Editorial: A Matter of Basic Fairness in the Marc Emery Case

David Borden, Executive Director

David Borden
This week it was reported that Marc Emery, Canada's famed marijuana law reformer and one-time seed merchant, has tentatively reached a plea agreement with the US Dept. of Justice that will spare co-defendants Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams prosecution, and will spare him extradition to the US, but will place him behind bars in Canada for the next five years. The reports were premature -- the deal has yet to be accepted by both countries, either could reject it, according to Jodie Emery, posting on talk groups -- but that is the way things may go as they are looking at this point.

The Emery case highlights two issues of basic fairness where the US and Canadian governments both fell short. One is the root injustice of prohibition. As Emery pointed out to media, no one was harmed by his business. Therefore taking away his freedom -- putting him in prison -- is unjust. Even just shutting down his business was unjust, based on this idea, because the law is an unjust one. This is an unfairness applying to the vast majority of drug prohibition prosecutions.

The other fairness issue flows from the fact that Emery carried out his business completely in the open, with full knowledge of authorities on both sides of the border, for almost a decade. His office is literally in the center of downtown Vancouver, and the magazine headquarters and bookstore across the street have an open storefront. I've seen these places myself. Anyone searching the Internet could find out what he was up to -- if they didn't already know from him directly, at a rally or reading his quotes in the media.

Setting aside the wrongfulness of prohibition itself, one could argue that because prohibition is the law now, the government had the right to tell him to stop until the law one day gets changed. In this view, the fair approach would have been to inform Emery that things had changed, and that he had to stop selling seeds or risk US or Canadian ire moving forward. Unfortunately that's not what happened. Having done nothing to move against him for all of those years, and not having warned him, instead one day the DEA moved in, filed extradition papers, and announced that Emery and his friends were facing 20-to-life. And Canada -- having tolerated him for years and years, even having accepted $600,000 or so in taxes, according to reports, knowing that he gave most of it away -- cooperated fully.

This second fairness issue is one that is fairly specific to Marc Emery's case, more perhaps than to any other. But it also reflects on the character of the criminal justice system -- many of us refer to it as the (in)justice system -- that the people making the decisions on how they would proceed would choose this route instead of the other, and that the sentences Emery and Rainey and Williams could face are so obscenely long to begin with. We have many prisoners here in the so-called land of the free who will serve decades before seeing freedom, if they ever do. It's a dark sign of the times that in part what I feel about this outcome is relief that he may only serve five years.

But make no mistake, five years is a big chunk of a life, a very severe punishment and a very long time. Try to imagine if you were about to be incarcerated, only for one year, how you would feel. Even a year in prison is a very severe punishment, if we are going to be realistic about it. But the "tough-on-crime" hawks who have dominated policymaking as of late have forgotten this. Too bad for Marc that that has happened. But too bad for all of us too.

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Free Mark Emery Now!

How much more hypocritical does it get? Bush, a long term drug abuser, wastes precious federal monies in order to extradict someone who is exercizing his 1st Amendment rights to change Canadian law. What a crock.

Then go back a generation and look at his daddy who was involved in Cocaine smuggling during Iran Contra.

Marc Emery began publishing about the same time I started my own publication: New Age Patriot. Of course his "seed" money gave him somewhat of an advantage. But we both shared a rational, civil libertarian viewpoint towards Marijuana policy in that we both wanted it totally legalized for adults.

I don't think either of us are apt to change our view on this within this lifetime. And just like other political prisoners (e.g. Ramos and Compeon, the border agents) Marc could be on his way to becoming a political prisoner.

Today Marijuana Re-Legalization, under the MERP Model, is one of the planks of the "New Agenda for America." To get an overview of my unchanging position on this I invite you to watch the following video.

Why Lou Dobbs Should Support Marijuana Legalization

And here are some additional links to further explain the MERP Model for Re-Legaliing Marijuana:


The MERP Project
The Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy (MRP) Project


Bruce W. Cain Discusses the MERP Model, for Marijuana Relegalization, with "Sense and Sensimilla"

Why Lou Dobbs Should Support Marijuana Legalization

Video Biography of Bruce W. Cain

How Continuing the Drug War could make Nuclear Terrorism a Reality
by Bruce W. Cain

I hope that many of this years Hemp Events, including the Million Marijuana March, make the political imprisonment of Marc Emery a big issue in 2008. Perhaps we should ask the 2008 Presidential candidates what they will do for Marc should they win the election.

