If there’s any living cannabis activist who has earned the term ‘The Prince of Pot’, it’s Marc Emery. He and his wife Jodie own the Cannabis Culture brand in Canada and have been doing their part to end marijuana prohibition for over twenty years. Because of his activism, Emery willingly made himself a target and has paid the price for doing so. Now, he could face possible life in prison.
Marc faces fifteen charges, including conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime, while Jodie Emery faces five similar counts. Officers stole more than 65 kilograms of cannabis and 2.4 kilograms of extract. Police also took $250,000 in cash in several currencies after raiding Cannabis Culture stores across Canada, as well as several homes.
The Emerys were granted bail in a Toronto courtroom in early March, with several harsh conditions – including being barred from going to any Cannabis Culture location or other dispensary, and from facilitating or participating in running any Cannabis Culture shop. There are a total of 19 dispensaries in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec using the Cannabis Culture brand.
“This is my 30th arrest,” Emery said, hearing cheers from his supporters that were gathered outside Old City Hall.
Despite all of his personal sacrifices, Emery seems optimistic about the future of cannabis legalization.
“I’ve been raided six times, and yet, over all these years, we’ve made progress,” he said, in reference to his decades-long mission to see cannabis legalized.
In typical prohibitionist fashion, Steve Watts of the Toronto Drug Squad alleged to the Toronto Star that the Cannabis Culture franchises must have been getting their weed inventory from “illegitimate sources often tied to organized crime,” due to the high volume of cannabis they sell.
This type of narrative is often used to draw an association with organized crime in the minds of people who don’t know any better. The reality is very different. Marc has always been open about his marijuana businesses. He always paid income taxes on his seed sales, showing “marijuana seed vendor” as his occupation on tax returns.
“We’ve been on the front lines of legalization advocacy for twenty-plus years,” Jodie Emery said. “Legalization is coming, and it’s because of people like us, and for us to face these incredibly unjust penalties and punishments is just wrong.”
After being arrested thirty times and already spending five years in the U.S. prison system, Marc now faces possible life in prison for his current charges. He could also be forced to forfeit all of his assets. Emery, like others who are locked up for possession, could be in prison when his dream of legalization finally comes to pass. The hypocrisy of the failed War on Drugs knows no bounds.