by Travis Fauteux
The Lance – News Editor
After serving nearly five years in a United States prison, a cannabis seed dealer has returned to the city of Windsor.
Marc Emery, nicknamed the “Prince of Pot” by CNN in 1997, arrived in Windsor this afternoon and spoke at Windsor City Hall Plaza to a large crowd of fellow marijuana enthusiasts. The press conference began at 4:20 pm, the universal numerical symbol for marijuana.
Emery served five years in multiple detention facilities in the United States for selling cannabis seeds to American clients from his company Cannabis Culture, which is based in Vancouver.
“I’ve very grateful to be home. Windsor is home. All of Canada is home,” said Emery.
Leo Lucier, a pro-marijuana Windsor resident, waited outside City Hall to celebrate Emery’s freedom.
“He’s a man who… spent years of his life behind bars for a right over something [that has] no evidence of damaging anobody or killing anybody,” said Lucier. “For something so harmless, you go to prison for a long time. Society has to change. The real killers are alcohol, tobacco, and firearms.”
This was not Emery’s first time in jail for crimes related to marijuana; Emery said he has been arrested 28 times and jailed 23 times for marijuana civil disobedience. However, incarceration does not seem to phase the activist who said it may not be the last time he visits a jail cell.
Emery earned 235 days of good conduct credit and was able to leave early, but he said that never being able to return to the U.S is a difficult realization that comes with his freedom.
According to a 2005 statement by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) administrator Karen P. Tandy, Emery was the only Canadian to be listed as one of the “Attorney General’s most wanted international drug trafficking organizational targets” at the time of his arrest.
Now that he is free, Emery is talking tough pot politics, accusing Prime Minister Stephen Harper of being a “despot, tyrant, and a bad man who wants to portray marijuana as a sin that requires harsh punishment.”
“We’ve been lied to by every political entity and institution of this democratic country,” said Emery. “We were promised by Pierre Elliott Trudeau in August 1970 that marijuana would be decriminalized … We have always heard promises for 45 years… We still have black market gangs that, to some degree, control the trade. We still have people paying way too much for marijuana.”
Emery made his own promise, saying that he and other activists would “bury this prohibition next year” when the federal election occurs.
Despite his mistrust of politicians, Emery spies some cannabis-craving hope in the new Trudeau, Pierre’s federal Liberal leader son Justin, who has announced his intentions to legalize the substance.
“You, I hope, will join me in getting every single Canadian you know and get out and vote next year,” Emery said to the crowd during his conference. “We are going to go all-in and put our faith in the Liberal party of Canada.”