It Started With Ayn Rand and a Puff of Pot


Saturday's New York Times had a profile of Canadian marijuana activist Marc Emery, who was arrested late last month and is awaiting extradition to the U.S. (a process the Times says "could take years") on charges related to his cannabis seed business:

Mr. Emery describes himself as "a responsible libertarian, not a hedonist," who extols the virtues of capitalism, low taxes, small government and the right of citizens to bear arms.

He said he grew up a social democrat, influenced by his father, who was active in trade union work. But he said his life changed in 1979 when he began reading the works of Ayn Rand, who championed individual freedom and capitalism.

"The right to be free, the right to own the fruits of your mind and effort now all made sense," he recalled. Only a few months after discovering Rand, his girlfriend at the time offered him a joint and he smoked marijuana for the first time.

"It was an epiphany," he said. "I had a sixth sense added to my five senses. The silence sounded different, smells were more nuanced and the brightness of the moon made it look bigger and more substantial in the sky."

The combination of Rand's philosophy and the marijuana set him on a course of advocacy in which, he said, "I decided to dedicate my whole life to repudiate the state."

Among other things, this involved selling books and magazines banned in Canada and resisting Sunday closing laws. I suspect Rand would not have approved of the pot, tobacco being her smokable weed of choice, but Emery probably would be more fun to hang out with than John Galt.