CALGARY — Calling his U.S. pot charges a “great injustice,” Canadian marijuana activist Marc Emery says he hopes his looming prison sentence below the border will stoke up support for the cannabis movement.
Emery, who gave up a four-year extradition battle on three drug charges, launched a farewell tour in Calgary Sunday. In September, he plans to plead guilty in a Seattle courtroom to one charge of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana.
The goodbyes are “bittersweet,” Emery said in an interview before taking part in several community events in Calgary Sunday.
Emery, known as the Prince of Pot, has been arrested 23 times in Canada and jailed 17 times in eight different provinces, he said.
The U.S. charges are the first time he’s faced time in a prison below the border, he said.
The drug charges stem from a joint U.S.-Canadian investigation into his Vancouver-based mail-order business. In 2005, he was busted for selling marijuana seeds to U.S. customers. Two of the charges — conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to engage in money laundering — will be dropped in exchange for the guilt plea.
Emery believes U.S. authorities will push for a six to eight year sentence, but is asking for maximum five years and a transfer to a Canadian prison.
The charges come as the marijuana movement has stalled on the Canadian political landscape. Major political parties have said they aren’t interested in any moves to legalize marijuana.
July 5, 2009