Tuesday January 29, 2008
Emery needs to face music
BY BILL TIELEMAN
This is an epic struggle between good and evil. You couldn't pick a more virtuous person to go up against evil.
B.C.'s self-proclaimed "prince of pot", Marc Emery, will soon have to call himself the "prisoner of pot" when he starts serving a five-year sentence for marijuana smuggling.
And I'm tired of hearing Emery's pious complaints and self-serving heroic justifications for his actions.
Emery freely admits he sold $15 million worth of marijuana seeds by mail in the last 10 years and that over half his customers were in the U.S., more than 70,000 people.
That's what brought U.S. charges of drug dealing and an extradition request.
Emery's lawyers have negotiated to avoid the U.S. courts, where he could face a life sentence.
Instead, he will plead guilty and accept five years in a Canadian jail with no parole or early release, while charges are dropped against his co-accused employees.
I don't feel sorry for Emery at all. He willfully broke U.S. laws to challenge America's losing "war on drugs".
Fighting what one believes are unjust laws can be a noble calling. But shipping marijuana seeds illegally into a foreign country and then whining about it when they take offence isn't noble - it's just dopey.
And while some defend Emery, saying marijuana should be legal and his business hasn't been busted in Canada, put the shoe on the other foot.
Would Canadians accept an American handgun activist mailing pistols into this country because our own restrictive laws should be changed? How about sending cocaine or heroin?
Of course not. The point isn't whether marijuana should be legalized, it's that each country has its own laws and the right to determine them.
We can strongly disagree with their laws but we can't freely violate them.
But a few journalists think Emery is a hero.
Ian Mulgrew wrote in the Vancouver Sun that: "He shouldn't do a day, period." And a National Post editorial said: "This is a travesty for a man who, as he correctly states, 'has no victims.'"
Emery isn't personally responsible but as Metro Vancouver counts the mounting dead in gang murders how can anyone think the illegal drug trade doesn't have victims?
Emery is right on one thing though - Canadian authorities have been shamefully gutless in not charging him with trafficking marijuana.
Police and governments are afraid he would get a minimal sentence but it also shows that Emery could have kept selling seeds in Canada without fear of prosecution and remained "prince of pot" in freedom.
Instead Emery deliberately provoked the U.S. government into charging him. Now he has to accept the consequences - do the time, stop the whine.