Advertising

The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds | seattletimes.com

Local News


Our network sites seattletimes.com | Advanced

Originally published Friday, September 10, 2010 at 8:38 PM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Canada's 'Prince of Pot' sentenced to five years for selling millions of cannabis seeds

Marc Emery, Canada's "Prince of Pot" and a powerful voice in the debate over the decriminalization of marijuana, was sent to federal prison for five years on Friday for selling millions of cannabis seeds by mail and phone order, the culmination of a five-year prosecution and plea agreement that saw Emery extradited from Vancouver.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Marc Emery, Canada's "Prince of Pot" and a powerful voice in the debate over the decriminalization of marijuana, was sent to federal prison for five years on Friday for selling millions of cannabis seeds by mail and phone order, the culmination of a five-year prosecution and plea agreement that saw Emery extradited from Vancouver.

In a statement to U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez and in a letter to the court, Emery admitted his attempt to force a change in U.S. and Canadian drug laws through "civil disobedience" and flouting the laws was "overzealous and reckless."

"I acted arrogantly in violation of U.S. federal law," he wrote. "I regret not choosing other methods — legal ones — to achieve my goals of peaceful political reform.

"In my zeal, I had believed that my actions were wholesome, but my behavior was in fact illegal and set a bad example for others," he said.

The five-year prison sentence was no surprise. Emery and the government had agreed to it as part of a deal that saw Emery surrender to U.S. authorities in May after fighting extradition from Canada for four years.

Two clerks who worked for him at his seed store in Canada had pleaded guilty earlier and received probation.

Emery was indicted in 2005, and at the time, the then-director of Drug Enforcement Administration, Karen Tandy, called Emery's 2005 arrest a "significant blow" to drug trafficking and the "marijuana-legalization movement."

"Drug-legalization lobbyists have one less pot of money to rely on," Tandy said at the time.

Emery and his attorney, Richard Troberman, said Friday that statement proves his prosecution was politically motivated, and for federal prosecutors to claim otherwise is "absurdly naive."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg disputed the claim and said Emery is using it as a diversion from the facts: Until he was arrested, Emery was the single largest supplier of marijuana seeds — and therefore marijuana — in the U.S. for a decade.

He sold to anybody, Greenberg said, regardless of age or criminal history.

"The only person who inserted Mr. Emery's politics into this case is Mr. Emery himself," Greenberg said.

advertising

Tandy's 2005 statement, he said, "does not speak for this U.S. Attorney's Office."

"This case remains about Mr. Emery's long-term and repeated violations of U.S. drug laws," Greenberg said.

Emery's seeds have been traced to marijuana-grow operations throughout the U.S. and Canada, and Emery's business "added fuel to the fire" of drug violence, the prosecutor said.

Troberman argued it is oppressive drug laws that are responsible for the violence that permeates the drug trade.

Martinez said his courtroom was not the place to debate the legalization of pot.

He told Emery his actions "ensured that many other people also broke the law."

The judge said he had received hundreds of letters — including one in crayon — supporting Emery.

Emery made millions through his mail-order seed company and publication of his magazine, "Cannabis Culture," and he plowed much of it into the "anti-prohibition" movements in the U.S. and Canada.

He has helped fund medical-marijuana initiatives in several states, including California and Washington.

A small group of supporters, including Emery's wife, Jodie, a Canadian politician and lobbyist, sat quietly through the proceedings, and other supporters gathered outside the U.S. District Courthouse in Seattle carrying "Free Marc Emery" signs.

Martinez, at Emery's request, put in a recommendation to the Bureau of Prison and the State Department that Emery be allowed to serve his term in Canada.

Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or mcarter@seattletimes.com

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

More Local News

UPDATE - 09:46 AM
Exxon Mobil wins ruling in Alaska oil spill case

NEW - 7:51 AM
Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife

Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife

Longview mill spills bleach into Columbia River

NEW - 8:00 AM
More extensive TSA searches in Sea-Tac Airport rattle some travelers

More Local News headlines...

Comments
No comments have been posted to this article.


Get home delivery today!

Video

Advertising

Marketplace

Advertising