Yours in Freedom,

Bruce W. Cain
Editor, New Age Citizen


The tentative deal would actually require that my husband Marc Emery indeed be extradited to the USA under a little-used "Temporary Extradition". The agreement would have the USA return him to Canada within 45 days after being sentenced in the USA. Marc could then begin serving his 5-year prison sentence in Canadian prison, with no chance of parole for at least 5 years.

Although a 5-year prison term in Canada is far more preferable to any American prison time, most of our friends and supporters are terrified at the prospect of Marc crossing the Canadian-US border for even a day -- and rightly so, because who knows what can happen to "political dissenters" such as my activist husband in this Military-Commissions-Act American day and age?

The deal has not been agreed upon or accepted yet. As of this writing on Thursday, January 17th 2008, we still have an extradition hearing scheduled for 10:00am at the BC Supreme Court on Monday, January 21st 2008.

Please see www.NoExtradition.net and www.CannabisCulture.com for more information and updates.

And, for a video update about the extradition and possible plea bargain/deal, please see the latest PotTV show with Marc Emery and myself on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf3B9yc1qS0

Thank you for your support and hard work.

End Prohibition, No Extradition!


"no one was harmed by his business"

In the minds of prohibitionists, an instance of marijuana use is harmful.

Defining "harm" for the sake of determining when it's justifiable to harm freedom is a major problem for free societies, often leading to the abuse of the civil part of civil liberty, which is how nanny states arise.

The "righteous" prefer to ban the tool abused, instead of going after the abusive behavior itself, a behavior born from abnormal stress levels.

There are ways to reduce abuse via good stress management, but our society does nothing, instead encouraging excessive stress in the name of "productivity" in the school and workplace, and failing to properly help victims of tragedy, even creating more tragedy by incarceration.

In light of the moral in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the U.S. is a papa bear society, wanting bigger, hotter, and more, instead of just right. This papa bear effort is creating the abnormal stress leading to all kinds of abusive behavior, including substance abuse.

In short, a nanny state, made up of "protect the children" laws banning this and that, creates more abnormal stress, causing more abusive behavior, not less.

Freedom is the anti-stress.

Until the majority of voters understand this, laws supporting prohibition will stand. We need to access the mainstream spotlight to spread simple-yet-effective, positive messages to sway this majority. I applaud grass roots efforts, but we need to share the stage where people like the drug czar lie to the people. Having the ability to instantly refute him on that stage would be tremendously advantageous. Surely there must be a way to develop a healthy relationship with the mainstream outlets?

In other words, until our 'megaphone' is basically equal in size to theirs, our position is basically drowned out, leaving us preaching to the choir.

While wishing the best for Mr. Emery, I believe his desire to overgrow the government is working. Marijuana was declared to be America's #1 cash crop late in 2006, and about a year later declared by the Dept. of Justice that the market for marijuana is "saturated". It wouldn't surprise me if Mr. Emery's seed business played at least a notable role in that accomplishment.

Most people seem unaware of how badly the prohibitionists have failed to defeat marijuana. They need to be informed.

We clearly have momentum on our side, because we have truth on our side. Because of the mainstream access, however, they have perceived truth on their side. Bottom line? The CSA still stands (they win).

massive civil disobedience

That smacks of early to mid sixties civil rights actions is the only realistic way to change minds on a large effective scale. Until we (the choir) have the guts to gather in substantial numbers and demand our rights in a public setting, nothing will ever get off the ground in our favor. If that means the arrest of tens or hundres of thousands in a very short period, so be it. Its called non-violent civil disobedience, and its the only way any major social change has ever or will ever occur.

Already Exists?

What's the difference between your suggested action and the well-established pot festivals happening annually? More pot smoking?

