Port Credit protesters urge Prince of Pot’s return to Canada

Britney Johnson, 25, and Matthew Oliver

Britney Johnston, 25, and Matthew Oliver, 32, march down Lakeshore to the offices of Missisauga South Conservative MP, Stella Ambler, to deliver a letter urging the Harper government to transfer Marc Emery to Canadian authorities.


Marc Emery supporters and marijuana legalization advocates marched in Port Credit on Sunday to protest the convicted man’s term in a U.S. prison.

The NDP-sponsored group, made up of about a dozen Emery supporters and members of the Mississauga South NDP riding association, marched from Port Credit Memorial Park to the riding office of Conservative MP Stella Ambler who represents Mississauga South. They delivered a letter urging the Harper government to complete Emery’s transfer from the U.S. to Canada to finish out his sentence here.

Emery is waiting for newly minted Public Safety Minister, Steven Blaney’s decision on his fate.

“I’m here with the NDP to bring Marc Emery back into Canada from the U.S. We need the minister to sign his paper work. The U.S. has already approved his transfer back to Canada, so we need to put a little bit of pressure to get the Conservative government to bring him home,” said Britney Johnston, who worked with Emery at Cannabis Culture Magazine before his incarceration.

The U.S. Department of Justice approved his transfer and sent the decision to the Canadian Federal Public Safety Department for approval in July. However, Emery still sits in a medium security prison in Yazoo City, Mississippi.

Emery, 55, a Canadian citizen known as Canada’s “Prince of Pot”, has been jailed in the U.S. since his controversial extradition in May of 2010. He admitted to operating a mail-order marijuana seed business that sold and shipped seeds in Canada and across the border in the U.S.

He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana in a Seattle courtroom, and as part of an agreement with the prosecution, was sentenced to five years in a U.S. prison.

“Marc’s in jail and he shouldn’t be. It’s wrong that the Canadian government let the Americans come in and take him in the first place. He shouldn’t be going to jail for selling seeds. He‘s never been there and sold a seed in his life. It’s appalling that he has to serve a five-year sentence there,” said Matthew Oliver, an Emery supporter who took part in the rally.

Emery has claimed that a majority of the profits made from the Vancouver-based seed selling business that led to his conviction were donated to marijuana policy reform initiatives.


Erin Godwin, 27, stands in front of the Lakeshore offices of Mississauga South Conservative MP, Stella Ambler, during the Free Marc Emery march in Port Credit on Sunday.

A co-founder of the Freedom Party of Ontario, Emery has been active in his advocacy of a wide range of social and political reforms for decades.

In the mid 1980s he defied a law forcing businesses to close on Sundays by keeping his London bookstore open for eight Sundays in a row. He would eventually spend four days in jail after being convicted and refusing to pay the fines. His protest and subsequent prosecution garnered a lot of media attention and helped gain public support to eventually help change the law.

In 1991, he was also convicted of selling two CD’s that were banned in Ontario after being deemed obscene by the provincial government.

According to Johnston, who has been in regular contact with him while in prison, Emery has been in relatively good spirits while awaiting Blaney’s decision on whether to allow him to finish out his sentence in his home country.

“He’s the most positive person I’ve ever met in my life. Obviously he’s in prison, so you have your good days and your bad, but he talks to people, they get to watch TV, he goes for walks around the baseball diamond, lots of stuff. So he’s keeping pretty positive,” she said.

While speaking to the Sheridan Sun, march organizer and Mississauga South NDP social media executive, Mélanie Sindrey said that the idea for the rally was born out of a larger discussion about medical marijuana and decriminalization, both of which she said, would factor into the NDP platform in the riding’s next election.

Emery is scheduled for release on July 9, 2014.