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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Seeds of Liberty: The Marc Emery Story

As publisher of the Western Standard I have commissioned two writers to co-author a full-length book on the life and work of Canadian publisher and libertarian activist Marc Emery.

Emery, #3 on the Western Standard’s Liberty 100, is currently being held in a B.C. prison awaiting extradition to a U.S. prison on charges related to selling marijuana seeds. You can learn more about his case here.

The monograph has been completed in draft form and editing work is now being done to ensure Emery’s libertarian activism and political views are documented accurately and comprehensively. A final draft of the book is expected in two weeks, at which time it will be copy-edited and printed.

Here’s the current draft outline of the book:




CHAPTER 1 – Introduction: The Political Extradition of a Canadian Libertarian Activist

CHAPTER 2 –Libertarian Ideology and Marijuana Decriminalization: The Ideas That Drive Marc Emery

CHAPTER 3 – Canadian Marijuana Policy and the Influence of the United States: Ceding Canadian Sovereignty

CHAPTER 4 – The Intellectual and Political Development of Marc Emery

CHAPTER 5 – Marc Emery and Canadian Electoral Politics: Building a Coalition for Freedom

CHAPTER 6 – Marc Emery’s Other Political Activities: Sowing the Seeds of Liberty

CHAPTER 7 – The Political Extradition Marc Emery: A Story of Fear and Loathing

CHAPTER 8 – Conclusion: How Will History Judge Marc Emery?

Are we missing anything?

I invite Western Standard readers to submit any thoughts they have on the Marc Emery story before the final draft is completed. Please send your comments to [email protected] and indicate whether or not you would like to be acknowledged in the book for your contribution.

I will release more information on the book in the days to come, including information on where to pre-orders. The profits from the book will be used to launch an advocacy organization that will work toward marijuana policy reform and the release of Marc Emery from prison should he be successfully extradited as expected.


Matthew Johnston
Western Standard

Posted by westernstandard on November 8, 2009 in Marc Emery | Permalink


Why bother, nobody will read it.
Emery is not a libertarian hero, he is probably not even libertarian.
He broke Canadian laws, he broke US laws, and now he being properly and legally extradited to the US.
End of story.

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2009-11-08 4:59:51 AM

Two weeks to have the final draft done? Not good. I think you're trying to capitalize on Emery's misfortune by selling a laudatory book about him to his old customers. But, if you can exploit them in the same way he exploited them, have fun.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-11-08 6:41:02 AM


The book is a good idea. I have no real suggestions for content, but I have two very small ones about the listed table of contents. (1) The titles for chapters 1 and 7 makes it look like the latter one is redundant. I'd change one of those titles. (2) The repetition of "Marc Emery" in 6 of the 8 chapter titles makes it seem that Marc, the man, is the important focus of the book rather than the things he has done and the ideas he has fought for. The title of the entire book makes it clear that it is about Marc Emery, so his name does not need to be in all the chapter titles. For example, chapter 5 could just be called "Canadian Electoral Politics: Building a Coalition for Freedom" and chapter 6 "Other Political Activities: Sowing the Seeds of Liberty".

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-11-08 7:57:53 AM

I invite Western Standard readers to submit any thoughts they have on the Marc Emery story before the final draft is completed
Posted by Western Standard on November 8, 2009

Why don't you submit it to Fox Television and they could make an episode of "Prisonbreak" out of it. The plot could go something like this. Emery could make rope out of his hemp pants, climb out of prison and then be chased all over the US by Zebulon Punk (Punk would be driving his moped) until Emery was finally cornered by DA Punk who who'll shoot Emery with his water pistol.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-11-08 9:33:42 AM

Nah, send Dog Chapman and his A+E show after Emery. Imagine Emery squirming in the backseat being lectured on his actions by some evangelical Christians. That would be fun.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-11-08 10:24:29 AM

How so? This book project is clearly an attempt by Western Standard to profit from the self-inflicted misery of one of their contributors. I hope that they use any profits (HAH!) to pay Emery's legal bills. Otherwise, they're just exploiting people. In that light, any comment in this thread must be seen as silly.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-11-08 11:14:51 AM

Well at least he did something to write a book about Zeb. I don't imagine we will see a book about your life. Its easy to snipe from the bushes, but what have you done for any cause you support? You may not agree with Mr. Emerys cause, but many people do. I think history will view Mr. Emery in a positive light, as a man who launched a non violent assault on an unreasonable, unsustainable, and costly policy. And hopefully his efforts will rewarded in his lifetime. I think your just jealous Zeb. Thou protests too much. As for you, it seems to be about the man, more than the message.