The Conundrum

Marijuana policy is the only major issue that excludes the key stakeholders from the discussion. For the average marijuana consumer, to stand up and declare this injustice is self-incrimination which will bring immediate and devastating consequences of law enforcement scrutiny and loss of a career in this country where most employers jump to declare themselves a "drug-free workplace." Never mind that the vast majority of consumers are responsible adults who do not go to work high. The "drug-test" is designed to persecute those who smoke pot on Saturday night.

The latest studies have concluded that 100 million Americans have smoked pot. Current consumers are estimated at around 30 million. Obviously, if all Americans who have smoked pot would speak up (and perhaps some of their friends and family), marijuana prohibition would end tomorrow. But jail, a permanent criminal record, and loss of employment are naturally too large a price to pay - thus, silence.

So, it seems our problem is how to give a voice to half the country that is in constant terror from their own government. One of my ideas was to start a movement where all marijuana consumers would join a church, like the Unitarian Universalists. Then, these churches would activate for ending the persecution of some of their members, The consumers in the church would have the cover of saying they are acting with their congregations.

It's just one idea. I'm sure there are better ones, but somehow, we must activate the majority of marijuana consumers.

One of the things I admire so much about Marc is he is not coy about his personal use. He is proud to be a marijuana consumer, as should everyone be. It beats the alcohol culture by a mile.

Thanks for standing up for the millions who can't Marc!


Marc Emery's BLIND SPOT

I hope that Canadians will finally understand that so long as their Chief Executive of their entire government is the Queen of England then they will not be Free!

Marc Emery should make more effort to plead to his supporters to FREE Canada from the QUEEN.

The QUEEN has TREATIES with George Bush and the U.S.A.


If Canadians want their freedom, then they must become a free and independent country.
Canada is NOT a free and independent country.


Marc Emery's failure to explain to Canadians the true source of their Lack of Freedom is his blind spot.

Cris Ericson http://crisericson.com

Question for David

Hi, I have been trying to find an answer to this question for years, but so far have had no luck: What is the official reason given by the feds that the drug alcohol is not listed on any tier of the controlled substances act? Its a mindcontrolling drug but not even listed at all, i;ve checked. I know ther real reason I want to knoww what lie the feds give for this. It cant be because of the ammendment ending prohibiton, that would have had to be reconsidered just to pasas the controlled substances act. Has any one ever even confronted the feds on this issue? Regardless of any other point, u cant selectlively prohibit drugs. Its the saame as legalizing heroin but banning crack. I heard some politician say that alcohol is okay because most ppl dont drink to get drunk(debateable) but other drugs are used only to get high. Why wasn't he asked why drunkeness isnt banned by federal decree? Even if most ppl dont drink to get get drunk(highly debateable) at least SOME do, and they face no criminal sanctions UNLES they commit a crime(even public drunkeness is a crime on the order of disturbing the peace) no one is EVER busted for getting smashed in their homes.

on civil disobedience

That's just the thing: no one wants to go to jail. But if an organized situation were brought about where jails cross country were being filled by "potheads" essentially incriminating themselves on mass, that sort of event would shine some much needed light on the subject. This is the sort of disobedience I think would and could force change. Of course its fanciful and highly unlikely. But imagine if something like that were pulled off. It would glut the entire justice system, not to mention economic impact

Marc Emory's extradition

Canadian cannabis seed vendors are everywhere. Just take a walk along West Hastings street in downtown Vancouver for evidence of this fact. Our country doesn't regard this commerce as criminal activity. In the United States, however, such activities can net you ten to life. Mr Emory's mistake was poking a rabid dog in the eye by selling marijuana seeds state side. Extradition treaties as they are thus allow his date with American justice.
Should you talk to Canadians, they will express anger with this infringment on our jurisdiction/sovereignty. Newspaper editorials, television talk shows and letters to the editor more often than not express the same concern. Although, the Queens cowboys, the RCMP were unable to do much with Mr Emory here, they were quite happy to comply with the American extradition request as Marc's activism is a political embarrasement. The people of Canada, like many of our brothers south of forty nine stand in opposition to our repective governments war on drugs. I'm so totally disgusted and angry with the teflon stupidity exhibited by our leaders.

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