Mark Emery may provide escape velocity to marijuana industry
We speculate that Mark Emery is about to bring to the marijuana debate the escape velocity needed by the marijuana industry to thrive beyond the current exuberance caused by the states of Colorado and Washington.
Admittedly the world does not revolve around Ottawa but in the marijuana stratosphere, Canada has played a significant role and may yet play an even more significant role, thanks to Mark Emery, a man with a mission, a broad audience, and credibility. Mr Emery’s position may tip the marijuana scale toward legalization in Canada, which may have a watershed effect in corporate cannabis worldwide by forcing government endorsement at the highest legislative levels.
Although in 1976, the Netherlands adopted de facto decriminalization of Cannabis, there is a difference between a technical decriminalization and the real thing. Indeed, under Dutch law, possession remains a crime, but the national policy of the Ministry of Justice is to not enforce that law.
Also there is legalistic schizophrenia in the USA as states like Colorado and Washington have decriminalized marijuana while marijuana is still a banned substance under federal laws.
Mr. Emery is an iconic figure in the world of marijuana. He has described himself as a “major financial backer of almost every pro-pot effort in North America and many more around the world.” He asserts that he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in election campaigning for the Canadian Marijuana Party, BC Marijuana Party and the Vancouver Marijuana Party. He also claims to have funded numerous marijuana activist groups, paid for several major legal challenges to aspects of Canada’s cannabis laws, and made large donations to various pro-pot ballot initiatives in US states such as California, Nevada, Alaska and Arizona, plus financially backed pro-cannabis activities in New Zealand, Australia, Russia and elsewhere around the world.
On May 20, 2010, Mr. Emery was extradited to the United States. On May 24, he appeared in a Seattle courtroom and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana from shipping seeds from Canada to the United States.
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On May 24, 2010 Mr. Emery, a Canadian citizen operating a marijuana mail order business from Canada, pleaded guilty of drug trafficking after the Harper Government accepted a request by the US Attorney General to extradite him on May 20, 2010. His crime? He had sold marijuana seeds to US citizens, which he shipped by mail.
We have no intention to delve into who was wrong or who was right from a legal perspective. But what is most significant is that Mr. Emery is promising to take on the Harper Government. He will do so with gusto, he promises, organizing rallies across Canada.
While the Canadian liberal opposition is slow to endorse Mr. Emery and the Harper government has been quick at painting the Liberals and the marijuana supporters as one villainous cluster.
Why should corporate cannabis be concerned about Canadian politics and what the polite Canadians think? Because Canada has been the first country to legalize medical marijuana in 2003. It wasn’t the most enlightening of processes that led to the acceptance of medical marihuana but it created the template for the current context. On August 26, 2003, Canadian HIV-patient Jari Dvorak, age 62, became the first Canadian patient to receive government-grown marijuana. The program responded to an Ontario court order for the Canadian government to make a legal supply of marijuana available to authorized patients.
A phone survey conducted by Ipsos Reid between January 30 and February 7, 2014, found that more than 60 per cent of Canadians want to see the current laws at least relaxed — and one in three backs full legalization (click here).
Both Mr Emery’s activism and the broad-based support for the legalization of marijuana align with an October 19, 2015 federal elections (or earlier).
We cannot predict the outcome of the next elections. But with the recent successes of the Colorado experiment and the recent endorsement by the New York Times to legalize marijuana, the marijuana spacecraft is being fuelled for escape velocity.
Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>