Former U.S. Prosecutor Who Took Down Marc Emery Calls for Legalization, But Doesn't Regret Prosecution of "Prince of Pot"

Much has already been written about John McKay, the man who helped give Canadian "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery his five-year prison term for selling marijuana seeds to U.S. citizen, and McKay's recent conversion to advocate for legalization of weed. The strange thing is that the former U.S. attorney still doesn't regret his prosecution of Emery. What's perhaps odder still is that Emery's wife Jodie, who joined McKay at a lecture in British Columbia on Wednesday, doesn't hold the prosecution of her husband against McKay since it "wasn't personal." Or maybe Ms. Emery is just trying to be the bigger man, as it were.

Recently McKay, along with Jodie Emery and former British Columbia Attorney General Geoff Plant (another recently-turned pro-pot guy) came together for an event sponsored by Stop the Violence BC, a group devoted to changing marijuana prohibition. At the event McKay a former Republican who served under Bush between 2001-2006 and was one those eight attorneys whose firing caused a kerfuffle in that year, said:

"I want to say this just as clearly and as forthrightly as I can, marijuana prohibition, criminal prohibition of marijuana is a complete failure."

He noted that cartels' power would be reduced (over-hyped but any excuse to change laws if you're looking for one). Also, McKay said that prohibitions require a majority consensus and marijuana clearly no longer qualifies (polls in the U.S. and Canada say it's around a 50-50 split with it comes to legalization, with younger folks much more keen to legalize).

McKay is currently a law professor in Seattle and he's helping the push for legalization in that state. Under the projected regulation, revenue from the sales of marijuana would go to the state and then, says McKay, "would be earmarked under our initiative that has been submitted to the people for use in public health models, rather than law enforcement models." 

Even though it's fantastic that McKay has come around, it's infuriating that he doesn't regret helping to imprison Emery. McKay simply says that if Emery objected to pot laws, he should have simply advocated for their changes, not shamelessly broken them. (Never mind the evidence that Emery got five years not because of the profits he raked in, but because he was using them to help further his goal of legalization.) For Emery's own sake that may be true, but it doesn't remove the nasty stain from McKay's hands. Nor does trying to present a "reasonable" face of anti-prohibition to those who may be on the fence about the issue mean that taking five years of a man's life isn't wrong, even if Emery should have had the self-preservation to know better and know what might happen to him —the same thing that happens to other people who violate the U.S.'s precious drug laws.

Mike Riggs on Washington state's marijuana legalization controversies. And Reason on Marc Emery, on Canadian drug laws, and on drug policy in general.

Hat tip to commenter rts

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    Fist

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    Under the projected regulation, revenue from the sales of marijuana would go to the state and then, says McKay, "would be earmarked under our initiative that has been submitted to the people for use in public health models, rather than law enforcement models." (emphasis mine)

    Well, well, well. I posted the other day that this very carrot on the stick would be used to sell legalization to the public in exchange for centralized medical care, which was met with some scorn.

    The "rehab" industry will be pulling for this but good. If you think that public health models will be limited to just the "addicted" (it galls me to no end how bastardized this term has become), I have a nice little gated, swampy community called "The Everglades" to sell you.

  • ||

    Hat tip to commenter rts

    What? No endearing title bestowed?

    WHERE IS THE REAL LUCY?!

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    She's in the big leagues now. Not time for us little people.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Look, I'm trying to be hip to you people's jive. I though we were done with adjectives.

    What's the latest craze among commenters?

  • ||

    Justin Bieber?

  • ||

    What's the latest craze among commenters?

    Saving the endangered species known as Anon-bot. Perhaps you can wield your big league influence to protect this noble beast.

    Maybe: "Hat tip to, and in memorial of Anon-bot, "_______".

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Look, you may have lost faith in Anon-bot, but I am keeping hope alive.

    I actually defended his honor last conference call. He's like a friend!

  • ||

    What about poor Tiggy Foo? What about Herc? You just hung them out to dry, didn't you.

  • nipplemancer||

    Poor Tiggy. I miss him so.

  • Proprietist||

    TiggyFoo is Anon-bot.

