‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery back in Canada after four years in US prison
Canada’s self-proclaimed “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery returned home Tuesday, vowing “political revenge” after spending more than four years in a US prison for selling marijuana seeds by mail across the border.
The ardent advocate of legalizing marijuana was met by his wife, Jodie, and supporters in Windsor, Ontario before embarking on a speaking tour.
“It does smell like a party,” Emery said as smoke appeared to waft at a televised press conference. “I will say I fought long and hard for that.”
The US Drug Enforcement Administration heralded Emery’s initial arrest in Canada almost a decade ago as a “significant blow” to the pro-pot movement.
US justice officials said he sold more than four million marijuana seeds over the Internet, three fourths of which were mailed to customers in the United States.
During his incarceration, however, calls for softening marijuana laws across the Americas have grown louder, including a New York Times editorial last month comparing the US federal ban on cannabis to Prohibition.
This year the US states of Colorado and Washington became the first to allow recreational pot sales.
That prompted the presidents of Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica and Belize to demand a UN review by 2015 of current strategies against drug trafficking.
Uruguay, the first country to fully legalize production, sale and distribution of marijuana, meanwhile called for bids this month from private growers who want to farm cannabis in a public field.
The US attorney who drew up the indictment against Emery has also come out in favor of legalization.
“It was annoying at first,” Jodie Emery told Maclean’s magazine. “But it’s nice to have your enemy admit that they did wrong.”
– Canada pot politics –
In Canada, the attorney general has said Ottawa is considering amending the law to allow police to fine pot smokers for possession of small amounts of cannabis, instead of laying criminal charges.
An estimated one million out of a total 35 million Canadians regularly smoke marijuana, according to recent surveys.
Opposition Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who admitted smoking pot since being elected to Parliament in 2008, has said he favors legalizing marijuana use.
He is now leading in the polls ahead of next year’s elections.
Emery said he will campaign over the coming year against the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, while Emery’s wife Jodie seeks a Liberal nomination.
In jailhouse interviews Emery contended that Canada — which has never charged him with drug offenses — should not have handed him over to the United States.
As well, he criticized the ruling Tories for delaying his return to Canada.
“My own government betrayed me and I’m going to wreak an appropriate amount of political revenge when I get home,” he told public broadcaster CBC earlier this year.
At the Windsor press conference, Emery sounded a battle cry.
“So help me God, we are going to bury this prohibition next year in this federal election coming up,” Emery said.
“And I want to remind everybody, legalizing it (means) no one ever goes to jail for marijuana, including for selling seeds.”