The Shotgun Blog
Thursday, February 21, 2008
WStv: Marc Emery addresses Western Standard readers
UPDATE: Jacob Sullum at Reason magazine has posted about our videos of Emery here.
Conservative opposition to the war on drugs has been building for over a decade.
It began in earnest with a Fraser Institute publication in June 1998 titled “Reassessing the War on Drugs.” This publication was a collection of essays on the failure of drug prohibition and included polling data that showed “only one in ten Canadians is staunchly against seeing marijuana use removed from the list of criminal code offences.” The Fraser Institute challenged its fiscal and law-and-order conservative supporters to seriously rethink the war on drugs, with Institute scholars like Patrick Basham leading this charge.
In May 2000, Stockwell Day joined the discussion. During his successful "Freedom Train" leadership campaign, Day told the Vancouver Sun that marijuana users should not go to jail: “if you’re talking about simple possession, no, that should not be jail.” Day became the first leader of the Canadian Alliance and is now Minister of Public Safety with the Harper government.
In October 2001, Scott Reid made a powerful case for ending drug prohibition in the journal Policy Options. Scott Reid is the Member of Parliament for Lanark-Carleton and part of Harper’s brain trust.
The tag line on Reid’s article reads: “The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Canadian Alliance Party.” And his views are still officially not those of the Conservative Party, although support for moderate drug liberalization is shared by many conservative-minded MPs.
Regular readers of the Shotgun blog may recall Peter Jaworski’s post about prominent conservatives who oppose the war on drugs. The list includes Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman and National Review founder William F. Buckley.
All of this is to say that conservative opposition to the war on drugs does exist. But while conservatives have tested the waters of drug liberalization, few are ready to dive into the deep end in support of marijuana legalization advocate Marc Emery. Vancouver’s "Prince of Pot," Emery is still facing the possibility of extradition to the United States to face drug charges for selling marijuana seeds. He was arrested in Canada by the U.S. DEA and, if extradited and convicted, could spend a lifetime in a U.S. prison. We covered Emery's case in "Seeding Sovereignty," a feature-length article by Western Standard reporter William Hopper.
The legal case against Emery's extradition should be strong. The Canadian government allowed Emery to operate openly. He paid taxes on his illegal seed business. Health Canada directed medical marijuana patients to purchase seeds from him. He often ran for public office. Is this the kind of person Canadians, even conservative Canadians, want to see spend a lifetime in a U.S. prison? Probably not, but Emery’s uncompromising views and public, non-violent civil disobedience scares away conservative sympathizers. Emery is also not just philosophically committed to drug legalization; he promotes the drug culture with his magazine Cannabis Culture and his popular on-line video website POT.TV. This is too much for cultural conservatives, even those convinced of the failure of drug prohibition.
But like it or not, Marc Emery is at the centre of the debate over the legalization of marijuana in Canada, which is why we invited him to create a broadcast message specifically for Western Standard readers. Many will be impressed by Emery’s commitment to liberty and free market ideas. Others will no doubt be shocked by Jodie Emery's open marijuana use. Emery is a hero to many libertarians and drug peaceniks, but can he win the hearts and minds of conservatives?
This is Marc Emery in his own words, unbound:
Parts Two and Three below the fold
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All you people who still have this "reefer madness" mentality need to do some real research on marijuana. Oh, and another thing: Having marijuana illegal does NOT keep your kids safe. This is the most ignorant statement to date... With drugs illegal, who sells them? Drug dealers. What do drug dealers have? Drugs. Not just marijuana. Crack, heroin, meth, etc. Who introduces YOUR kids to the harder drugs? The drug dealers who want to sell MORE DRUGS! C'mon people. If your kids want to try marijuana, they are going to try it. All that you can do is be a responsible parent and teach them the difference between right and wrong. Making marijuana illegal does NOT prevent your kids from smoking. Atleast help prevent the influence that could lead them down a road of dependence on harder, more dangerous drugs: The illegal drug market.
