‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery Faces Possible Life in Prison

By Jason Sander – Apr 3, 2017

prince-of-pot-marc-emery-faces-possible-life-in-prison

AP

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.

CONTINUE READING…

Advertisements

South African Court OKs Marijuana for Home Use

FILE - A protester carries a marijuana pipe during a march calling for the legalization of cannabis in Cape Town, South Africa, May 7, 2016. On Friday, Western Cape province's High Court ruled that marijuana can now be legally grown and smoked in the privacy of one's home.

JOHANNESBURG — 

Last week’s court ruling allowing home use of marijuana has sent South Africa buzzing about the possibility that cannabis will now be widely legal in the Rainbow Nation.

To which pro-marijuana activist Julian Stobbs says: Chill.

Friday’s ruling from the Western Cape province High Court does apply across the nation, but the decision is really more about privacy than it is about pot.

The ruling struck down part of an old law that prohibits private and personal use of marijuana. The ruling still has to be solidified by parliament and pass through the constitutional court, which could take up to two years.

South Africa first criminalized the substance in 1908. Police statistics say that drug-related arrests have recently risen, with just under 260,000 people arrested last year, according to the most recent annual crime report. That’s just over 13 percent of all arrests.

Stobbs and his partner, who he says use marijuana recreationally and regularly, made headlines in 2010 after police raided their home and arrested them for marijuana possession. They were later released.

No victim, no crime

Under the ruling, Stobbs says, cases like his won’t be part of that toll anymore.

So, if you are using cannabis in the privacy of your own home, or indeed if you have grown cannabis in the privacy of your home and it’s never left the building, you now have a loophole in the law that if you do get arrested and you do go in front of a magistrate, you can use the defense that you are hurting nobody, there was no victim, there was no crime, there’s no black market, there are no transactions, no one is making money out of this, you are using the cannabis you grew in the privacy of your own home,” he told VOA.

As it stands, then, this ruling is only helpful if you’re an above-average horticulturalist with no plan to make a dime off the substance. Buying and selling marijuana is still illegal, as is smoking it in public.

Few anti-marijuana activists made their voices heard to protest the move. One online group, called “South Africans Against Dagga and Satan” — “dagga” is the local slang for cannabis — said on social media that the day of the ruling would “Forever be known as the day Satan took over South Africa!” They were shouted down on their Facebook page by supporters of the ruling.

‘Religious’ use

Users of the drug for religious purposes say they welcome the news. In the seaside Rastafarian community of Judah Square, a well-known tour guide and storyteller who goes by Brother Zebulon told VOA that while he is very happy about the ruling, he doesn’t support the widespread use of marijuana.

“My daughter,” he said to VOA, “it’s sacred, so it’s secret, so we really don’t advocate it. Yeah, no, no, no, no, we don’t advocate it, no. It’s a personal … you know, it’s your meditation.”

In February, South Africa’s government approved a bill that would allow for the limited manufacturing of medical marijuana.

Stobbs says he hopes these are just first steps in the eventual regulation and decriminalization of marijuana, like in the U.S. state of Colorado. Marijuana is now legal in 28 U.S. states for either medical or recreational use.

“That’s exactly what we see,” he said. “And we see billions of rand going back into the treasury in taxation on the plant.”

“Because we’re not asking for legalization; we’re asking for the legalization and regulation of the plant. This doesn’t come with a free-for-all. It is a free-for-all now — we’re trying to stop the free-for-all. It’s legalized regulation that we’re after.”

But Stobbs, who is 56, told VOA that he took a moment to pause and celebrate the court ruling.

“We had a pretty smoked-up weekend,” he said.

CONTINUE READING…