Drug Policy

Prince of Pot Gets 'Only' Five Years

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Marc Emery, Canada's "Prince of Pot," reportedly has reached a plea agreement under which he will serve five years in a Canadian prison for selling marijuana seeds but avoid deportation to the U.S., where he could have been sentenced to 20 years or more. The deal also means that charges against two co-defendants will be dropped. "What is happening here is a travesty of justice," writes Vancouver Sun columnist Ian Mulgrew, noting that Canadian officials have allowed Emery and other seed dealers to openly ply their trade for years, choosing not to prosecute them for this victimless, consensual "crime":

The last time Emery was convicted in Canada of selling pot seeds, back in 1998, he was given a $2,000 fine. Emery has flouted the law for more than a decade and every year he sends his seed catalogue to politicians of every stripe.

He has run in federal, provincial and civic elections promoting his pro-cannabis platform. He has championed legal marijuana at parliamentary hearings, on national television, at celebrity conferences, in his own magazine, Cannabis Culture, and on his own Internet channel, Pot TV.

Health Canada even recommended medical marijuana patients buy their seeds from Emery. From 1998 until his arrest, Emery even paid provincial and federal taxes as a "marijuana seed vendor" totalling nearly $600,000.

Mulgrew says Canadian police who were frustrated by this situation went to the U.S., which brought charges against Emery based on his mail-order sales to Americans. U.S. drug warriors, like the Canadian police, targeted Emery because of his high profile and his political activism. When Emery was arrested back in 2005, DEA head Karen Tandy crowed that the U.S. government had dealt "a significant blow" against "the marijuana legalization movement," bragging that "drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on." 

[Thanks to Robert Drake for the tip.]

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  1. “drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.”

    Thanks for convincing me to give some money to NORML to give drug legalisation lobbyists at least a little bick of that pot od money back.

  2. This is a travesty of justice. A high level merchant of death like this who is poisoning America’s children need life in prison, 5 years is a mere slap on the wrist, this doesn’t send a serious enougth message.

  3. I believe Ian Mulgrew got one detail wrong. I believe the only other person to be convicted of selling marijuana seeds was my friend Ian Hunter in 1998. Ian was fined $200. There are plenty of places still selling seeds in most major centres in Canada. This was a political hit.

  4. These are the dangers of operating a technically illegal business even if the authorities “let” you. They can change their mind for any reason and then you’re fucked.

  5. DEA head Karen Tandy crowed that the U.S. government had dealt “a significant blow” against “the marijuana legalization movement,” bragging that “drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.”

    So the DEA is not just into law enforcement. They are also an armed, taxpayer funded, group of rent seekers. Anybody surprised?

  6. I’d think that this highlights the perils of decriminlization over legalization. Just because cops gave you a nudge and a week last week, doesn’t necessarily mean they will do the same today.

    He has run in federal, provincial and civic elections promoting his pro-cannabis platform. He has championed legal marijuana at parliamentary hearings, on national television, at celebrity conferences, in his own magazine, Cannabis Culture, and on his own Internet channel, Pot TV.

    He’s pretty motivated for a pot head!

    DEA head Karen Tandy crowed that the U.S. government had dealt “a significant blow” against “the marijuana legalization movement…”

    I realize this is hyperbole, but it sounds dangerously close to government suppression of political speech.

  7. It’s not hyperbole at all.

    Karen Tandy’s public statement is prima facie evidence that the DEA engaged in a prosecution targeted for a political end. If our government cared about justice at all, she would be breaking rocks at Leavenworth right now.

    Karen Tandy is an obvious, and proud, criminal. Perhaps some day she will learn the danger of directing a technically illegal prosecution, despite the fact that the authorities currently let her.

  8. Here is Marc a year ago explaining the situation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ8DZU_7QTI

    and the full Documentary:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LG9Tm0BgJKM

  9. Well, Canada (where I am right now, as a legal alien) sure should be proud of its awesome sovereignty right now. Arresting honest businessmen at the behest of base gangsters like Tandy is an embarrassment!

    Oh, and selectively fighting potheads as soon as they get loud and uppity is especially ridiculously transparently political here, where I see people get busted for drinking publicly but police walks right by people smoking openly on the street all the time.

    Pathetic! Free the Vancouver one!

  10. Well, it’s a good thing that Reason is supporting the one candidate who would end this madness…oh wait, never mind.

  11. Emery even paid provincial and federal taxes as a “marijuana seed vendor” totalling nearly $600,000.

    Which helped fund his prosecution.

