by Dana Larsen (13 Jul, 2003) Pot activist jailed for second time during his cross-country "Summer of Legalization" tour.
Cannabis Culture publisher Marc Emery's "Summer of Legalization" tour is turning into a "Summer of Busts," as Emery was imprisoned for the second time on Saturday, July 12, in Regina, Saskatchewan, for possession of marijuana.
Emery's cross-country tour was inspired by recent court decisions which have legalized possession of marijuana in Ontario. Judges in the provinces of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia have upheld the Ontario ruling as applying equally across all of Canada.
In early July, Emery announced that he would be travelling across Canada, stopping at 16 cities to openly smoke pot at rallies in front of their main police stations. His "Summer of Legalization" tour was aimed at promoting pot's new legal status by forcing the issue and standing down the police.
Emery had already held a rally in front of the Toronto police headquarters, and the police simply ignored the event and refused to even give comment to the media. Yet the nationwide tour did not have such an auspicious start.
At his first stop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on July 9, Emery was arrested and held overnight for possession of the half-gram he had in his treasured "Canucks Bong."
The next day, Emery had been scheduled to appear in Dauphin, Manitoba, but because of his jail time he missed his flight. Instead, Emery spoke to the Dauphin gathering of about 100 over the phone, with his words being amplified for the crowd.
Yet even without Emery's direct presence, Dauphin police felt obliged to make arrests - two of the rally participants were busted for possession.
The next rally was scheduled for Saturday, July 12, at the Regina police station. According to reports from those who attended the rally, Emery made a speech to the crowd, and then was arrested while taking a hit from a "Saskatchewan Roughriders" bong donated by the local Head to Head Novelties.
The bong was seized, and Emery was taken to jail where he had expected to remain for two nights, to go before a magistrate on Monday. Yet Emery was released late Saturday night, and planned to return to Vancouver on Sunday, July 13.
According to initial reports, two other people were also arrested by police. One arrest was for obstruction of justice, as a man layed his body in the path between the cops and Emery, and another arrest was made for possession.
"We must acknowledge that marijuana is already legal in Canada," Emery had told the crowd in a speech before his toke and arrest. "I am here to assert my rights as a Canadian, to be able to smoke and posess marijuana anywhere in Canada! I'm not breaking the law here. We're having a legal demonstration to celebrate the smoking of a legal plant, which has been legal since August 1, 2001, and we need the Attorney General of Saskatchewan to admit that this is the case!"
In a pamphlet he handed out at his events, Emery explained the legal basis of his claim that marijuana is legal across Canada. "It is my belief that since a Court of Appeal has struck down the cannabis possession law, and that at the time of the verdict of the Court of Appeal in July 2000 the government did not appeal the decision, but agreed to abide by the ruling, then in fact ... cannabis possession is not an offense known to law anywhere in Canada."
In an interview with David Malmo-Levine on Pot-TV, Winnipeg activist Chris Buors described the Regina protest and Emery's arrest. "It was a beautiful show from the citizens of Regina. There was 60, perhaps 70 people, they were cheering, they were responsive to Marc's message. Marc wowed the crowd for 20 minutes, then at 4:20 he lit up just like he promised he would, and the Regina city police came out and arrested him."
Buors also explained that police had told Marc that if he continued his tour they would arrest him everywhere he went. "They threatened to extradite him from Regina," added Buors, indicating that Emery could have been returned to Winnipeg and jailed for breaching the Winnipeg judge's order that he not continue his tour or further challenge the marijuana possession laws. The Winnipeg judge had told Emery that continued protests could result in his being imprisoned until his September trial date for the possession charge.
"Marc is a remarkable individual," concluded Buors. "I've never seen anybody with more heart for the cause than Marc in my life."
Marc Emery plans to continue his cross-country tour. The next stop is Halifax, on July 19.
Contact these Winnipeg and Regina newspapers with your opinion on Emery's protest and arrest:
Regina Leader-Post: email@example.com
Winnipeg Free Press: firstname.lastname@example.org
Winnipeg Sun: email@example.com
Media reports on the Marc Emery's "Summer of Legalization" tour:
- Winnipeg Free Press: 2 Dauphin men charged with pot possession (July 11)
- Winnipeg Sun: Smokin' mad II (letter to the editor, July 11)
- Winnipeg Sun: Marijuana Activist Banned From Lighting Up (July 10)
- Winnipeg Free Press: Dauphin next stop for crusader (July 10)
- Winnipeg Sun: Pot Prince Popped (July 10)
- Winnipeg Sun: Cop-Shop Pot Party Planned (July 9)
- London Free Press: Marijuana Users Light Up Outside Toronto Police HQ (June 20)
Cannabis Culture archive articles on the "Summer of Legalization" tour:
- Marc Emery released from Winnipeg jail: www.cannabisculture.com/articles/3023.ht
- Marc Emery arrested in Winnipeg: www.cannabisculture.com/articles/3021.ht
- Video footage from the Winnipeg rally and Marc's arrest: www.pot-tv.net/archive/shows/pottvshowse-2
- TV newsclips from Marc's arrest in Winnipeg: www.pot-tv.net/archive/shows/pottvshowse-2
- Marc Emery announces his cross-country tour: www.cannabisculture.com/articles/3019.ht
- Marc Emery announces his cross-country protest plans on Pot-TV: www.pot-tv.net/archive/shows/pottvshowse-2
Mainstream media reports on the legal situation in Ontario and Canada:
- Regina Leader-Post: Mixed signals given by judges in Saskatchewan (July 5)
- The Barrie Advance: OPP Await Outcome Of Pot Appeal (June 13)
- Buffalo News: Ontario Backs Off Pot Arrests (June 8)
- Toronto Sun: Pot chaos spreading (June 7)
Cannabis Culture archive articles on the legal situation in Ontario and Canada:
- Marijuana legal in Ontario: www.cannabisculture.com/articles/2958.ht
- Canada's cannabis confusion: www.cannabisculture.com/articles/2968.ht
- The decriminalization that wasn't: www.cannabisculture.com/articles/2978.ht
You can also discuss Emery's tour and get updates in the CC Forums.
- Contact Marc Emery: firstname.lastname@example.org
- To contact Marc Emery by telephone, call the BC Marijuana Party office, at 604-684-7076.
Marc Emery's "Summer of Legalization" tour
WINNIPEG - JULY 9
DAUPHIN - JULY 10
REGINA - JULY 12
HALIFAX - JULY 19
MONCTON - JULY 21
CHARLOTTETOWN - JULY 23
ST. JOHN'S NFLD - JULY 26
CALGARY - AUG 9
EDMONTON - AUG 10
SASKATOON - AUG 11
PRINCE GEORGE, BC - AUG 12
KINGSTON - AUG 25
LONDON - AUG 26
HAMILTON - AUG 27
SUDBURY - AUG 28