I look forward to reading the book. Peace and Pot.

Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2009-11-08 12:44:20 PM

johan said:
"Emery is not a libertarian hero, he is probably not even libertarian"

Political party doesn't dictate the value of an idea. Libertarian or not, Marc Emery's case will certainly be cited in many libertarian arguments in the future of Canadian politics.

Posted by: EndtheFed | 2009-11-08 1:17:15 PM

Being famous for a little while is no great achievement. John Wayne Gacy was famous - and quickly forgotten. Emery is a drug dealer. All that he'll be known by is his rap sheet. What few memories anyone will have of him is a shameless self-promoter of a marginal culture who tried desperately to save himself from jail by claiming to be an advocate for liberty. He's another Ernst Zundel.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-11-08 1:17:25 PM

zebulon said:
"Emery is a drug dealer"

I'm pretty sure any rational person would not pay taxes on something they considered to be drugs. I'm also fairly certain that if the Canadian government considered what he did a crime deserving 5 years in prison, they would have been a little harder on him than a $2000 fine.

Posted by: EndtheFed | 2009-11-08 1:24:39 PM

zebulon said:
"What few memories anyone will have of him is a shameless self-promoter of a marginal culture who tried desperately to save himself from jail by claiming to be an advocate for liberty'

Do you know what culture is even more marginal than the marijuana culture, and even the pro-Emery culture? The "I Hate Emery Club".

Now that we have established that, tell me, what exactly is it that justifies your "shameless promotion of a marginal culture"?

I certainly isn't anything noble like restoring and preserving liberty.

Posted by: EndtheFed | 2009-11-08 1:36:22 PM

Say, how is Emery enjoying his time in prison? I'll bet he regrets his actions now.

What goes around, comes around. God Bless the American people and judicial system for putting that drug pusher away for a while.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-11-08 1:40:16 PM

zebulon said:
"Say, how is Emery enjoying his time in prison?"

Every time you say that you just make yourself look more and more shallow. Why not address the issues his case represents instead of whatever it is you don't like about him? Use logical thought and forget about your emotions for a minute. Over-eating kills more people than drug abuse. How does it make sense for the government to limit one choice on the basis that it is bad for you, but not limit another choice which is even worse for you? Are these the types of policies we should be enforcing? How about our methods, how much has enforcement costed? And how much has justice, imprisonment, rehabilitation, loss of productiviy of society, loss of well-being of society cost altogether? Should we have non-violent people in jail for smoking?

Why is this plan better than re-allocating those funds to reducing demand for drugs, while at the same time removing a very profitable product from the product lines of organized crime? Have you considered why people turn to using or supplying drugs? Isn't such a consideration valid when prescribing a solution?

Posted by: EndtheFed | 2009-11-08 2:02:25 PM

"As publisher of the Western Standard I have commissioned "

With whose money? The question is rhetorical.

Will you be glossing over Marc's support of the profoundly statist and authoritarian NDP party, who he brags he signed up "thousands" of members for? Of course you will. He is a radical Marxist, well to the left of the average Canadian citizen.

Posted by: Matthew Is A Statist | 2009-11-08 2:07:51 PM

Drug abuse is bad for people and for society - this is a proven fact. Every single country anywhere on earth admits this and uses its legal system to deal with it - even so-called examples like the Netherlands and Portugal. They only differ on what approach to take. I am simply sticking with the status quo - and I believe that the efforts thus far are worth the cost. The many cases of former drug abusers who realized that their actions are truly harmful prove its vitality. Emery is not a convincing advocate for the alternative since he himself profits from it. The drug cause will never be taken up.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-11-08 2:18:19 PM

"Forward" should say "Foreword". This is a common mistake among non-writers. It makes me wonder about the calibre of the writing that will appear in the rest of the book.

Posted by: Karen Selick | 2009-11-08 2:24:27 PM

Matthew is a statist said:
"Will you be glossing over Marc's support of the profoundly statist and authoritarian NDP party, who he brags he signed up "thousands" of members for? Of course you will...."