    Give us Tiggy or give us death!

  • R C Dean||

    What's the latest craze among commenters?

    You are, Lucy.

    And you know it, you little minx.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Lucy ...

    May be pedantic, but it seems one can logically have done something in the past for which they do not regret, but they would be unlikely to repeat in the present or future.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Err, yes. But my suggestion is that he should regret something which caused and continued to cause harm to someone who did nothing wrong (in the malum in se sort of way). Particularly if he now disagrees with those same laws.

    I don't really get your objection to my objection.

  • fried wylie||

    Objection Overruled.

  • The Unknown Pundit||

    I'll take the case!

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    Marc Emery was pretty hysterically high in Super High Me, hard to take him seriously there. NTTAWT, fuck McKay and fuck "prohibitions require a majority consensus."

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  • LarryA||

    [and fuck "prohibitions require a majority consensus."]

    Well, they really do. In fact, for successful prohibition you need pretty much a 100% consensus.

  • R C Dean||

    WTF is a "majority consensus", anyway?

    A majority is 50% + 1. A consensus is just short of unanimity. "Majority consensus" makes no sense.

  • Zeb||

    It makes sense, but it doesn't say anything that "majority" doesn't already say. There is certainly a consensus among the people who think that prohibition is a good idea that prohibition is a good idea.

  • PantsFan||

    This is funny

    Olympics Organizers ">Ask Keith Moon to Play Closing Ceremony

  • PantsFan||

  • ||

    Research FAIL!

  • nipplemancer||

    Hey, if they can get Tupac they can get Keith Moon. Afterlife celebrity is apropos for the 21st century.

  • ||

    What's perhaps odder still is that Emery's wife Jodie, who joined McKay at a lecture in British Columbia on Wednesday, doesn't hold the prosecution of her husband against McKay since it "wasn't personal." Or maybe Ms. Emery is just trying to be the bigger man, as it were.

    Marc has been transferred to Yazoo City Prison in Mississippi. Jodie is likely on a short leash regarding bad mouthing US officials for fear of retribution on her husband.

  • R C Dean||

    This right here.

    Although, to me, "it wasn't personal" makes it worse. Here's a guy who wrecked her husband's life enforcing a law he doesn't even believe in.

    So why'd he do it? Shits and giggles? Personal advancement?

  • Virginian||

    You know you hear this a lot from people when libertarians are tearing into cops, prosecutors, or legislators for being worthless thugs. This whole "it's their job, it's nothing personal". Which of course is from Road House.

    So I really don't know where I was going with this. But fuck off, slaver.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Dammit, I have yet to watch "Road House" but it's on my list.

  • sticks||

    Abridged version of Road House

  • Pi Guy||

    Yeah, that's pretty much how I remember it.

  • ||

    Did Patrick Swayze rip a guy's heart out at the end?

  • PantsFan||

    Yeah you gotta watch it.

  • ||

    Your 80s-fu is so weak, Lucy. It's embarrassing, frankly. Tell me you've at least seen The Goonies.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Dammit, I have yet to watch "Road House" but it's on my list.

    Consider yourself uninvited to the Annual Reason Pittsburgh Beer Brawl in the Park until further notice.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    You guys are harsh. I have seen many life-staples from before my time, but I am sorry, we all have holes in our education.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Don't worry the p-burgh beer brawl kinda sucks. Really, it's just me wandering around Schenley park with a fifth of Inver House punching myself it the face.

  • Ted S.||

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I want you to be nice until it's time to not be nice.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    It's a bad 80's movie with great lines. Read the quotes from the internet don't bother with the movie.

  • Griffin3||

    "Make it personal. Do as much damage as you can. Get your message across. That way you stand a far better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous, marks the difference--the only difference in their eyes--between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it's just business, it's politics, it's the way of the world, it's a tough life, and that it's nothing personal. Well, fuck them. Make it personal."


    So, yes, a nutpunch would be good ... as a starting point.

  • PantsFan||

    If there is anything more annoying than Eric Cartman yelling "go Kings go" over and over, I dare you to prove it.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Ummm, maybe the fuckin' Flyers trollin' the shit out of your birds fer three games?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Forgive me Reason, but I really don't like Ted Nugent. Dude just annoys the fuck out of me.

