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Marc Emery in Solitary Confinement in US Prison

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #787)
Drug War Issues

Canadian marijuana seed magnate and political dissident Marc Emery, who is about four years into a five-year US prison sentence for selling pot seeds over the Internet, has been sent to solitary confinement at the Mississippi federal prison where he's doing his time. According to the magazine he founded, Cannabis Culture, he is being punished over false charges.

Rockin' the joint at Yazoo City FCI. That's Emery on bass on the left. (
Emery, along with other prisoners at the Yazoo City Federal Correctional Institution, formed a band some months ago. Photos of the band were taken by prison staff, then developed and sent to his wife, Jodie Emery, in Vancouver, and were posted on his blog in April. According to Emery, permission for the photos was granted by three separate administrators, including one at the prison's Special Investigative Services department.

But now, prison officials have placed Emery and his bandmates in solitary confinement while they say they are investigating the possibility the photos had been taken with a prohibited smart phone. Prisoners in solitary, or, as it is euphemistically known, the Special Housing Unit (SHU), are locked in their cells 23 hours a day and denied normal prison amenities.

"Got to see Marc for 1.5 hours," Jodie Emery posted in an online statement Friday, shortly after a trip to visit him. "Prison has him in solitary confinement to 'investigate' the photos of his band that the prison itself approved! The investigation (could take months) is to see if Marc had a cell phone to take the band photos -- despite proof the prison camera was used! The warden, guards, music/recreation admins -- everyone -- knows Marc got official permission for those photos. Yet they put him in solitary?!"

Cannabis Culture reported that prison authorities were unavailable to comment until after the weekend.

As an entrepreneur and activist, the Vancouver-based Emery was a burr under the saddle of US drug warriors, who managed to indict him for his seed-selling business. Canadian authorities declined to help him, although they had allowed his business to operate untrammeled for years.

He was eventually sentenced to five years in federal prison in a plea deal designed to spare his codefendants from facing the wrath of US prosecutors. In a press release the day of his arrest, the DEA issued a press release crowing that taking him down was "a significant blow… to the marijuana legalization movement… 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."

With little more than a year to go on his sentence, Emery is seeking a transfer to a Canadian prison. Interested parties can support his bid by sending a letter to the Justice Department's transfer division.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


TrebleBass (not verified)

It's incredible how little some people are cared about in society, like those in jail, and how susceptible they are to being abused. 

Mon, 06/10/2013 - 7:41am Permalink
sertz (not verified)

Stay strong Marc, you have an insane amount of supporters here in Canada. You surely know, but Ko (music artist from Canada) has actually immortalized you in the song "The Seed Man". Here's to all you've done for Marijuana awareness, and we all look forward to your release from this insane campaign against one of the most versatile plants on the planet.

Mon, 06/10/2013 - 2:17pm Permalink
Past Captive a… (not verified)

Such a terrible place to be, Yazoo City SHU. FCC Yazoo City is the end of the road and rated the worst prison in the BOP. I cant imagine much has changed there over the years but from 2001-2006 it was a hell hole, violent and completely mismanaged gang run and infested with drugs and thugs. To be designated to Yazoo meant a convicted inmate had successfully pissed off the Feds. Their means to retaliate was the use of Draconian punishment and the fact Yazoo was a punitive prison within the system. The staff is made up of basically washouts in the system and those that could be found in the city of Yazoo and surrounding area able to pass a drug test and did not have any criminal history. Slim pickings to say the least so literacy was not necessarily a requirement to become a member of the staff at the institution. Good luck getting out of the SHU but most likely Marc is being held under investigation which at Yazoo can be an indefinite process used as punishment for something else they wanted to retaliate for but it was not a violation of BOP rules and regs. Case managers there are so ignorant that they have filed a treaty transfer for an Australian inmate with the government of Austria believing that Australia and Austria were the same place. Obviously the transfer was denied and the inmate was kept far past their EOS date because the case manager did not have a clue about geography.

Good luck Marc and hope you are truly in solitary and not having to share a 2 man SHU cell with another inmate.

Mon, 06/10/2013 - 3:08pm Permalink
McD (not verified)

Interesting: in his address at the 23rd International Harm Reduction Conference last week, Stephen Lewis, co-founder and co-director of AIDS Free World (hardly a 'lightweight') called for the the criminalisation of INCB members (about 10:50 at Reading about Marc Emory like this, I can't help thinking there must be some sort of divine retribution like that just around the corner. 

Sat, 06/15/2013 - 4:21am Permalink

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