In comparison, Ron Paul is a registered Republican, but at the same time is at the forefront of preserving and restoring liberty. He ran for president as a Independant libertarian in the past, but maybe he realized that in order to get voted in, you have to be in one of the dominant parties. Similarly, Emery could have felt that the NDP was more sympathetic to his beliefs than the other dominant parties.

Posted by: EndtheFed | 2009-11-08 2:28:24 PM

"Similarly, Emery could have felt "

This is the least logical argument I have seen in a looooooong time. Maybe you could provide a list of known or conceived of entities in the universe that you don't consider to be morally equivilent.

Emery is a big time federal and provincial NDP activist. He endeavoured to make Canadians significantly less free. He is not libertarian in the slightest, but rather a criminal and someone who has ruined the lives of countless young, impressionable people who didn't know better - and he profited in the millions by doing so.

No wiggle room here kids - he's a hardcore statist who is a big time financial backer of a hardcore statist party.

Posted by: EndTheFed Is Statist Too | 2009-11-08 2:36:32 PM

He's another Ernst Zundel.
Posted by: the black racist Zebulon Punk |
2009-11-08 1:17:25 PM

Godwin's Law applies here. You lose punk.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-11-08 2:39:55 PM

zebulon said:
"Drug abuse is bad for people and for society - this is a proven fact"

Yes, and repeating that over and over won't make prohibition any more effective.

It is clear you have not considered my questions. You seem to think that to believe prohibition is bad is to believe that drug abuse is good.

The issue I was trying to get you to consider is "are we doing the right thing?". Prohibition is not the only solution. By allocating resources to prohibition we are giving up resources for other things. Those other things are our opportunity costs. I believe our opportunity cost alone is enough to rule out prohibition. It's too expensive relative to the results we are getting. It's time to try somethign else.

Posted by: EndtheFed | 2009-11-08 2:49:41 PM

I could be wrong, but isn't Marcs support of the NDP because they say they would end the prohibition of pot? He also says support the Greens, for the same reason. And the Libertarians for that matter. Are we seeing a thread?

zebulon said:
"Emery is a drug dealer"

So is your pharmacist and local liquor distributor. And they are pushing way harder drugs than pot. What are you imagining happening if there was yet another product in the liquor store or pharmacy for people to decide to use? Its just another market, one complete with jobs and profit for everyone (tax), waiting to go. Well it is going right now, for that matter, except the profit for everyone. No, instead that money is going to gangster, politician and police paychecks. No benefit to the general public. Just a steady rise of authoritarian policies to keep everyone in line all in the name of a relatively harmless plant that millions of people want. That is the policy you support. And hey, whats not to like with that? Right?

Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2009-11-08 3:02:37 PM

"EndTheFed Is Statist Too"

Well you have just made it blatantly clear that you have not read many of my posts.

Also, you have established a measure of how quickly you attribute the word statist to people.

Granted, I only heard about Emery roughly a month ago. Given the fact that marijuana prohibition is an issue of liberty, marc emery is now part of the case for liberty whether he intended to be or not, regardless of who he has endorsed. I'm sorry that you don't like him, but that's not relevant to the issue. It is the case surrounding the man that is relevant to the cause of libertarians.

Posted by: EndtheFed | 2009-11-08 3:20:18 PM

some guy said:
"This is the least logical argument I have seen in a looooooong time"

How so?
Emery could endorse the Green party, but they never get elected. Where's the effectiveness in that?
For all I know he could be endorsing any party that would make the marijuana laws stricter, making his business more profitable. The fact is, his intent is irrelevant. It may make him a worse person for doing so, but it doesn't change the case that events surrounding him exhibit the need for a change in our drug laws.

Posted by: EndtheFed | 2009-11-08 3:40:32 PM

steve said:
"What are you imagining happening if there was yet another product in the liquor store or pharmacy for people to decide to use?"

Exactly. The only difference is that people will be getting their marijuana in a store, safely and out of reach of minors, instead of off the streets (which funds organized crime). If you do not participate in the marijuana culture, nothing will change for you. You may think that marijuana use will shoot through the roof, but I've got news for you, people can get marijuana right now. If heroin use was suddenly made legal, how many of us here would then decide that lining up at the "Needle Commission" sounds like a good idea?

Posted by: EndtheFed | 2009-11-08 3:51:40 PM

The opposite of love is not hate. It's indifference. Indifference typically involves ZERO keystrokes. Someone has a crush.

