Marijuana activist Marc Emery will be extradited to the US sometime this week to serve up to five years in Uncle Sam's Greybar Hotel. Emery pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana in the US.
The debate isn't whether Emery sold marijuana seeds to Americans nor whether that is a criminal offence in the oh so United States of America. The issue is whether a five year tariff is remotely fair? Even the BC Court of Appeal thought a couple of months slammed up followed by a year of probation would be appropriate but that wasn't the issue before them.
I don't have a lot of sympathy for Emery. He did appear to enjoy his passing notoriety and made a bit of a martyr out of himself and, quite possibly, a good bit of money in the process (but I confess I don't know).
What is beyond question is this - Emery's martyrdom would be neutralized if only the government (both in fact) would decriminalize pot and market it in a manner similar to the way they reap the rewards of booze sales.
Now I'm a beer guy myself although I do enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. That said, in my immediate region, pot growing may be what passes for agriculture. It's pretty much just rocks and Christmas trees here, rocks and Christmas trees and pot. That said, I think it's harmless enough that it deserves to be treated like our other pet intoxicants.
My best buddy of some 40-years now is a freshly retired Detroit cop and Vietnam marine. For the sake of this item I'll only refer to Bob as "Bob." Many years ago Bob, as I'll call him, told me that he was all for the decriminalization of pot. He explained that he'd been to too many domestic violence scenes where the evidence comprised a corpse, a still warm gun, and a nearly empty bottle of bourbon on the kitchen table. Yet he'd never attended a murder that featured a corpse, a still warm gun and a stoner sprawled on the sofa. There was pot violence, make no mistake about that, plenty of it. But the pot violence came from the criminal element that enjoyed the exclusive market to traffic in the highly lucrative, illegal product. Kill two birds with one stone, Bob argued, stop banging up kids for a relatively harmless intoxicant while simultaneously cutting out the powerful criminal element that was profiting from it.
If people like the Lord of Flies could truly stop the pot trade by retaining the criminal sanction I'd say okay. But he can't, and he knows it. Does he, or anyone remotely sentient, believe that mandatory sentencing is going to reverse that, is going to put a meaningful dent in the pot trade? That has to be the sine qua non. You have to have some weird shit going on in your cortex to buy that and, if you do, your problem is far worse than pot.
Unfortunately, Marc Emery's martyrdom is a diversion to the debate we need to be having on this issue. I guess that's why this guy gets under my skin.