Monday, June 04, 2007

Help Marc Emery!

I met Marc Emery at least twenty years ago, when he was still living in London, Ontario and operating the City Lights book store. We had the libertarian political philosophy in common, and I admired his drive and energy. I was also amused by his frenetic style, something quite unlike my own staid demeanour. Around that time, or perhaps a bit later, Marc became involved with the marijuana movement and quickly became a spokesman and activist for anything marijuana.

I lost track of Marc when he moved away from London. He escalated his activism and eventually set up shop in Vancouver and sold mail order marijuana seeds via the Internet. On July 29, 2005, Marc was arrested while on holiday in Halifax. Although Mark had suffered several Canadian arrests and even served a brief jail sentence or two, Canadian authorities had never paid all that much attention to him and his activities, certainly not recently. He appears to have been arrested mostly at the behest of the American DEA. There was to have been an extradition hearing this past May, but that has now been postponed until November of 2007, I believe.

If Marc Emery is extradited to the United States, he is basically screwed. And if Canadian authorities cave in to American pressure and allow his extradition, it pretty much tells us that we, as Canadians are screwed too. Will the notion of Canadian sovereignty then become even more of a joke? Emery sold marijuana seeds to people who wanted them, something that falls well within the libertarian definition of a 'victimless crime.' He hasn't hurt anyone. He hasn't swindled anyone. Most of the money he earned from the seed sales was channeled to various marijuana activists and groups. The fact that anyone is paying any attention at all to Marc and others like him is testimony to the fact that our priorities, and specifically the war on drugs in the United States, is seriously out of touch with reality. This sort of nonsense has to stop.

I want to be clear here: I personally don't use marijuana or any other street drug. I rarely even have an alcoholic drink. I think that people who use any sort of mind altering drug should instead stay lucid and enjoy and appreciate the beauty (mostly) of the world around them. But, and this distinction is critical, it is none of my business if someone else smokes dope. None. Nor is it any business of anyone else, and most particularly not of the United States government or its agencies. Driving drugs underground has had the deplorable result of turning millions of U.S. citizens into criminals. I have seen it reported that although the United States has only 5% of the world's population, it has 25% of its prisoners. If that statistic is true, it is truly scary.

I don't want to live Marc Emery's lifestyle. But I don't think that he should suffer a minimum sentence of ten years in a U.S. prison, or even as much as life imprisonment without parole. We cannot depend on the United States government or the DEA to behave rationally. The only way to save Marc is if the Canadian authorities develop a backbone and disallow extradition.

What can we do? Read this. Or this. Send his lawyer some money. Tell others. And tell politicians everywhere to concentrate on arresting real criminals and leave people like Marc alone.



  1. Agreed. And I hate the idea that the DEA is pressuring another country to conform to its own objectives.

  2. Legislating morality and attempting to bend others to your own particular version of Nirvana never works. Prohibition didn't work with alcohol in the 1920's and it isn't now working with drugs.

    I believe strongly in the rule of law and in high standards of behaviour. The best way to ensure obedience to good laws is to stop passing bad laws. Once the populace has lost all respect for the government and its legislators and enforcers (like now) things can only get worse. And they will.

  3. Well, in addition, it would help if the US would mind its own business. Disturbing that it has such influence all over. Somehow I'm guessing Canada wouldn't do so much of this on its own.

  4. This is not a windmill I tilt at often, but it seems to me ironic to the point of gross hypocrisy that the same people "fighting a war on drugs" are pumping grade-school kids full of "legal" toxic substances to "treat" (notice, I didn't say CURE) a largely manufactured "attention-defecit disorder".
    Every 5 minutes, these bureaucrats manufacture another "mental disorder" to poison kids for, in the name of "treatment". We had a CURE for "attention-defecit disorder" when I was a kid: Mom spoke once, and if you didn't respond with action, you got your ass beat! When someone else is paying the bills and putting a roof over your head and feeding you, that's how it should be.
    Most of the effeminate-voiced, mulleted, Coke-bottle-glassed perverts in the psycho-atric "profession" (which is largely on welfare, BTW) would redicule that no end, but it worked!
    That's probably why!!!

  5. True, Chani: However, Canadians (especially some of our windbag politicians) sometimes take on this really smarmy, self-righteous, superior and quite hypocritical attitude when it comes to the United States.

    Politicians are a breed unto themselves.

    Galt: I'm with you on the whole ADD thing, and the way the kids are doped up. Discipline is one part of the problem and often, according to research I have read, so is diet. In Great Britain tests were done where a change of diet solved most or all of the problems exhibited by troubled and inattentive youth. Get rid of the sugars, the processed foods, etc., and that is already a good start.

  6. what Chani said. the arrogance of it, alone.