Posted by: Paul McKeever | 2009-11-08 7:30:03 PM

The governments were more right to begin the prohibition of alcohol than they were to begin the prohibition of cannabis. I am thirty-one years old, and have probably smoked more pot than all the posters on this thread combined. I don't advocate smoking though, much like a tobacco user knows that smoking is bad for them. Due to the short supply and high prices, I find that it lasts longer when I smoke it. If I were to grow my own I wouldn't have to worry about the quality, or the dangers of trusting the black market, and I would be able to cook with it because of the vast supply. Marijuana will never go away, no government will ever eradicate it, and no person will ever find evidence that cannabis is more detrimental than alcohol or tobacco. Marc Emery is a simple human rights activist who has shown how overpowered the governments have become and what trifle things the government will do when it is drunk with power. So try and stop the legalization movement and find yourself out of touch with reality. In less than thirty-one years it will be legal, and you will most likely be dead, leaving only your ignorant words and values behind. I have no doubt that those who criticize Mark Emery are the same type of people as those that thought African Americans should sit in the back of the bus and have separate bathrooms and drinking fountains, or the type of people that give out blankets infested with smallpox as a token of good will.

Posted by: douglas | 2009-11-08 7:50:01 PM

I suggest a chapter that illustrates how Mark Emery’s seed business model was a working example of what Peace with Dignity in the War on Marijuana could look like. His business success was based on providing a product in high demand and sold directly to the consumer in a way that effectively eliminated costly middlemen, in the form of the criminal element and Law Enforcement.

Marc has helped thousands of American citizens express their objection to what they believe are unjust laws in a private and personal act of civil disobedience. The resulting Public Option offers people a choice of either taking personal responsibility for their actions by growing it themselves or continue to contribute to the proceeds of crime.

According to the DEA’s own calculations, Marc Emery’s mail order marijuana seed business, was responsible for keeping over $3 billion out of the hands of organized crime, violent foreign drug cartels and predatory street dealers by providing 1.5 million seeds to thousands of ordinary (mostly) law abiding American citizens. Thousands of people are now able to grow their own pot on their own property, for their own enjoyment or medical relief, at a fraction of the street cost and doing so with a - no blood, low carbon footprint.

The DEA’s publically stated motives for the arrest and conviction of Marc was to silence him and eliminate his influence in the legalizations of marijuana debate. Americans who cherish their right to free speech should be aware that by accident or design the DEA is denying them knowledge and access to a peaceful and productive solution to Marijuana Prohibition.

Posted by: M. Mason | 2009-11-08 9:37:04 PM

Anyone -- such as "Zebulon Pike" -- who vituperatively attacks Marc Emery appears to be motivated by some unexplained personal agenda rather than an objective view of the uses of marijuana.

Fourteen states now allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

California is unique among those states for the widespread presence of dispensaries -- businesses that sell marijuana and even advertise their services. Colorado also has several dispensaries, and Rhode Island, New Mexico and now Maine are in the process of licensing providers.

In such a climate of change, it makes even less sense than ever to punish Emery so severely for selling seeds. Whatever Emery's shortcomings, and he doubtless has some, he is to be commended for seeing that marijuana has a considerably more useful future than either alcohol or tobacco.

Posted by: palinurus | 2009-11-08 11:27:18 PM

Hi, Karen. The "FORWARD" mistake was mine and has been correctly. That's why I'm not writing the book. :-)

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-11-09 2:30:25 AM

? wrote: "Is a non sexual man crush, for the right reason, wrong?"

Whether it is sexual or not has nothing to do with it. And, no, a crush - whether on a man or a woman - is not wrong. It's an emotion.

My point was that there are two posters at the western standard blogs who clearly and demonstratively are absolutely obsessed with Marc Emery: Shane Matthews and Zebulon Pike. They're like stalkers who pretend the absolute unimportance of the person they are stalking.

There are few possibilities, the most likely of which are: envy, politics, law enforcement, or religion. If envy: they won't be the first...they would not be badmouthing Emery if nobody admired him. If politics: a couple of Conservatives who understand that he is undermining younger Canadian's respect for that 20th century relic of a party. If cops: well, duh - he has them losing a now-unwinnable war, and they are made to look like jack-asses when they continue to fight it (not that most officers would do so, if they were not required, by politicians, to do so). If religion: Marc has certainly fought a number of religion-introduced oppressions for years, including the ban on Sunday shopping, obscenity laws/pornography, abortion, etc. Front page stories in major dailies are testament to Marc's success in exposing religious fanatics as the source of several oppressive laws in Canada.

