Marc Emery “Prince of Pot” leaving US Prison
Marc Emery, ‘prince of pot,’ arrives in Windsor, Ont. B.C.-based marijuana activist will get ‘right back to work,’ says his wife, Jodie Emery
CBC News Posted: Aug 12, 2014 8:25 AM ET Last Updated: Aug 12, 2014 9:31 PM ET
Marc Emery speaks today after leaving U.S. prison 2:56
EXCLUSIVE Marc Emery speaks to CBC 3:33
Marc Emery, the self-proclaimed “prince of pot,” has arrived in Windsor, Ont., after his release from a U.S. prison.
Emery couldn’t have planned it better. He stepped onto Canadian soil right around 4:20 p.m. (420 is code for the use of marijuana). Speaking at Windsor’s City Hall Plaza, he thanked his supporters and took questions from reporters.
Emery was handed a five-year sentence in the U.S. for selling marijuana seeds to American clients from his Vancouver-based company, Cannabis Culture. After spending just over four years behind bars, he was released Tuesday and flown from a facility in Louisiana to Detroit, where he crossed the border to Windsor.
In a personal blog, Emery mentioned he is being released early after earning 235 days of good conduct credit.
He spoke about his plans to campaign for the legalization of marijuana through to the date of the next federal election.
“You know people diminish our impact as voters as cannabis culture, but cannabis culture, is about three to four million Canadians and we are potentially the largest voting block in Canada…So I think we are a marginalized, underrepresented and underestimated voting block, and we can really make a big difference,” said Emery.
He said he has a university tour booked in Canada starting in Jan. 2015 and will begin a 30-city Canadian tour on Sept.10, 2015 and continue until Oct. 17, the day before the next scheduled federal election.
Emery, who has vowed to seek political revenge against the Conservative government for its role in his extradition, plans several speaking engagements, including one in Toronto, before returning to his home on the West Coast on Sunday.
His wife, Jodie Emery, said his schedule is packed.
“Marc will be getting right back to work at our Cannabis Culture store,” she told CBC News.
“We’re also being sponsored to go speak in cities around the world about policy reforms.”
A lot has changed since Emery was arrested nearly a decade ago.
In Canada, many police forces are less concerned with marijuana offences than they once were, while in some U.S. states, the drug has been legalized and become big business.
Tangles with the law
Emery started selling pot seeds in 1994 with a goal of raising money to help activist groups, lobbyists and ballot initiatives.
He was first arrested in 2005 at his Vancouver shop by city police who were working with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
Emery struck a deal with U.S. prosecutors and pleaded guilty in 2009 to one charge of drug distribution in exchange for a five-year sentence.
He had hoped to serve part of that sentence in Canada, but was extradited to Seattle in May 2010, when he pleaded guilty to selling marijuana seeds from Canada to American customers.
Emery spent just over four years in detention in the U.S., part of it at the maximum-security SeaTac Federal Detention Centre. After his sentencing, he was held at various prisons including facilities in Missouri and Louisiana.
According to a blog Emery kept while in prison, his sentence ended on July 9. After his paperwork was completed, a flight was booked for him to Detroit.
“This is my last blog from the terminals of the US Bureau of Prisons,” wrote Emery in his post on June 30. “My sentence was for five years … I earned all 235 days of my eligible good conduct credit, so my sentence officially ends … Wednesday, July 9th.”
Emery plans ‘political revenge’ against Tories
Emery has been open about his political views in previous CBC News interviews, vowing to campaign against the Conservative government for its involvement in his extradition.
Marc Emery, the ‘prince of pot,’ may be a liability for the Liberals
How Marc Emery turned to marijuana activism
“My own government betrayed me and I’m going to wreak an appropriate amount of political revenge when I get home,” he told CBC earlier this year.
Emery believes he should have never been turned over to U.S. authorities and has criticized both Canadian and U.S. governments for delaying his return home.
Emery and his wife said their 30-city tour will include rallies against the Conservatives and efforts to gather support from Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who has taken a stand to legalize pot, and have the government regulate and tax it.
Jodie Emery has also said she will seek to be the Liberal candidate in the next federal election for the Vancouver East riding.
The Liberals have not made a comment about Emery’s return to Canada.
In a statement to CBC News last month, Liberal spokesman Dave Sommer said the party “does not endorse the Emerys’ plans in any way. They are not affiliated with the party and we haven’t had any hand in planning these events at all.”
The Conservatives, meanwhile, have suggested a connection between the Emerys and the Liberal Party.
On Tuesday, Steven Blaney, the federal minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, released an email statement addressing Emery’s return to Canada.
“Mr. Emery and his wife are strong supporters of Justin Trudeau’s ‘vision’ to legalize marijuana, in fact, Mrs. Emery plans to run for the Liberals as a pro-pot candidate in 2015,” said Blaney.
“While the Liberals would try to make it easier for our children to access marijuana, Canadians can count on our government to put forward policies that keep drugs off our streets and keep our families safe.”