VANCOUVER – The wife of Canada’s so-called Prince of Pot says the U.S. government has agreed to transfer her imprisoned husband back home, but Canada’s government still needs to give its approval.
A July 9 letter from the U.S. Department of Justice obtained by The Canadian Press said Marc Emery’s transfer has now been approved.
Emery’s wife, Jodie, said she was informed of the decision by email Wednesday afternoon, about 30 minutes after talking to her husband who is completing a five-year prison sentence at medium-security prison in Yazoo City, Miss., for selling cannabis seeds to U.S. customers over the Internet.
“I hope that whoever is the public safety minister approves it very quickly, otherwise I’m going to have to rally up the troops as I usually do and cause a bit of trouble for them — in as peaceful a way as possible,” said Jodie Emery with a chuckle.
Vic Toews was the federal public safety minister until he announced he was retiring earlier this week.
Neither the federal ministry nor the Correctional Service of Canada was able to comment by publication.
Jodie Emery said she was overjoyed to hear the news because the U.S. denied her husband’s transfer once before in April 2011.
The marijuana activist was indicted in 2005, but he wasn’t extradited to the U.S. until May 2010, and his sentencing didn’t take place until the following September.
U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Martinez said at the time that there was no doubt Emery’s actions were criminal, and the pot activist ensured others broke the law, too, by selling them seeds.
Emery has since spent time in prisons from Washington state to Nevada, Oklahoma and Georgia.
But since his sentencing, two U.S. states have legalized the use of marijuana in specific cases.
In November 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first U.S. states to legalize recreational marijuana for adults over 21, and to allow the sale of taxed pot at state-licensed stores.
Last year, former U.S. federal prosecutor John McKay, who helped prosecute Emery, also visited Vancouver, where he called on Canadian lawmakers to end pot prohibition in favour of the drug’s regulation and taxation.
McKay said the criminalization of cannabis has fuelled a massive illegal industry that funds gangs, triggers violence and threatens public safety on both sides of the border.
Jodie said her husband was a pioneer in the fight against the so-called war on drugs, spending millions and sending out millions of pot seeds to help grow opposition to stifling marijuana laws.
“The Americans are making this progress because of what Marc did for them. He was pivotal in the earliest days and now it’s all coming to fruition. It’s exactly what he wanted to see. That’s victory for us.”
Emery’s time behind bars hasn’t been without incident. In July 2011 he tested positive for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as the super bug MRSA. If it’s untreated, the bug can lead to life-threatening complications, like an infection of the bloodstream.
Jodie Emery said her husband’s early release date was set for July 9, 2014, and since his imprisonment she has been visiting him every second week, with the exception of the last two months when she saw him only once.
She said she doesn’t know when her husband will be home, but if the federal government approves the transfer he could be back between late September and Christmas.
“I think when he comes home we’re going to be a very powerful team together politically and in trying to improve the world and speak on behalf of those who are suffering under the drug war imposed by the government,” she said.
“So I think people are gong to be very interested to hear what Marc has to say about what prison does to people.”