By Alfa · Oct 20, 2004 ·
  1. Alfa

    Released on Monday after 61 days behind bars, marijuana activist and
    entrepreneur Marc Emery knelt in the Saskatoon snow and kissed the
    cannabis-leaf flag his supporters have flown across the street from
    the courthouse since Day 1 of his sentence.

    He then launched into a contemptuous diatribe against Saskatchewan's
    "intolerable" attitude and promised to try changing it from the
    inside. He plans to establish a chapter of the Marijuana party within
    three months and offer a full slate of candidates in the next
    provincial election.

    Emery, the self-proclaimed "Prince of Pot," was released from the
    Saskatoon Correctional Centre at 8 a.m. after serving two-thirds of
    his sentence, as required by law. He stood in driving winds and snow
    to thank about 20 people who gathered to welcome him back to freedom.

    "I was joking with some people (prior) to jail, saying that going to
    jail in Saskatoon was like being sent to Siberia. Now I get out and it
    is exactly like Siberia," Emery said, then commenting about his
    perception of the province.

    "This is a rough place to start out. It's one of the most inhospitable
    places on Earth, over time, to try and form a modern day society. It's
    a place where droughts hit every five or 10 years, the weather and
    landscape are formidable and there is tensions between whites and Natives.

    "If you had to choose somewhere in Canada to live, you'd really need a
    good reason to live in Saskatchewan."

    "And they (lawmakers) aren't creating one," Emery said. "There is no
    beacon of tolerance and enlightenment that makes you overlook
    everything else."

    Emery praised supporters who maintained a vigil across the street from
    the provincial courthouse where he was sentenced Aug. 19 to three
    months in jail after pleading guilty to passing a joint at a pot rally
    in Kiwanis Park in March.

    "The people here are tough. You wouldn't get that in Vancouver, they're too
    soft," he said. And he said that's what's hopeful about Saskatchewan: there
    is a spirit to adapt and overcome as proven by those who settled here and
    those who still live here.

    He made reference to Saskatoon's prohibition past as a temperance
    colony, suggesting the new Marijuana par
    ty will deal with those attitudes.

    Marijuana smokers are people who simply want to pursue "a peaceful and
    honest living of their lifestyle," he said. "When you send somebody
    like me to jail for three months -- someone with children, who's a
    good citizen and believes in the responsibilities and obligations of
    citizenship -- for passing a joint, it's telling everybody to stay
    well away from here because this is not a progressive community where
    their children will grow up in a tolerant environment. This is a
    backwards place."

    "Welcome to Alabama North," supporters shouted, then aped the twangs
    of banjos.

    Emery went over to the flag, which resembles the Canadian banner but
    with a cannabis leaf rather than a maple leaf, then kissed and hugged

    "This flag is the best of both worlds. It represents Canada and
    cannabis Canadians," he said.

    "I still think Canada offers the greatest hope for the reform of
    marijuana laws and that we can demonstrate an example for the rest of
    the world."

    Emery is the leader of the B.C. Marijuana party, owns a marijuana seed
    store and Internet business in Vancouver and also operates the Iboga
    Therapy House, which offers a treatment of chemical dependence using
    an experimental psychoactive substance called Ibogaine, from the root
    of an African plant. He funds the $150,000 annual cost to run the
    facility and claims to pay $12,000 per month in personal income tax.

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