Marijuana crusader presented with Calgary's distinguished white hat
Sunday, September 16, 2007
CALGARY - Canada's "Prince of Pot" has joined the ranks of singer Dolly Parton, Prince Philip and Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean.
Arriving at the Calgary airport for a two-day visit Saturday, Canada's best-known marijuana activist, Marc Emery, was white-hatted by the Calgary Airport's official White Hat Volunteers.
"I'm the Prince of Pot," he said. "That's a royalty, a monarchy of sorts, so I guess it fits."
Saturday's warm welcome, arranged by Emery's supporters, comes in stark contrast to his visit to Calgary in 2003 when Emery was arrested for marijuana possession.
"It's nice to feel wanted, especially given last time," he said.
Emery is in Calgary to show his support for medical marijuana crusader Grant Krieger, raise awareness of his extradition proceedings and raise money for looming court battles.
Emery has been arrested 22 times on marijuana-related offences and jailed 17 times. He now faces a U.S. extradition hearing on Nov. 5. for selling thousands of marijuana seeds to Americans through his Internet business.
About 40 people gathered to hear Emery speak at a rally outside Calgary City Hall Saturday.
"We are hunted down like dogs, like animals," he said.
"Why should someone like Grant Krieger who wants to see sick and dying people get marijuana go to jail?"
Krieger, who has multiple sclerosis, is on bail after he was convicted of drug trafficking in March. The Calgary man had sent two packages of marijuana to people with similar afflictions in Manitoba.
Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier, who often gives out white hats to distinguished visitors, said anyone could be white-hatted by any Calgarian if they go out and buy the hat.
"Just because white hats are available for sale, it doesn't mean everyone should get one," he said.
Meanwhile, chairman of the board of directors of Calgary Tourism, Lorn Sheehan, said Calgary should show hospitality to a broad range of people.
"If you white-hat absolutely terrible people, it could devalue (the practice)," he said. "But if this man is walking the streets, he can't be that terrible."