Marc Emery Denied Transfer to Canadian Prison

Canadian marijuana legalization activist Marc Emery, currently serving a five-year federal prison sentence in the US, has been denied in his request to finish serving his time in a Canadian prison. His Canadian attorney, Kirk Tousaw, said Friday that Emery received notice that US authorities had denied the request on the grounds of "the seriousness of the offense" and "law enforcement concerns."

Marc Emery leading a rally in Calgary during happier times (image via
Emery, the self-proclaimed "Prince of Pot," is serving time for selling marijuana seeds. Emery used the profits from those seed sales to fund legalization campaigns in Canada, the US, and elsewhere. His supporters have long charged that his prosecution was politically motivated.

Emery is currently at the federal holding facility in El Reno, Oklahoma, while awaiting transfer to a medium-security prison in Mississippi. He had previously been held in a minimum-security prison in Georgia. It is unclear why he is being transferred to a higher security prison.

Under a bilateral treaty, Canadian prisoners serving time in the US can apply to serve their sentence in their home country, and vice versa. The guidelines for evaluating prisoner transfer applications are available here.

"This refusal is a terrible affront to the sovereignty of Canada," said Tousaw. "Marc is a target of political persecution that appears to have transcended his conviction and now infects the treaty transfer process. He qualifies under every relevant factor and should have been allowed to serve out his jail term in Canada, close to his wife Jodie and in the country in which all of his activity took place. We call upon Prime Minister Harper and the leaders of the Liberal Party and NDP to stand up for this Canadian hero and demand his immediate repatriation."

Emery's wife, Jodie Emery, said she was "shocked and sickened" by the denial. "He has been punished for speaking out for the rights of tens of millions of cannabis consumers here and in the US and it's truly frightening," she said in a statement. "Canadians who feel Marc has been treated unfairly with an unjust five-year US prison sentence for seeds should punish the Conservatives in the federal election on May 2nd for extraditing Marc in the first place."

Tousaw said the notification of the denial came through unusual channels. Neither he nor Emery's US attorney were notified of the decision, as would usually be the case. Instead, someone in the US government notified the Canadian government, and Emery was notified via a letter from the Canadian consulate.

"This is very unusual and should not have happened," Tousaw said. "It makes me wonder whether the US and Canada are engaged in ongoing dialogue about Marc and lends support to the belief that politics are still influencing the process."

Emery can reapply for a transfer to his homeland in two years. If that doesn't occur, he will remain imprisoned in the US until he does 85% of his sentence.

El Reno, OK
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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another proud moment

We got our man and now lets rub it in ! He will most likely be killed in one of our prison's . Why else would we make this man stay this far away from his family. I'll lay odd's he doesn't make 2 years. 

Now that i think about it

Now that i think about it your right. I have no doubt that our government will have something plotted to kill Marc. It would be tragic but i wouldn't be surprised if the C. I. A killed Marc. I would even bet the Canadian conservatives are in on it too. Something just doesn't seem right here and its worth investigating more. Our government has tried to pull this shit in the past and they will do it again no doubt.

 I can tell you why he is


I can tell you why he is being held in El Reno, OK. It is known as "diesel therapy" a form of torture the u.s. government  uses on certain prisoners. They want to harass him by moving him from one prison to another. He'll be constantly "shakendown" by prison guards and prison officials as he moves from one holding facility to another, all in shackles and chains.  

I really hope everyone close

I really hope everyone close to the cannabis culture in Canada gets out and vote the 2nd. may. You have no idea how much damage you can make to your main enemy, the Conservatives, if you just somehow gets organized and all go vote...

fletch's picture

Governments Literally Fear Marijuana

The demonizing of a substance that dose not kill or harm is ingrained so deeply that the US & Canadian governments are on the run. It is a frenzy so outrageous that they will go to the wall again and again just to prove the power they have is in the right direction for the 'safety' of it's citizens. The waste of money our governments spend on nonviolent prisoners and so called marijuana eradication is consequential and must stop. Our mission has to start with one challenge: GET MARIJUANA OFF THE FDA SCHEDULE I LIST! I can not overstate the bureaucratic importance of this one move. For those who do not know, according to the FDA (scientific circles), this means that marijuana is ADDICTIVE and has NO MEDICAL VALUE. This is outlandish because there is no physical addiction associated with marijuana and of course it has therapeutic benefit. Marinol already exists. I can not understand why a good lawyer does not attack these very important points. I believe this is a keystone in breaking down our very unjust marijuana laws. Anyone up for a class action suit?


Prisoner's are moved from prison to prison for head count. When one prison gets low, they move more prisoner's in so that prison does not loose valuable funding. Then those prisoners are moved somewhere else to make up another prison's differences.

I think in this case, the US government has made a critical mistake and may have created a monster. I hope Marc takes this as far as it can go once he is released and creates a firestorm. Maybe he will run for higher office and win. 

I am ashamed to be an American in situations such as this. It is shameful and pathetic our own government has turned not only against it's own citizens but also taken such a petty vengeful attitude toward other countries citizens for victimless crimes. No telling how much this witch hunt has cost both US and Canadian tax payers for nothing.
Then again, Canada itself is going to have to step up and quit being the US's bitch! There is some blame to be put on the Canadian government itself for allowing a bully into their home. 

