Saturday, 22 October 2005

Toking Diplomacy | Mother Jones

About Marc Emery, Canadian Citizen:
If you were the guy everyone called the prince of pot and the U.S. drug czar came to town rattling his saber, you’d probably have the sense to stay out of his way. At the very least, you wouldn’t go out of your way to antagonize him, let alone pay $500 for the privilege. But that’s exactly what Marc Emery did. Emery is a Canadian entrepreneur who presided over the world’s largest marijuana seed sales business. In November 2002, when John Walters came to Vancouver, Emery bought a table at a Board of Trade luncheon, invited nine friends along, and—after nearly tricking Walters into posing for a photo with him—mercilessly heckled the czar (whose speech warned the Canadians about the errors of their drug-tolerant ways) before heading outside to spark up a fatty.

In July, after 10 years of watching as Emery sent seeds across the border, webcast his antiprohibition rants from the HQ of the British Columbia Marijuana Party (“Overgrow the Government”) on Pot-TV, and mailed out Cannabis Culture, the bimonthly he edits, U.S. drug warriors finally struck back. Acting at their behest, the Canadian police busted Emery in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, where he was due to appear at Hemp Fest 2005, on a three-count indictment filed by the U.S. attorney’s office after an 18-month investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Emery, 47, and two associates were charged with conspiracy to produce and sell marijuana, as well as money laundering—crimes that could carry life sentences.

I first met Emery just after the drug-czar incident and his second run to be Vancouver’s mayor. Swaggering through “Vansterdam,” the neighborhood of cannabis caf├ęs and head shops that he helped establish, Emery seemed to have walked out of the pages of the Ayn Rand books he discovered when he was 21 (around the time he discovered pot) or the superhero comics he sold in his first business, started when he was 13. Both Howard Roark and Spider-Man, he told me then, “had this total obsession with doing the right thing. I really related to these misunderstood people who had so much power.”
Karen Tandy, head of the DEA.., ..proclaimed that it dealt a blow “not only to the marijuana trafficking trade…but also to the marijuana legalization movement,” whose lobbyists, she added, “now have one less pot of money to rely on.”

“She makes it clear that her objective was to cripple the movement,” says John Conroy, who leads Emery’s defense team and plans to use Tandy’s statement to fight his extradition.



In his own words:

Under Drug Kingpin legislation, selling over 60,000 seeds qualifies for the death penalty in the United States. The manufacture or distribution of 60,000 kilograms of marijuana, 60,000 plants or 60,000 seeds all are included in death penalty provisions of the medieval law passed by a Newt Gingrich congress. I would be the first person under this recent law who could qualify to be executed for the activity I have clearly done with the tacit approval of everyone in Canada.

Revenue Canada received $578,000 in personal income taxes (1999 to 2005) on income that was explicitly from the sale of marijuana seeds, and they ALWAYS were aware of it. It said “Marijuana Seed Vendor” on my tax returns. I explained my entire banking and money systems and always gave income tax all access to my accounts so they could verify everything I said was true. I told them the Money Mart location where I cashed money orders; my bank accounts were explained so they could track the flow of money. I explained how expenses and disbursements worked in the incriminating world of seeds. They knew how it all worked because I had nothing to hide. The government of Canada received about $378,000 of this money; the provincial government of British Columbia received about $200,000.

As to politicians, every Member of Parliament in Canada, all 305, had a free subscription to our magazine, which often their assistants read and perused if not the Member themselves, for eight years. My seed catalogue was in every issue. They knew it was there. None ever complained to me or the police about it. Former MP Svend Robinson has said that when he was NDP Health Critic and he asked Health Canada where medical cannabis people were supposed to obtain seeds, “Health Canada said to go to the internet and buy seeds there.” And that’s what he told them to do: buy seeds on the internet. In fact, that’s what Health Canada told others also in letters that we have from Health Canada in 2003.

(He's not only a Canadian, He's under an implied mandate to furnish seeds to Canadians.)

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