I am in no way advocating or condoning the use of marijuana by minors. All that I am pointing out is that keeping marijuana illegal does more harm than good- period; for kids, for the economy, and for society.
And for you obese and overweight people out there... What if I wanted to start making cake illegal because its increasing your risk of heart attack and other physical disease? You wouldn't like that too much, eh? You enjoy your cake because you have the freedom to do so... You put into your body what you feel is adequate- so should others have that right.
Posted by: Nick | 2008-02-25 10:59:22 AM
The legalization of marajuana is our issue here.
It is only (mainly?) an issue because it occurs in the larger society, which includes children.
If marajuana only was smoked on the Moon and everyone there smoked it, any or all of the time (and it was a one-way space flight trip and only infertile-sterile adults could travel there) then I wouldn't care at all about regulating it on the Moon.
But down here on earth, if something/anything just one thing, can be recognized as definitely dangerous and thus entirely necessarily to be outlawed, then why not also outlaw the next, slightly less dangerous thing, and so on until we, outlaw everything?
We can't live in such an absurd world. We must determine degrees of risk on the continuum of possibilities. Whenever a bright line can be discerned or established then it is probably a good place to set a rule.
I think the bright line difference between alcohol (for most people) and marajuana (or other illegal drugs), is the context of drug use wherein you are not "using it" unless-until you are "high" (intoxicated-impaired).
If I am out cutting my lawn on a hot summer afternoon and my son comes over to the house and I stop working and we go get a couple cold beers out of the refrigerator and sit under the shade of a tree, we fully enjoy the alcoholic beverage (even though it isn't the greatest tasting stuff in the world) with no impairment whatsoever.
In general there is NO parallel or analogous situation to that with respect to any drug which is presently classified as illegal.
Therein lies the difference and the reason for the difference.
Your circumstance suggests the validity of a regulation-prohibition against such drugs with respect to their access by "children" (e.g. anyone under a REAL adult age of reason and complete responsibility, rather than young teenage girls and boys).
Regulation and law enforcement is obviously not perfect and is certainly subject to perversion, but these laws came about when our society was much more favorably disposed toward families and children than it is today. It was all quite clear to "everyone" back then.
Nowadays the Feminists and Homosexuals are inclined toward hurting, eliminating, or taking advantage of immature or defenseless or otherwise at risk "populations" (i.e. ALL children, plus many others). And since the "main stream media" is hugely populated with Feminists and Homosexuals it is presented as "popular" to ignore the vast experience of normal family and childraising necessities, in favor of completely peripheral and insignificant "needs" and "rights" of self serving (generally childless) people.
You are the very significant person right at the boundary line; who in fact will decide just exactly where the fence is positioned.
I trust that you are communicating wisely to your own children and I'm counting on you to consider mine also.
Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2008-02-25 2:42:12 PM
Right on Nick.
People who ask the government to defend their children from temptation are essentially saying they are failed parents who want the state's help to raise their kids. Pathetic.
When a free society is too scary, people always turn to tyranny. Vote Hitler - He's good for the kids!!
Posted by: Veteran | 2008-02-25 4:44:20 PM
The war on some drugs is lunacy, and everyone knows it. However, I won't be out marching to defend Marc Emery's liberty until Marc Emery demonstrates some sort of serious commitment to principles - and defends the liberty of other people (including mine). I won't hold my breath waiting because Marc Emery has let his brain go soft - possibly from over-use - and has become a censorious tyrannical censorious prick. Just like his partners who CLAIM to be running a Libertarian political party, but really they just want a small exclusive club for their pals.
Get serious about Liberty, Marc, and we'll get serious about yous.