Prisoners are moved from

Prisoners are moved from prison to prison for harassment, they're moved to make appeals and other legal efforts more difficult or even impossible. They're moved to make it difficult or impossible for family and or attorneys to see them. If they are organizers, in any capacity, they are constantly moved to make it difficult for them to work with supporters on the outside, and to organize effectively inside. They are moved to keep them from the eyes of the International Red Cross, and to hide them when they have been abused. They are moved to deny them the right to an attorney, if the attorney can't FIND them, they can't help their case.

The idea that they move them when a census gets "low" is downright laughable in a country with 5% of the world's population and 25% of it's prisoners. The census NEVER gets 'low".

Whatever. There is a census

Whatever. There is a census and that does happen. 

Oooooh so MODED!! Darkcycle 1 - Lameasses 0

You tell em Darkcycle!!

To act like this is just routine operating procedure... Is right but also very wrong.. I have a friend who is a Prisoner of this War and he's been transferred at least 6 times in the last 2 years.. But, to think that the treatment of Marc Emery is going to be just a nothing personal, money shuffle prisoner musical chairs type of deal is being very naive... People like him are going to upset the apple cart & potentially expose the fact that rich, poor, black or white.. There's room for us all at the Inn.. Which they don't want you to know.. Better you just keep on believing only poor ethnic junkies rot away for 5 years in prison and that they somehow truly deserve to be right where they are..

I AM SO SAD, MAD, TIRED, CONFUSED, CRAZY, BITTER & BEWILDERED BY THIS ALL.. It breaks my heart just a bit more each & every day it goes on... And on... And on...

Prohibitionists are Cowards

I wonder what are the "law enforcement concerns" preventing Mr. Emery's serving his sentence in his home country. Statistics prove that recidivism rates are lower when inmates have more contact with family and friends on the outside. If the cowardly prohibitionists want to stop Marc from aiming a fan at their drug war house of cards it would seem to me in their interest that he serve his sentence in Canada. OK, I am joking a bit here-perhaps in response to the joke that the drug war has become. The prohibitionists have no logic to fall back on, they know their policies are fallacious and weak-soon to be under greater scrutiny by the public particularly as State and Federal budgets are trimmed nationally. They have to flex their muscle lest their failed war be lost and unfortunately Mr. Emery is caught in the middle. The correct response would be for all Canadians (whether they support prohibition or not) to publicly take offense at the U.S. position that "law enforcement concerns" govern their decision to keep Mr. Emery in U.S. jails. What is the problem? Is Canadian Law Enforcement so messed up that they can't keep a pot activist locked up safely so that the public is not in danger? Just what the hell is going on here? All Canadians regardless of their political persuasion should be rightly pissed-off. I know as a U.S. citizen I am ashamed and embarrassed by my country's prosecution of this war.

He razzed the drug czar

Paid $500 for a table at his lunch and harassed the poor bastard silly.That is why he will spend his time in the American Penal system.That,and the simple fact that the Harper government is a rabidly anti drug conspiracy in collusion with the DEA who they have granted office space and permission to operate as if they lived here.No,I want to alter that.If they lived here they would have to obey our laws.They are a rogue agency that obeys no one and operates on the other side of our laws.This with the full knowledge and permission of Harper and his anti drug cabal.Marc was an organizer and put millions into trying to end America's war on cannabis and was an obvious thorn in the side of the US government.That he was extradited for a crime that DOES NOT EXIST in our country is an affront to every Canadian.That his case continues to be politicized is another crime that the American people are complicit in.Write your government and tell them exactly what you think of their petty actions in this case.

McD's picture


"...politics are still influencing the process."

I can't, for the life of me, understand why on earth Emery didn't apply to the Netherlands for political asylum. Obviously, it's highly unlikely they would have so much as entertained the notion, but had the gesture been made it would have been appropriate to his cause and he could then have said he'd tried everything to avoid political repression. As it is, it's somehow more difficult to find a great deal of sympathy for the man who might have done just that crucially important little bit more. He should have made a well-publicized plea for political asylum. I can think of no more appropriate application of political asylum than in his case, yet in Europe, and I assume it's the same in the States, we all too frequently see such pleas made by immigration shoppers, rather those in genuine danger of being repressed and suffering for their beliefs, just like Emery is. Just imagine what might have happened if the NL had granted his request! (Not that they could, but just imagine.) A rejected request would have focused valuable attention on the issue and, I suspect, consequently done much to intimidate his captors into being a bit more careful and treating him with some measure of respect. Obviously, he should have been transferred to Canada.

Makes you wonder how much truth there was behind the stories of political prisoners being tortured by the Americans in Iraq, etc. All's fair in love and war? This is a bad time to be an American.

This is political

This whole thing is political and nothing else. A child could see it. I am still having a hard time with Canada letting the US gubment walk all over them and take one of their own on stupid trumped up charges that amount to a speeding ticket and putting the guy into a federal prison for 5 frikken years. Unbelievable but I have seen worse in my lifetime. I am really starting to dispise America and wanted to move to Canada but I can forget that now. They will give Marc the diesel treatment because he he is a political prisoner. So much for the Obummer administration being different than the Bush administration. BO could have made pot legal with a stroke of a pen as an executive order but instead just put abortion back on the taxpayers backs the second day he was in office with an executive order. The so called liberals have done nothing to stop the tyrant at the DEA and I can only hope they get their funding eventually stopped because gee America is 14 trillion dollars in the hole.

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