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B.C. pot activist says 60 Minutes segment will allow his real self to be seen March 2, 2006 - canoe.ca
VANCOUVER (CP) - Pot crusader Marc Emery says his appearance on the news program 60 Minutes on Sunday will be an opportunity for Americans to see him as just an ordinary guy who regards himself as the Luke Skywalker against their government's Darth Vader tactics.
Most people would be amused that the U.S. Drug Administration is trying to extradite him to face drug charges, Emery said. Americans weren't forced to buy his marijuana seeds, he said.
"I think Americans are going to say that if this is the No. 1 drug trafficking kingpin, then I want to move to Canada," he said, adding he's fighting an evil empire similar to one in the movie Star Wars.
"I enjoy that comic-book premise of my actions, that it's this little tiny person trying to bring justice and dignity to a whole culture in the face of a big, monolithic, Nazified institution like the DEA."
Bob Simon, the reporter who interviewed Emery in Vancouver for the 60 Minutes piece, said the program decided to air the segment on Emery because his case shows the enormous cultural divide between Canada and the U.S. when it comes to smoking pot.
"Vancouver has a very permissive culture as far as smoking of marijuana is concerned," Simon said from New York.
"You do not walk down the street in most American cities smoking a joint, whereas in Vancouver you can do it and you will not be punished for it," he said.
"We're not talking about the difference between the United States and Laos. We're talking about the United States and Canada, our proverbial friendly neighbours to the north and all that.
Simon said Emery has been punished only lightly in Canada, yet if he's extradited to the United States, "he's going to face really hard time."
What shocked Simon the most was the pervasiveness of marijuana grow-ops that offer huge profits for little to no risk. The reporter joined police for two days as they busted several suburban homes in the Vancouver area.
"I'd never seen anything like it," he said. "When you break into it, which the police did, it's just nothing but a marijuana farm. The science that goes into it and the extent of the plantation, that was shocking."
Emery, 48, will be facing an extradition hearing later this year.
Besides being accused of selling pot seeds to Americans through the mail, the longtime pot activist is charged with conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and conspiracy to engage in money laundering.
Emery, along with his co-accused Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek and Greg Keith Williams, was arrested last July after police raided Emery's pot paraphernalia store following an 18-month investigation by the DEA.
Emery said he sold $15 million in marijuana seeds around the world between 1994 and 2005.
A chunk of the profits, he said, have gone to help pot activists in other countries and several U.S. states, including Alaska, Arizona, Nevada and Alabama, where the U.S. Marijuana party is based.
Emery, who heads the B.C. Marijuana party and is the founder of Cannabis Culture magazine and Internet-based Pot-TV, has been arrested 21 times in Canada.
He was mostly fined but in 2004 spent 62 days in a Saskatoon jail for trafficking after passing a joint.
Cpl. Scott Rintoul, of the RCMP's drug squad, said he wouldn't want Americans to think Vancouver is some kind of drug haven, although he understands why someone would get that impression.
"I think that we, law enforcement, have been too tolerant of the marijuana industry and perhaps should have acted sooner," Rintoul said.
"When the marijuana thing sort of hit in the '80s and the grows continued, we were a bit naive and perhaps didn't do our job right then to educate the public, educate the courts, educate ourselves to the hazards."
Much of the marijuana flowing out of Canada is traded for cocaine in the U.S., which has also caused massive problems for law enforcement, he said.
Marc Emery embarks on a possible farewell tour across Canada March 18, 2006 - montrealmirror.com
Vancouver-based marijuana advocate Marc Emery was busted by the RCMP in July of 2005, as the result of an extensive investigation conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Now, the self-proclaimed ?Prince of Pot? is still facing extradition to the United States for selling millions of marijuana seeds across the border from his Vancouver-based business. If convicted in the States of all charges, he may spend the rest of his life in jail.
In the meantime, the leader of the B.C. Marijuana Party and editor of Cannabis Culture magazine is out on bail, touring Canadian university campuses in an attempt to draw support for the pro-marijuana movement and talk about his own legal battles. He is paying a visit to Montreal next week, speaking at McGill and Concordia University. Emery spoke to the Mirror from his Cannabis Culture office in Vancouver about legal fights, drug busts and Canadian Republicans.
Mirror: What exactly are you going to be speaking about when you visit the campuses?
Marc Emery: Well, it will be called my ?farewell tour,? because many Canadians may never see me again. If I get extradited to the United States for 35, 40 years, or life without parole?as would seem likely?then they should hear what I have to say before I get taken away or surrendered by my own country to the Nazified, corrupt, rogue government of the United States.
M: What do you think about the Harper government?s stance against decriminalization?
ME: I think they?d like to arrest more people. The Conservatives are like Darth Vader and the Evil Empire. They hate us. They want to put us all in jail. Vic Toews, the new Justice Minister, wants mandatory jail sentences for anyone who sells pot or grows pot. It would immediately add thousands and thousands of people to jails. [The Conservatives] are determined to exterminate the cannabis culture in a way that is far more extreme than the Liberals wanted, and the Liberals were pretty bad. Arrests are at an all-time high in the United States and Canada, despite all the talk about it being ?legal? or ?semi-legal? or ?tolerated.?
Republicans in Canada!
M: What is the strongest motivation in your fight for legalization?
ME: There are at least a quarter-of-a-million people in jails across the world for cannabis, and that is the most outrageous human rights violation in the whole world. You?ve got millions and millions of people running, hiding, being jailed, arrested, charged, humiliated, strip-searched and beaten up by police?all for a peaceful and honest lifestyle choice. It?s like rounding up a quarter-of-a-million vegetarians, Christians, Muslims or homosexuals. It is simply absurd that anyone should go to jail for marijuana, but in the year of 2006 we are going to see more people arrested than ever before.
M: What makes you think that?
ME: It?s the new government. You can see it on the horizon. There are more raids, more hostile talks against us and there?s more collaboration with the U.S. government. The Conservatives are Republican stock at heart. People in Alberta are not really good Canadians in my opinion. Most Albertans are Republicans who would love to join the United States and be free of the rest of Canada. It shows by the people they vote for. If Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney and that guild can get 60 or 70 per cent of the vote in Alberta, those aren?t loyal Canadians in my opinion. Those are Republican Americans helping in the takeover of this country.
M: What was your reaction to the Heaven?s Stairway bust in Montreal, where over 200,000 seeds were confiscated from a seed-retailing business?
ME: Those guys weren?t doing anything wrong. These people were made to sound like criminals by the police department, but they had been operating legitimately like I had for years and years?registered as an official business, paying taxes and what have you. It?s just a part of the crackdown that?s going on across the country. The police are now emboldened by the election of the Conservatives. For them, it?s open season on pot.
M: What are some legal strategies that would encourage the decriminalization of marijuana?
ME: Join the NDP. Join any political party and start influencing their position on prohibition. That?s the only strategy. Young people typically stay away from politics and that?s a big mistake because young people are more commonly victimized by the drug war. Every young person who smokes marijuana or appreciates freedom or civil liberties or believes in a free society should join a political party to keep those political parties in tune with our point of view on prohibition.
Emery will speak at McGill on March 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the Stephen Leacock Building (805 Sherbrooke W.) Room 123 and at Concordia on March 24 in the Henry F. Hall Building (1455 de Maisonneuve W.) Room 110 at 4:20 p.m.