One thing is undeniable: Shane and Zeb are UTTERLY DISHONEST when they state that Marc is a nothing, and demonstrated by the hours and keystrokes they've spent on him.

Keep it up, girls.

Posted by: Paul McKeever | 2009-11-09 8:03:48 AM

That was meant to read "AS demonstrated".

Posted by: Paul McKeever | 2009-11-09 8:05:36 AM

Emery is a nothing, all-right. He's nothing but a number in the US Federal Prison system.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-11-09 8:13:45 AM

I quote from Alexander Shugin "All kinds of drugs are deeply,permanently, infused into our culture, into our way of life." That being said it makes, your doctor your drug pusher, your pharmacist,you drug dealer,your local liquor store your pusher...indeed it makes your government the final entity to nail your coffin shut. I believe with what John Stuart Mills wrote in About Liberty and i quote ""Secondly, the principle (Liberty) requires liberty of tastes and pursuits; of framing the plan of our life to suit our own character; of doing as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow; without impediment from our fellow-creatures, so long as what we do does not harm them even though they should think our conduct foolish, perverse, or wrong." (John Stuart Mills: On Liberty- 1859).
People:look at where this moral hysteria re drugs has come from. Only then will you understand the whole picture. Wake up!!

Posted by: shiloh | 2009-11-09 11:00:18 AM

And Emery's "number" in the canadian prison system, coincidentally happens to be #1!!!!
Marc has been fighting for people's freedom to do as they like as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else...for a long long time. As far as im concerned that makes him heroic. He stands up in the face of massive opposition, which is heroic. He believes in the individuals right to be, say,drink, eat whatever they please, in private. If Trudeau was alive he would include this when he stated "the governement has no right in the bedrooms of the nation"> the government similarly has no right in the digestion track of its citizens.

Posted by: shiloh | 2009-11-09 11:06:52 AM

|Keep it up, girls.|

I'm surprised a frightfully PC politician would use language so disdainful of women. I kinda like it myself, I'm just surprised to see you do it. It shows balls.

Keep it up and I just might vote for you!

Posted by: McKeever's Probably Crypto-Statist Too | 2009-11-09 2:44:39 PM

Pierre Trudeau? The worst human rights violator in Canadian history? Sure he said the state should stay out of the bedroom, but that did not stop him from suspending human rights and invading Quebec to go after some 'terrorists'. Moreover, his antics cost several hundred thousand Albertans their jobs and bedrooms. The man was a monster who should have been put on trial for his crimes.

Yet he and Emery have much in common: neither ever had any interest in freedom. Pierre the Terrible sought to protect Ontario's corporate muscle over others regardless of the cost, while Emery is a coward and a liar trying to avoid jail. The biggest difference between them is that Trudeau never went to jail.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-11-09 2:51:11 PM

It seems to me that Zebulon Pike is just making stuff up with no regard for the truthfulness of his statements. His retort is filled with unsubstantiated bias and bigotry. Does anyone else see this?

Posted by: douglas | 2009-11-09 6:20:31 PM

Whether one is a drug user or not, there is no disputing Marc Emery is and has been a principled fighter for freedom.

Emery has helped nudge this country's political culture in the direction of greater freedom, and not just for drugs; by promoting the freedoms necessary to indulge in marijuana consumption, a tolerance for the language of liberty in other areas is growing among the public.

He deserves to be recognized for it all, and to have his story fairly documented.

Is a book, or book alone the best vehicle? Would DVD documentary be more powerful, and sell more?

Ideally this project will acknowledge Emery's errors, such as "feeding the beast" by voluntarily paying income taxes and/or advocating for legalization instead of simple decriminalization.

In any event any proceeds earned will undoubtedly help redouble Emery's efforts once he is out of prison.

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-11-09 9:39:03 PM

Either you're trying to exploit Emery's misfortune, or add to his fortune with these projects. It reminds me of a video project years ago to honor the Toronto Maple Leafs making it into the playoffs - first round only. Not even that loser team of all-white players could save this idea from looking like cheap consumerism. Pathetic.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-11-09 10:11:50 PM


Why is advocating legalization instead of decriminalization a mistake? It seems clear to me that the former is preferable on libertarian grounds.