    Note that’s one pot vendor paying Canada over $85,000 per year in taxes. I wonder what the tax receipts of the whole U.S. industry would be if it was legalized? Would it fix Social Security? Erase the deficit?

    But noooooo…

  12. LarryA:

    Yeah – I always just say “prisons for tax evaders” when apologists rattle off how much awesome stuff our oh-so-well-spent taxes buy. Force is force is force, and putting lipstick on a turd…well…better discard the lipstick.

    Oh, and to get rid of the deficit in the US, pouring in more money doesn’t help at all as per above. I guess your country is at the point where only a year-round open season on policritters could save the day, and that’s not coming soon.

    I’d leave the country if I were American. Highly intelligent US-born businessmen agree:
    http://www.fourmilab.ch/fourmilog/archives/2008-01/000948.html

  13. Canadian police grew so frustrated that neither prosecutors nor the courts would lock up Emery and throw away the key, they urged their U.S. counterparts to do the dirty work. And that’s what’s wrong.

    That’s nice…

  14. “What is happening here is a travesty of justice,” writes Vancouver Sun columnist Ian Mulgrew, noting that Canadian officials have allowed Emery and other seed dealers to openly ply their trade for years, choosing not to prosecute them for this victimless, consensual “crime”

    Selling seeds is just the pretext for Marc’s persecution. His real crime was being an effective political activist. Until his arrest, Canada was steadily progressing towards legalizing marijuana. He was too much of a threat to the Drug warriors, so they put a stop to him.

  15. The DEA went after Marc because he was actually having an effect. The Liberal Canadian gov’t was about to effectively legalize small amounts of marijuana, including growing a few plants. He was heavily involved in activism in the U.S. Had marijuana been legalized in Canada, how long do you think the drug warriors would have been able to keep up the fight? Marc has been very effective in the past tackling one law at a time, he would have won this one too (still may).

  16. Note that’s one pot vendor paying Canada over $85,000 per year in taxes.

    He’s not even that. He sells seeds. Is Burpees a food vendor? I’m way too lazy to do the math, but the government is missing out of ~1 gazillion dollars in income tax alone by continuing prohibition. Sin taxes are immoral, but if prohibition ended they would be levied on reefer and dwarf the income taxes paid by vendors.

    How stupid can the drug warriors be? Prohibition denies our rights, harms the economy immeasurably, and costs the government, via lost revenue and enforcemnt costs, incalculable amounts of money.

    As I posted on another thread earlier today, the American voter is stupid and Libertarians get marginalized because we are aware of, and don’t hide, the fact.

    I’ve about given up hope of convincing the public on this, a simple straightforward issue. Robert Heinlein once penned, “Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.” So true.

    Aresen, still no obscenities (and it’s difficult). I’m gonna go all year.

  17. Can we weave the Ron Paul newsletters into this story?

    ———-

    Matt Welch is a vile racist.

  18. Maybe I shouldn’t point out the obvious, but if marijuana were legal, there’d be no profits to tax. You can grow your own or buy it very cheaply. I think they recognized that.

  19. J sub D,

    About the Drug Warriors: Evil is not stupid. It works for them.

    About the population: Sure they’re dum. That’s the problem with limitless democracy. Democracy is a good way to prevent change happening too quickly at the behest of a single nutjob dictator. Apart from that, it’s bound to lead to shitty decisions, because peepl r dum. Worse, a state that’s out of bounds, and which one isn’t, will have an easy job manipulating the proles, erasing the one benefit of democracy. That’s why big government types love boundless democracy.

    I want a republic, not a democracy. And I want fine Emery seeds, not crummy political police.

    AND WHERE IS MY FLYING CAR?

    Seriously, this is the 21st century. This is supposed to be cool, and most places I look, I see is things turning for the worse.

  20. And to Karen Tandy, who slaved selfishly many long years as a tool of the evil War on Drugs, I leave…

    A boot to the head!

    (and another for jenny and the wimp)

  21. “Mulgrew says Canadian police who were frustrated by this situation went to the U.S…”

    Someone needs to call the waaaahhmbulance. Poor Canadians, having their sovereignty stomped on by the evil US. (/snark)

    This proves that DEA involvement in other countries is “ENABLED” (good drug abuse term) by those same countries. Look at Mexico, Panama, Columbia, Bolivia, etc. In my reading I see a lot of links between the DEA and CIA meddling, with the DEA being the “fingercuff” between the drug dealers and the CIA.

