Cannabis Activist Marc Emery Sentenced 5 Years

Canadian Cannabis Activist Marc Emery has been sentenced to 5-years in prison by a U.S. Federal Court in Seattle.

U.S. Federal Court Judge Ricardo Martinez also recommended that Emery be transfered back to Canada to complete his sentence, minus time served.

During sentencing, Emery offered the following statement to Judge Martinez:

“My great life’s goal for 20 years now, your Honour, has been a burning passion to end what I consider a terrible injustic that has seen over 10 million U.S. citizens and 1.5 million Canadian citizens brutally and unjustly punished under the marijuana prohibition laws of our two countries. As a Canadian who did all my activity in Canada and used over $4 million in proceeds directed to peaceful, legal and democtartic activities in both our countries, I felt almost any honest, transparent and peaceful activity towards repealing these prohibition laws was legitimate.

Emery was quoted in news reports as swearing never to advocate for civil disobedience again.

“My zealous pursuit of what may be an honourable goal of repeal of a bad law blinded me from recognizing that my example of flouting the law is a bad example to set for others. I promise to never advocate civil disobedience, or condone civil disobedience, or ever flout Canadian or U.S. laws ever again.”

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration became interested in Emery as a result of his mail-order Cannabis business, wherein he admitted to shipping millions of Marijuana seeds to U.S. customers. Acting on a request of the DEA, Canadian police arrested him on July 29, 2005.

Jody Emery, Marc’s wife and business partner, said that Marc was a good citizen of Canada. “He paid income tax to Revenue Canada on all seed sales,” she wrote in a comment posted on HND. “He sold seeds for over a decade in Canada… he never left Canada or set foot in the United States…  the DEA admitted they went after him for leading and funding the marijuana legalization movement.”

“It’s very clear by the ongoing  activity of seed-selling by many other American, Canadians and people around the world,” Jody Emery told KIRO in Seattle, “that Marc was targeted for his political activities.”

The idea that Emery is the victim of political discrimination is not new. A statement made by DEA Administrator Karen Tandy on the day of his arrest in 2005 shows a special interest in Emery’s political activism:

Today’s DEA arrest of Marc Scott Emery, 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 U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement. (emphasis added)

His marijuana trade and propagandist marijuana magazine have generated nearly $5 million a year in profits that bolstered his trafficking efforts, but those have gone up in smoke today.

Emery and his organization had been designated as one of the Attorney General’s most wanted international drug trafficking organizational targets — one of only 46 in the world and the only one from Canada.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery’s illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on. (emphasis added)

Emery’s lawyer, Richard Troberman, argued that the case was prosecuted selectively and for political motivations: “The only thing that makes Mr. Emery unique or different from most of these other seed sellers,” Troberman wrote in a statement for the Court, “is that Marc donated his proceeds to help fund lawful marijuana legalization efforts throughout the United States and Canada. On this record, no one can (or should) take the government seriously when it claims that this case was not politically motivated.”

Emery’s sentencing comes exactly one week after the publication of a Seattle Times opinion piece written by the former US prosecutor in Emery’s case, John McKay, who called for an end to Marijuana Prohibition:

As Emery’s prosecutor and a former federal law-enforcement official¦ I’m not afraid to say out loud what most of my former colleagues know is true: Our marijuana policy is dangerous and wrong and should be changed through the legislative process to better protect the public safety.

“Informed adult choice,” McKay continued, “may well be preferable to the legal and policy meltdown we have long been suffering over marijuana.