Of course, outright drug legalization in Canada would very likely bring up the question of treaty obligations, but that shouldn't concern Marc. As the spiritual source of the Global War on Some Drugs, the US DEA is his enemy number 1. Any efforts at significant drug reform in Canada are likely to be resisted by our neighbours to the south--that comes with the territory.

Marc has told me that he would like to see what Dr. Thomas Szasz outlined in his book Our Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market: viz, not just an end to prohibition and the drug war, but a rollback of the whole leviathan regulatory and therapeutic state as well.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-11-10 1:03:14 AM


I used to sell seeds on the internet also, until Marc got busted. THC seeds never took credit card orders, just money orders. We had an "any name is fine" policy for the money orders and they were usually signed by people like "Sue Sensi" and "Billy Bongblaster".

Marc's often repeated claim is that he "never hurt anybody but himself." I believe that many of his US customers got busted because Emery took credit card orders. I do believe Emery did not keep records on customers, but I know the credit card companies keep lots of records.

Under the US Patriot Act any US company that does business outside the USA can have their records inspected. The Patriot act is supposed to be about terrorism, but it is primarily used as a drug war "tool for law enforcement". How many buttons do they have to click to see exactly who was ordering from Emery using credit cards?

The DEA does not put all their investigative techniques on the table. However news reports indicated that it was a whole lot of grow-op busts where Emeryseeds catalogs and packaging were found that led to Marc's extradition request. I suspect he will meet some of his credit card customers while doing time.

I think it was awesome that Marc was Canada's online marijuana seed pioneer, but I never agreed with his decision to take credit card orders. My opinion from day one was that it put customers, and Emery himself, at risk.

I hate Marc being sent to the brutal American Gulag. He should have found a remote cabin in BC's wilderness. BC is big place to hide in. Running from justice is one thing, but running from American injustice is fair. Canada should never extradite anybody to a country like the US, that is proven to practice torture.

Posted by: Norm Smith | 2009-11-10 8:00:04 AM

zebulon said:
"Either you're trying to exploit Emery's misfortune, or add to his fortune with these projects."

It takes money to make a difference in today's world of politics. Sad, but true.

Posted by: EndtheFed | 2009-11-10 10:14:33 AM


My issue with legalization vs. decriminalization is that the former is an open invitation to tax and regulate and otherwise license or approve the use or sale of a product.

Decriminalization implies, or ought to, the removal of all prohibition, an end to all penalties for the use or sale of a substance.

Not every substance on the planet needs to be subject to taxation or regulation.

I don't believe marijuana should have any status under the law.

If something is submitted for legalization it can just as easily be "illegalized"

I realize I may be arguing semantics; but I think taking the approach, as Emery has so often done, of saying 'hey look, if you approve this drug, give us permission to use and sell it, you can TAX it and otherwise CONTROL it', is a mistake.

It reminds me of the argument for lower taxes that is made on the basis that it will increase government revenue; I don't think the argument for ANYTHING ought to rely on how it BENEFITS government, which in this case is in enriching it and granting it more control than ever. I think it is clear that LEGAL marijuana would be under greater governmental control than ILLEGAL marijuana.

My guess is even with LEGALIZED, taxed, regulated marijuana, there would still be black market or illegal marijuana, for whatever reason (kind of like "contraband" cigarettes, or various alcoholic or pharmaceutical products.

So the state would on one hand be taxing and controling marijuana, and on the other hand still fining and jailing people for its unapproved uses and sales, and likely forcing users or "abusers" into "treatment".

My view is just REMOVE all prohibition and penalties, and get government the hell out of the drug world altogether.

One tragedy of the Emery case is that not only has a well intentioned champion of personal freedom been deprived of his liberty, but that he paid countless hundreds of thousands of dollars to the very state that has sold him out and destroyed his life.

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-11-10 2:16:07 PM

""zebulon said:
"Emery is a drug dealer"

I'm pretty sure any rational person would not pay taxes on something they considered to be drugs. I'm also fairly certain that if the Canadian government considered what he did a crime deserving 5 years in prison, they would have been a little harder on him than a $2000 fine.