    I’m still waiting to hear about the CIA linked plane crash last month in Mexico with a ton of nose candy and the fact that criminals are running fake police road blocks in tourist areas of Mexico and robbing Americans.

  22. Marc is planning a cross Canada “Fairwell Tour” promoting legalization from Feb. to March. I guess it’s one more kick in the DEA’s nuts. They need $12,000 to pull it off, and though a Money Bomb might work. Anyway, if you want to contribute, here’s how:

    1) PayPal bank transfer:
    Send to jodie_giesz@hotmail.com, or donate to the ChipIn

    2) Cheque or money order:
    Made out to “Marc Emery”, memo “Farewell Tour”
    307 West Hastings Street
    Vancouver, BC
    V6B 1H6
    Canada

    3) Cash donations:
    Contribute in person at Marc Emery’s Cannabis Culture Headquarters
    307 West Hastings Street, Vancouver BC
    (Deliver only to Marc Emery or Jodie Emery in the CC magazine office downstairs,
    or to Anna, Rhiannon, or Brandon in the CC Headquarters store on the main floor.)

  23. Keep Dope Alive

  24. Maybe I shouldn’t point out the obvious, but if marijuana were legal, there’d be no profits to tax. You can grow your own or buy it very cheaply. I think they recognized that.

    Nah, there’d be plenty of taxable sales. Its also cheap and easy to grow your own food, but hardly anybody does it. Easier to pick up a pack at the corner store than invest 6 months babying a bunch of plants along, only to have them stolen.

  25. Merry Juanita,

    That’s some good trolling.

  26. If marijuana were legal, even if it is easy to grow, I think most marijuana consumers would choose the convenience of just buying joints or sacks from their nearest vendor. Even with taxes, it’d be cheap to the point where everyone who doesn’t smoke every day would probably not want to mess with growing.

  27. I don’t know Gregory.

    Pretty much every smoker I know has a little tobacco patch in their yard 😉

    Jake
    (who is indeed being silly)

  28. About the population: Sure they’re dum.

    Oh, ‘they’ are dumb, are they?

    That’ll convince folks; go on ‘head and insult everyone who doesn’t think like you do.

    I suppose when you say “they”, you mean “everyone except me”, right?

  29. “He’s pretty motivated for a pot head!”

    Or perhaps you need to rethink your prejudices (for which we can thank Jim Brewer and the propoganda film “Half Baked”, the “Reefer Madness” of 1998).

  30. “Maybe I shouldn’t point out the obvious, but if marijuana were legal, there’d be no profits to tax. You can grow your own or buy it very cheaply. I think they recognized that.”

    So THAT’S why grocery stores have stopped selling tomatoes, peas, corn…because we all are growing our own!

  31. I hope this isn’t too far off topic, but does anyone have any info as to marijuana initiatives/ballot issues in the U.S. in 2008?

  32. It is to Marc Emery’s credit that he took the deal to get his co-defendants released. A noble act, eh?

  33. If cannabis really makes you lazy, then why didn’t this guy either 1. Quit activism a long time ago or 2. Get “caught” a long time ago.

    Note here that the government didn’t want to “get drugs out of the hands of children.” They also didn’t want to “get dangerous criminals off the street.” The DID want to deal “a significant blow” against “the marijuana legalization movement,” – These are the words of the FBI and DEA.

    They don’t want to keep us safer. They DO want to control the population. Not that I think we should start locking up lobbyist, but Emery wouldn’t be the top one on my list. Lets start with the war-mongering ones, you know, the ones who actually want to KILL people.

  34. Juanita, you can’t be serious? “A high level merchant of death”. You must be apawled by the fact that the Canadian and US government has rampant legal alcohol which is a far far worse drug according to every scientific study on the planet. I think you should do a little science oriented research and not listen to propaganda.

  35. I think Juanita was being sarcastic.

  36. Juanita, you can’t be serious?

    Phillip – don’t worry about Juanita. We haven’t been able to figure out if she’s a deadpan serious troll or a beautiful, consistent parody of hardcore drug warriors.

    Best to look upon her as art.

  37. Ayn_Randian,

    By they I mean “comfortable majorities of the populations pretty much everywhere”. I sure don’t think I’m the smartest cookie around, I’m too smart for that! 😉

    And well, “they” are. What should I do? Lie to clowns and tell them they’re Hawking so they’ll listen?

    Better make that Einstein or they won’t know which “egghead I’m talkin’ ’bout”.