Posted by: Ken Wiebe | 2008-03-04 6:12:16 PM
I am fully informed about the healing qualities of cannabis. I disagree with whatever the DEA states as it really reflects rhetorical statements that only further goals set by the executive office. I am an American who is ashamed of the stance the US has assumed concerning marihuana. It is not a gateway drug, although peer pressure can force many individuals to proceed further than a rational person would. Prohibition never solved the alcohol problem in the 20's-30's in America,except to drive the distribution into the hands of organized criminals. Repeal of the Volstedt act was for the better of America. Now is the time for the World to follow with a final ending of Prohibition, so that the health of the World can be protected from organized criminals. Do your country a great service & become informed from reputable drug truth sites & further the elimination of the violence associated with the smuggling & sales of what are considered illegal drugs in some countries. Remember, in America alcohol was against the law & crime was rampant & the availability of alcohol was not hampered. Why lock up half a nation & place the rest behind burglar bars.
Posted by: gary hild | 2008-03-05 7:15:48 PM
EMERY IS SCUM
HIS SEED BANK WAS THE BIGGEST RIP-OFF THERE EVER WAS.
MOST CUSTOMERS WILL ATTEST TO THIS.
HE IS MAKING ALL CANNABIS USERS LOOK LIKE FOOLS, WHICH THEY ARE NOT.
HE IS AN ARROGANT CLOWN WITH A CULT FOLLOWING
AND HE IS TURNING OFF THE VOTING PUBLIC.
Posted by: farqwar2008 | 2008-03-13 3:21:23 AM
Gary Hild wrote: “I am fully informed about the healing qualities of cannabis.”
Then you know that there are none. Pot doesn’t cure anything. It relieves symptoms.
Gary Hild wrote: “I disagree with whatever the DEA states as it really reflects rhetorical statements that only further goals set by the executive office.”
You disagree with “whatever” they state, without even knowing what it is? No, we’re not too ideologically motivated, are we? Isn’t that what you accuse your opponents of?
Gary Hild wrote: “I am an American who is ashamed of the stance the US has assumed concerning marihuana.”
Shame and an empty sack are worth the sack. Law of Acquisition #109.
Gary Hild wrote: “It is not a gateway drug, although peer pressure can force many individuals to proceed further than a rational person would.”
It depends on how you define “gateway drug.” A person smoking pot is much more likely to eventually use hard drugs than one who is not. Does using pot CAUSE use of harder drugs? Well, that’s hard to prove.
Gary Hild wrote: “Prohibition never solved the alcohol problem in the 20's-30's in America,except to drive the distribution into the hands of organized criminals.”
Do you take the same attitude towards firearms? Alcohol was abolished for because of emotional concerns (primarily cranky old women), not because there were sound social reasons for it. It is possible to use alcohol in moderation without damaging yourself. The same is not true of pot.
Gary Hild wrote: “Repeal of the Volstedt act was for the better of America. Now is the time for the World to follow with a final ending of Prohibition, so that the health of the World can be protected from organized criminals.”
Are we supposed to just take your word for it?
Gary Hild wrote: “Do your country a great service & become informed from reputable drug truth sites & further the elimination of the violence associated with the smuggling & sales of what are considered illegal drugs in some countries.”
In this case, “informed” means “in agreement with what you believe.” Because the reason marijuana was removed the list of approved drugs in 1942 was because of its unacceptable side effects.
Gary Hild wrote: “Remember, in America alcohol was against the law & crime was rampant & the availability of alcohol was not hampered. Why lock up half a nation & place the rest behind burglar bars.”
See above. By the way, you fit the mould of the liberal being a complete history and math imbecile very well. There are about 1.5 million inmates in the U.S. for 300 million citizens. That’s one half of one percent—two full orders of magnitude less than “half.” And hasn’t America’s crime rate been DROPPING since they started locking more people up?
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-03-13 7:55:05 AM
I am always undermining the U.S. federal government. They have no business regulating what substance I put in my body. The U.S. was moronic for constitutionally banning alcohol and it's also moronic to outlawing drugs. Marijuana should not be equated with heroine or amphetamines. I plan to stay inside the U.S. but live in a city where marijuana is heavily decriminalized. That great metropolitan city is Denver!
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