Posted by: EndtheFed | 2009-11-08 1:24:39 PM"

he sold seeds for years before paying taxes on them just to stay in business as he was forced to as I say pay taxes

then pretended it was some noble intention of his

like an awful lot of his results

no story could be complete without this


I am blown away by the stupidity of supposedly political people

emery is irrelevant and more a hindrance than an asset

sadly the users of this drug get stupid and can not remember what happened yesterday and then the loudest one is recognized

the comments about motives as a hater etc are also missing one thing or important reason


and as emery has harmed my work ....which I started while he still sold comic books in london,ont well I guess you can all decide my motives..... as I care squat

I would do worse than jail him


Posted by: shavluk | 2009-11-11 2:24:41 PM

Since drugs impair consciousness and self-control to the point they harm society as a whole, the question is moot. Indeed, one can only have a free mind without drugs. Emery proves that. Before he willingly broke the law, he was perfectly free to speak his mind. Now he's in jail for selling drugs across the border, perhaps the dumbest move yet. Drugs made him unable to see the error in his ways.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-12-07 6:01:55 PM

If one doesn't have sovereignty over their own consciousness, how can they claim they are free?

Zeb you keep polishing that gun behind a locked door and I will polish my bong with an open door all the while meditating on the first commandment.

Peace my brother.

Posted by: David | 2009-12-07 6:07:34 PM

"Since drugs impair consciousness and self-control to the point they harm society as a whole,..."

So then we won't see you picking up any aspirin at the drug store, or lining up at the liquor store for a little christmas cheer. You wouldn't want to support something that "harms society as a whole".

zebulon said:
"Indeed, one can only have a free mind without drugs"

This point alludes to a conversation about the varying degrees of harm done by particular drugs to an individual. For instance, harmful prescription drugs that can be replaced with less harmful medical marijuana.

So if you believe that drugs are bad because they do harm to society as a whole, logically, you must see actions that reduce that harm to society as positive actions. Does this mean that you agree that patients who use harmful drugs should have the option to smoke marijuana as a safer alternative? It would reduce the overall harm done to society by harmful drug use. Not to mention the reduction in cost.

Posted by: EndtheFed | 2009-12-07 7:43:36 PM

Zeb said:
"Since drugs impair consciousness and self-control to the point they harm society as a whole, the question is moot."

The actual harm caused to society from cannabis use is insignificant compared to Alcohol. And in fact the monetary cost caused by the use of cannabis is far less then the possible gains of legalizing the industry. Therefor prohibition from a financial standpoint, cause's harm as a whole.

Add to this the blood shed caused by violent gangs, fighting for market share, due to prohibition makes the cost to society that much more... Your logic is moot.

Posted by: Baker  | 2009-12-07 10:44:36 PM

I’m really happy for the Czeck people, as a young democracy, the government is young enough to see that freedom of choice is a right that we are born with.

Posted by: david | 2009-12-08 6:59:22 PM


Glenn Greenwald [pdf] explains the difference between decriminalization and legalization very simply. As far as I can tell, you and I agree on the best policy (i.e. a completely free market in drugs), it's just you're not defining the terms as most people do.

In sum, “decriminalization” means either that only noncriminal sanctions (such as fines or treatment requirements) are imposed or that no penal sanctions can be. In a “depenalized” framework, drug usage remains a criminal offense, but imprisonment is no longer imposed for possession or usage even as other criminal sanctions (e.g., fines, police record, probation) remain available. “Legalization”— which no EU state has yet adopted—means that there are no prohibitions of any kind under the law on drug manufacturing, sales, possession, or usage.

Decriminalization of drugs, which usually means only removing criminal penalties for possession, but not from the production and distribution leaves the drug trade as it is now: largely in the criminal black market and under the control of violent gangs.

Legalization on the other hands, brings the entire industry out of the dark, and would mitigate many of the problems with the status quo, including gang control, easy access for children, unlabeled, untested and potentially dangerous product and finally legal processing, enforcement and incarceration of non-violent 'criminals' like cannabis farmers and meth producers. Yes, in the current environment legal marijuana (or other drugs) would probably be subject to excessive taxation like alcohol and tobacco. This is not a necessary part of legalization (like I said, I always advocate a free market, never a 'tax and regulate' regime), but even if now-illegal drugs were taxed at 100%, it would still be preferable to mere decriminalization in all sorts of ways including, more than likely, lower end-consumer prices.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2010-01-17 3:52:59 PM

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