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Prince of Pot

Submitted by on April 8, 2010 – 4:42 pmNo Comment

Culture-Canadiana-1Marc Emery is an extreme guy. He owns and publishes Cannabis Culture magazine, founded the B.C. Marijuana Party, ran twice for mayor of Vancouver and, until July of 2005, was one of the world’s leading marijuana seed dealers.

Emery wears suits, is clean shaven and has an uncompromising ease of speech. When he talks he cuts the fat; his confident tone tells you there’s no bullshit pursing through his lips. He is no flower-power hippie. Whatever spaced out and groovy stereotypes usually attached to 49-year-old pot smokers and activists are lost on Emery.Without the dread locks, the Vancouver native has managed to become the face of Canadian-pot politics.

His battle against the United States Drug Enforcement Agency triggered a documentary film – fittingly titled Prince of Pot: U.S. VS Marc Emery – and inspired libertarians worldwide. Before Emery plea bargained a deal to serve five years in a Canadian prison in January, he was facing a possible extradition to the U.S. for the sale of seeds – a charge that, if convicted, could keep him in a federal penitentiary for the rest of his life. Emery had reached a deal with U.S. prosecutors that would have seen him serve five years in jail in Canada, but the Conservative government vetoed the deal in March.

Even with Emery’s future freedom in jeopardy, he remains an outspoken activist, organizing rallies and publishing Cannabis Culture with more zeal than ever.

When Martyr’s Kris Schumacher spoke with the Prince of Pot, Emery had a mouthful to spit out about his ongoing legal battle, the RCMP, and the future of the “drug war.” The following is an edited transcript of that interview.

KS– You’ve said before that you’re not scared about getting extradited to the United States…

Emery-…I don’t really think about it in any other way than as an academic thing.

KS– What kind of message do you get knowing there are still people who the Canadian government hasn’t helped that are sitting in American prisons?

Emery-That’s what all my activism is designed to do, why we raised all that money and gave away millions of dollars – always fighting the drug war. The reason we want to legalize marijuana is not because people have a native right to smoke marijuana any more than they have a right to eat cabbage. What they have the right to do is live peacefully and honestly without being punished or going to jail. I’ve been arrested 22 times for marijuana – jailed 17 times in eight provinces. So I have more experience going to jail than any Canadian alive as far as marijuana goes.

KS-Is it weird then to think about the concept that by opposing you, the American government is actually giving you more power to what you do, which is sell seeds?

Emery-When you’ve got powerful and murderous enemies who are armed to the teeth and willing to kill, jail or do anything to reinforce their control over you, you have to hope that they overreach and do something really embarrassing and bullying and evil. And hopefully in the full light of day so people can read about it in the semi-free press, then people will ultimately demand political change. It’s always tough though, because political change doesn’t happen readily. What you get is political window dressing and a change of political characters, but you don’t get real change in the system itself, because the system is resistant to change. It’s easier to change the individuals who are running for office than it is to change the system. It requires a lifetime of commitment to maybe, maybe not, see the changes we seek.

KS-Does it give you hope that when a new office takes over in the U.S. they might see your case differently?

Emery-I have lots of hope, but I have hope based in our own efforts, in the campaigns and the inevitability that at some point, somewhere on earth, someone will see the light, or that there’ll be a revolution and we’ll take up arms, or we’ll do any number of different things in different places around the world to establish our preeminent right to be left alone, left in peace, and have our marijuana. Sometimes we have to take up arms. Over time, we’ve had this prohibition for 35 and 40 years and we’re always turning the other cheek and using peaceful, civil disobedience, but one day that’ll come to an end. We’ll urge everyone to take up arms and start fighting back against the state. If they start putting people in jail for mandatory minimums, we have more and more of a stake in meeting their war with war-like measures.

KS-Do you think that’s the next step then? Is that what it’s going to take?

Emery-Not necessarily the next step, but it’s always out there as a possibility of some future kind. If we keep seeing the drug war worsen and worsen in the United States and Canada, if we keep seeing more and more surveillance and people put in jail for peaceful, honest behaviour, eventually people will take action on their own because they’re not going to get the satisfaction through the democratic process. If we’re ignored and disenfranchised, getting felonies for marijuana cultivation so we can’t vote, eventually you force people into choosing and finding other alternatives to changing the system.

KS– Maybe a new society somewhere?

Emery-We don’t need a new society, but just leave us the fuck alone and do your own thing. But as long as you’re going to arrest me and suppress me and oppress me, the mind might turn to forceful ways to resist that. Eventually all people resist tyranny by force.

KS-Do you get peace of mind to think that one day people may look back and realize that you were one of the original martyrs?

Emery-No, I’m having too much fun doing what I’m doing. When I’m in prison languishing I’ll have plenty of time for that kind of reflection. But for now I don’t spend any time thinking of stuff like that. There’s so much stuff going on. I publish Cannabis Culture magazine, I’ve got a show on Ron Paul Radio.com, we produce Pot TV television shows here, I’m leader of the B.C. Marijuana Party and I’m doing interviews all day about drug laws. So there’s too much going on, and it’s wonderful that I have a great job that requires straightening out all these people about their perception of the prohibition.

KS-What do you think about sites like YouTube being out there?

Emery-They’re the best. Imagine how many cop brutalities went on before the era of YouTube and nothing was ever done about it? And nothing ever happens anyway. The cops beat you up, they taser people and kill them. They’re murdering bastards, and nothing ever happens. They don’t even lose a day of pay typically. But the thing is we’re fully undressing our national police force. We know they’re murdering bastards, we know they’re an occupation army, we know they don’t have any legitimacy, and we know they employ heartless cold-blooded killers. So that’s the good thing about YouTube. Nobody should show respect for the police. I would say “Don’t taze me bro” to the R.C.M.P. every time I go by them, but then you’re provoking them. They’re savages, and the thing is we’ve got to stop people from joining the police. If we can convince everyone that only a Neanderthal, murdering son of a bitch would ever become a cop, then we’ll get robots that can be programmed. We’ll get Robocop and the number one thing will be “Do Not Hurt the Innocent.” That’s what we need. We need Robocop.

KS-And it seems like there’s more cops than ever now.

Emery-Because according to all politicians more cops is the answer to all problems. But more cops just create problems. They’ve got to arrest people. It’s like if you build jails you’ve got to fill them up. It’s like a hotel – you only make money if you’ve got a maximum capacity. All these things contribute negative things into our society, and this jailing of people over drugs does not help. If the price goes up they just steal more, prostitute themselves more, they break into houses and cars more. If you made drugs legal, and you regulated it and controlled it, and kept an eye on it, you’d eliminate all these problems. You’d get rid of 90 per cent of the prostitution, home invasions and street crime; gangs would be starved for money; gun play would be down; cop corruption would be less.

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