nicholson. At this hearing the Justice Minister was presented with a petition signed by more then 12,000 Canadian Citizens against the extradition into the US. Marc Emery and his 2 associates would eventually be brought up on charges that would face them with the possibility of life in prison for selling and shipping seeds to America.
Later Marc brought up a bargaining chip that would ultimately save the lives of both Gregory Keith Williams and Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek. This chip would entice the US into a deal that would clearly state that in exchange for Marc turning himself in for 5 year sentence to be served within both US and Canadian federal prisons; all charges on his two associates were to be dropped.
Unfortunately the deal wouldn’t last long. Canadian Conservative Government chose not to approve of their side of the deal. However, as 2008 was drawing to a close an extradition hearing was scheduled for 2009. By September 28th of that year Marc was incarcerated. Then on November 18, 2009 Marc would be released on bail following a 7 week trial.
In most recent events as stated at the beginning of this article Marc Emery handed himself over to Canadian authorities once again. All the while support was being shown for both Marc and the fight against prohibition with daily Vigils and rallies that would soon span across the globe. Most recently on Wednesday, May 12th a vigil started outside the North Fraser Pretrial where Marc Emery was being held prisoner. This was an on going 24/7 vigil which was scheduled to continue until Marc was sent to the US.
Support the Battle of a Lifetime
To help support Marc Emery in the fight against prohibition, supporters all around the world are holding “Free Marc Emery” rallies; including a protest on May 22 – the global “Free Marc Emery” rally.
Supporters who want to help fight for the freedom of Marc Emery and the decriminalization of Marijuana, please contact the following offices:
American citizens please contact:
Honorable Ricardo S. Martinez
700 Stewart Street
Canadian citizens please contact:
Contact the Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews:
8-227 Main Street
Steinbach. Mb. R5G 1Y7
Ph :( 204) 326-9889
Fax :( 204) 346-9874
Suite 306, Justice Building House of Commons
Ottawa. Ont. K1A 0A6
Ph :( 613) 992-3128
Fax :( 613) 995-1049
Lac du Bonnet Office
Lac du Bonnet. MB R0E 1A0
On a personal note Marc Scott Emery and Jodie Giesz-Ramey were married on July 23, 2006. Jodie Emery works as editor of their Magazine as well as a political activist along side her husband Marc. Jodie ran as a candidate for the Green BC party in the May 2009 election placing third. Jodie’s most current contribution to the fight against prohibition has been protesting and petitioning to get Marc freed from his sentence and prosecution in the US.
Written by The Butcher, Staff Writer for 420 Magazine