Cannabis seed distributor Marc Emery was greeted by friends and fans in Toronto yesterday after four years locked up in the States. Emery is an articulate proponent of cannabis reform and counter-cultural entrepreneur extraordinaire.
Emery was a well known thorn in the side of the London Ontario political establishment, he ran a bookshop called City Lights named after the quintessential San Fransico beat store. He railed against Sunday closing, censorship and found himself in battles with local feminist anti-porn activists. In 1991, he was convicted for selling a 2 Live Crew CD which had been deemed obscene in Ontario. Dipping in and out of politics, he was involved in the social democratic New Democratic Party and eventually veered over to be a libertarian follower of Ayn Rand.
Emery moved to Vancouver and opened a shop on Hastings Street – turning it into a mecca for marijuana culture. He ran a media empire including Cannabis Culture magazine and a low budget online TV station. Mail order marijuana seeds were eventually what got him in the shits.
In one of the documentaries above he says:
“I’ve always promised people, when you send me the money you get the seeds, we pay our suppliers and whatever is left over we use to subvert the political system.”
He estimated his seed selling brought in a gross of over 15 million dollars in just over a decade. At the time of his arrest DEA administrator Karen P. Tandy issued a statement highlighting the political nature of the arrest:
“Today’s DEA arrest of Marc Scott, publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, and the founder of a marijuana legalization group – is a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the US and Canada but also to the marijuana legalization movement.”
He steps into a new day for cannabis culture. Emery was sentenced in Seattle, ironically a November 2012 general ballot saw Washington legalize small amounts of dope for adults over 21 with the taxation raised through sales pegged for healthcare and substance abuse programmes.
There are also signs that cannabis reform is moving into the mainstream of Canadian politics too. Justin Trudeu the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada has discussed the potential legalization of cannabis in Canada while partner Jodie Emery is seeking to run for the Liberals in Vancouver East.
Marc Emery will be speaking in Trinity College alongside Dr. Joao Goulao. Goulo was part of the Portuguese committee that advised the decriminalization of personal possession 1999.