    But, BUT!, here's some asshole concern troll over at CNN saying that Nugent should be jailed for his words, and I can't abide by that.

    I wonder if people are really that concerned/scared or if it's a cover for their control fantasies.

  • ||

    Both. These are not mutually exclusive.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I guess that a borderline sadist slash control freak would almost have to originate from a position of fear.

  • LarryA||

    It's always ironic when folks call CHLs paranoid because they're concerned about criminals, then want everyone disarmed because they're afraid of their friends and neighbors.

  • R||

    + eleventy billion.

  • jaydubya||

    The drug war is one of many alarming examples of that worst of human impulses, the need to exercise arbitrary authority over others. This vile human impulse is of course the daily task of any prosecutor. Even under the best of circumstances (when they are going after violent criminals, with evidence and due process), we should be wary of these people, because their task is at its heart contemptible if not occasionally necessary.

    Like any war criminal, McKay should apologize and be punished for his transgressions. That being said, the more pressing point at the moment is that more prosecutors and law enforcement personnel lay down their arms and stop imprisoning and murdering innocent people. McKay is apparently trying to surrender. Let's let him do that and have our Nuremberg once the war ends.

  • ||

    OK, I'll be the first to say it. Jodie Emery is hot and I would "do" her, as the kidz say deez dayz.

  • General Butt Naked||

    She's okay, but I don't know if she warrants an entire internet comment.

  • ||

    Alcohol prohibition was bullshit too, but it didn't make Al Capone a freedom fighter. The fact that prohibition guarantees that only assholes can be involved in the drug trade doesn't make drug traders any less asshole-ish. This is what I fucking loathe about Reason - the constant advocacy of marijuana use and distribution and apologetics on behalf of the black market cartels that run it rather than advocacy for decriminalization while acknowledging the obvious negative implications of the pot industry as it currently exists.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Yup, Marc Emery is the same as Al Capone.

    Dumbass.

  • ||

    So what you're saying is... you love the taste of salty balls in your mouth?

  • Amakudari||

    Yeah, I can totally remember when Marc Emery had a half dozen of his rivals killed.

    Seriously, he sold cannabis seeds and committed mostly harmless civil disobedience, like opening his store on Sunday or selling banned rap albums. Dude paid taxes on the pot, too.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Not to mention that Emery spent $millions on legalization efforts which brought law enforcement down upon him.

  • R C Dean||

    apologetics on behalf of the black market cartels that run it

    I don't see this. I think the Standard Libertarian Line is that black market cartels are vile, and are the completely predictable creation of prohibition laws.

  • Zeb||

    As far as I know, Marc Emory did nothing to harm anyone. He was doing pretty much exactly what should be allowed to happen legally. If he had been a gangster using violence to eliminate rivals, I'd agree. But he did nothing at all wrong as far as I know.

  • db||

    What's perhaps odder still is that Emery's wife Jodie, who joined McKay at a lecture in British Columbia on Wednesday, doesn't hold the prosecution of her husband against McKay since it "wasn't personal." Or maybe Ms. Emery is just trying to be the bigger man, as it were.

    I see it as possibly an extension of the Progressive acceptance of the State's ultimate power over the individual. It might be bad policy, but it's not wrong in their eyes, since the State rightly has the power to execute any policy, right or wrong, moral or immoral, witg equal authority and immunity from censure.

  • Angus MacAskill||

    In this case your guess is way off. Jodie may not exactly be a libertarian, but she's no state-worshiper, especially when the state is doing something blatantly immoral.

  • Proprietist||

    For Emery's own sake that may be true, but it doesn't remove the nasty stain from McKay's hands.

    I don't know. Give me a prosecutor that enforces bad laws, knows they're bad and is willing to work for change over a prosecutor that enforces bad laws and thinks he's on a righteous moral crusade to save the children and kittehs from certain instant death from pot smoke any day.

  • Angus MacAskill||

    Look, agree with it or not, Harriet Tubman broke the law. If she didn't like slavery, she could've lobbied Congress. It's called democracy.

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