Few names are more important to the fight for legalized marijuana than Marc Emery’s. As a long-time activist for looser drug policies in Canada, Emery has been fighting local policies with vigor for quite some time. Emery started out by publishing literature that discussed marijuana prohibition, effects, and legalization, and eventually moved into bold political confrontation. In 2002, he purchased a table at an event where a U.S. drug enforcement official was advocating for a “War on Drugs” style of policy for Canada. Emery spent his time at the event heckling the speaker and advocating for changes to the law.
Sometime later, after Canadian officials had failed to charge Emery with anything substantive, they notified the DEA that he had allegedly sold marijuana to United States citizens via a direct mail business that he owned. U.S. officials arrested Emery on a charge of conspiracy to manufacture the drug, and eventually won conviction and a prison sentence on United States soil. First amendment and extradition issues clouded the entire process, as did changing American attitudes on marijuana over the past 15 years or so.
Today, Marc Emery finds himself newly released from prison and once again free to participate in the fight for legalized cannabis in Canada, the United States, and beyond. His time might have finally arrived: There has been noise in Canada about decriminalization and legalization, while two of the 50 states below Canada’s southern border now permit recreational uses.
Read the full backstory here: A Call to End Marijuana Prohibition.