    There’s not much point in convincing the broad masses because they like simple answers and right answers need studying and systematic thinking.

    As a commenter in another forum recently said: Dollar sinking rapidly, Gold exploding, pointless war(s) going on, debt getting crushing – yet less than 10% for Ron Paul, who was/is the best thing to come along in a long time in electoral politics, those damn newsletters or not. Doesn’t sound like a lot of people can be convinced. Also cf the followings of preachers vs scientists.

    Snarky punchline: For a fan of the most ubermensch-worshipping elitist ever, you sure are sensitive.

  38. For a fan of the most ubermensch-worshipping elitist ever, you sure are sensitive.

    Ayn Rand wasn’t this at all, and you have no proof that she was, although I have proof that she wasn’t:

    “A nation’s productive-and moral, and intellectual-top is the middle class.” – Ayn Rand

    What should I do? Lie to clowns and tell them they’re Hawking so they’ll listen?

    Suggest you change your attitude about people and stop finding everything that’s wrong with a person and look for the good.

    Considering how easily libertarian arguments can be demolished, I wouldn’t so readily place yourself in the nation’s intellectual elite just because you have better politics than the rest.

  39. There’s not much point in convincing the broad masses because they like simple answers and right answers need studying and systematic thinking.

    Oh the masses!, the proles! The great unwashed…the Ignorati! Alas, alas.

    Only someone who very rarely deals with people, or has extreme blinders on, would think that most of the people around him are dumb. And would think this is somehow a case for libertarian politics.

  40. Ayn_Randian,

    Regarding each of your points,

    * Elitism as an attitude does not say who ones perceives to be the elite.

    * Yes, I do see the good, and I see simpler people as very often more moral than people who have more capacity for rationalization. Which doesn’t change the fact that these same people are enablers of great evil with a smooth tongie in every election – when others do the rationalizing and demagoguery for them.

    * I’m not part of any elite, and libertarian arguments are remarkably hard to demolish as long as the axioms are accepted. That ends as opposed to means are a matter of taste and not objective by necessity isn’t news.

    * Well, there is such a thing as unwashed masses of proles. That doesn’t make them evil, but it does make them dangerous when people come along who lie well.

    * Maybe you deal with very different people than me. Dumb is not a moral judgement anyway. And yes, it’s an argument for libertarian politics because dumb people easily get deceived by smart people without morals, who are in a democracy both the first people to get and the last people fit for power. This is a very good point for decentralization and not trusting people with power. Especially not smart people who want it.

  41. Great evil with a smooth tongue. Me r dum!

  42. Canadian sovereignty isn’t at question here. Canada has a law against what he was doing, and the 1974 extradition treaty explicitly limits extradition to things that are crimes in Canada which can be punished with a sentence of more than one year. Canada accordingly could have made this whole thing go away simply by changing its law, even after the extradition request was made, by amending the Canadian law to reduce the maximum possible sentence for his crime under Canadian law to one year.

    So, let’s be absolutely clear – Emery was screwed entirely by and under Canadian law. At the behest of U.S. prosecutors, yes, but under the laws of Canada.

  43. Its a good thing Reason is supporting the one candidate who would end this kind of madne…..oh wait, nevermind.

  44. Warmongering Lunatic – A $200 fine in Canada vs ten years plus in the U.S., a person who was the driving force for legalization in Canada (and almost achieved it). Canadian sovereignty is at question here. There are plenty of Canadians still actively involved in selling seeds and no one pays any attention because they’re not openly challenging American authority. It certainly looks like a sellout to the Americans to me, and to many here.

    Now to get the Canadian gov’t to demand the extradition of American gun dealers to Canada.

  45. Robert Drake –

    Again, extradition to the U.S. can only be invoked in matters where Canadian law allows a sentence in excess of a year in prison. If a fine were the maximum penalty in Canadian law, the extradition would be impossible.

    If Canada wants to either legalize or decriminalize the selling of seeds, Parliament can do so whenever it likes, by unilaterally changing Canadian law, without any change to the existing extradition treaty or need to consult with the United States. That’s full, unfettered sovereignty.

    And, well, if Canadians really think that having to bother to actually change their laws when they want to decriminalize something is too much effort, perhaps Canadians aren’t ready for self-government, the Canadian Constitution should be repatriated to Britain, and responsible government suspended.

  46. It’s great to see that so many people understand what’s really going on.

    Mr. Emery is totally a vicitim of political persecution. But so are all cannabis users to one extend or another.

    Yeah, and just WHERE IS my flying car?

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