JODIE EMERY: THE PAST THREE YEARS WITH THE PRINCESS OF POT

The first day I met Jodie Emery, the wife of Marc Emery the (Prince of Pot), was September 11, 2010, while having lunch at Hempstalk. The date was etched into my mind, less than 24 hours prior Marc, a Canadian citizen, was sentenced to five years in the American Federal Prison system for the crime of selling cannabis seeds to an American. This was not a lady in noticeable distress. I thought, here is a lady made of granite. Her composure and demeanor were not one of a crushed woman looking for sympathy or pity, but a woman determined, driven for right, a woman facing five years of fighting to return her partner to Canada, a country where the same offence carries a civil fine. I’ve stayed in contact with Jodie, as busy as she is, over the past few years via email, phone calls, and in her updates on YouTube and Cannabis Culture magazine. In a recent phone call we caught up on the progress of how the woman, Jodie, was doing on a personal level.

AUSTIN420: It’s been over three years since Sept. 2010; I know the drive to have Marc returned keeps you busy, but what is a typical day, if there is one, for Jodie Emery?

JODIE: There is no typical day. I manage four different businesses with 26 employees. So I have to manage that on a daily basis, which is enormous. One is a retail store, one is a service lounge (a vapor lounge), one is a video network, Pot TV, one is an online news site, Cannabis Culture. So, day to day I try to juggle four different businesses in the employment of 27 people on my payroll. So, that takes up a lot of my time. Otherwise, I now have a regular appearance on the TV network here in British Columbia called Global. They have a 24 Hour news station, BC1, and I’m a regular appearing personality to talk about different news stories of the day. I do regular media interviews and appearances whenever I’m called upon, that’s on an unexpected basis.

I travel down to see Marc. Typically, I go to see him every two weeks. It takes an entire day to travel, waking up at 3am in Vancouver, getting a 5am flight, travel for about 10 to 12 hours, getting into Yazoo, Miss., at eight or nine o’clock at night. So every time I went to see Marc, every two weeks it would take me the entire day to travel down there, two days of visiting, an entire day back. So, my schedule for all of these years has been 4 days away, 10 days at home, 4 days away, 10 days at home. And, for anybody trying to maintain a regular life, or trying to run 27 employees and four business brands with that sort of distraction, it was exhausting. I also have to speak at events like the Seattle Hempfest, Idea City, the New Hampshire Liberty Forum, and I appeared in the new “Trailer Park Boys 3” movie. I do anything that I’m called upon to do, and I try my best to do that. And, I do run for office in elections whenever I do get a chance.

AUSTIN420: You’re very busy. Can you tell us about the recent developments in Canada with their Cannabis law reform?

JODIE: We’re going backwards with the conservatives wanting to introduce mandatory minimum prison time for pot, and a lot of other harsher sentences but, with the stuff they want, and of course the “Health Canada Program” being changed to eliminating the ability to grow your own medicine is a major crisis taking place in Canada right now. But, we just have to keep fighting no matter what.

AUSTIN420: I noticed in your recent trip to visit Marc in Yazoo, Mississippi, the pictures you posted show a city in desolation. Were these pictures a reflection of your personal feelings about the “Drug War”?

JODIE: Yes, I see what’s it’s done here. It’s depressing to see a real life example of a simple town, that once had many different types of jobs, and now it’s a town that depends entirely on the prison. And to see, while here in Vancouver, I’m lucky to be here; they tear down anything old and build something new. So if they see anything that falls apart or condemned, they condemn it there. If you see that kind of stuff with a lot of history and a lot of things not being meddled with, there’s not an urgent need to get rid of the old and put in the new. But, in a place like Yazoo, and many urban areas across the United States, you see this depression that is being caused, on a big scale, by the U.S. Government because of policies. Clearly, in American cities, but in Yazoo it’s hard for me to see how fallen apart it is. Yet, there is this massive prison that’s part of a multi-billion dollar Bureau of Prison complex.

It is disturbing to see so much destruction and devastation and know that the U.S. Government is causing a lot of it and for me that breaks my heart to see that. When I go down there and I see the prisons, and I know the majority of the prisoners are of African American decent and that the majority of prison guards, the people working the prison in keeping these people locked up, are of the same background, it makes me real sad to see that the U.S. government has created a system, where not only are the poor to suffer just because, but they’re going to put a lot of people in prison and make their own brothers and sisters keep them locked up, to watch out over them. The Yazoo prison is the biggest employer of the area, it employs more people than anywhere in the region, and that’s really, really sad.

The prison is what’s keeping the town alive, instead of bringing in some other jobs, or farming, or any other new idea that could be done in that area. They used to have mills, it used to be a pretty big town of industry, but they don’t do that anymore because the prison industry popped up and took over and now the town is dead and yeah it’s pretty sad. I have to say it’s a great adventure. Everybody, down there, is so very kind. I mean “Southern Hospitality” that’s the real deal. Everybody is friendly, for sure, and I’ve enjoyed that part of it. You know I’m not angry at the people there. So, when I go down to Yazoo, and take all of these pictures and stuff, it’s sort of a sad thing to see that it’s different in parts of the U.S...

AUSTIN420: With the recent developments in legalization, especially in the state Marc was sentenced, do you feel this could help expedite the return of Marc to Canada?

JODIE: Nope, nope, not going to happen. Here’s the thing. Marc was sentenced under federal law and federal law is not impacted by legalization in states, even though Marc’s prosecutor in Washington State, John McKay, changed sides and started working for the legalization and allowed Marc and I to join the 502 team with him. So, we worked with Marc’s prosecutor to legalize pot, which is an ironic story, but it has nothing to do with Marc’s sentence. Canada and the U.S. have a treaty agreement where the U.S. sends Canadians home to serve and finish their sentences, and the Canadian Government is supposed to send Americans home into the U.S. to finish their sentences, it’s called the ‘International Transfer Offenders Act’. However, the U.S., even though they have been approving Canadian citizens to go home for many years, the Canadian Government has refused to accept back Canadian citizens for many years.

With Marc, his first application to be transferred to Canada the United States Government rejected that in 2011. In 2013, this year, Marc was able to apply again and this time, this summer, the U.S. Government said, ‘Sure, you can go home Marc Emery. You’re done here, here’s some paperwork saying that you’re not to be in the U.S., you’re not a citizen, you don’t have a visa, you need to go home now.’ The United States Government said that in July of this year, but it depends on the Canadian Government to say alright we agree, they were wrong, and they haven’t.

I’ve traveled to Ottawa just recently. I was inside our Parliament which is just the same as the U.S. Congress. I was inside the Parliament with the Public Safety Critic of the Liberal Party, which is a government party, and with the MVP, and the Green Party. So, I was standing up with all of the opposition parties saying, “Bring Marc Emery Home!!!”, and the Harper Conservative Government, basically stood up in Parliament, they actually stood up Parliament and stated, ‘Marc Emery is a drug dealer which enabled children to get their hands on drugs and they’re not going to bring him home.’ So, that’s what everybody in Canada thinks of Marc, and they’re not transferring him. So, we’ve given up on trying to get Marc transferred, because it’s not happening.

But, in the U.S., when you’re in federal prison and you’re on good behavior, you get out at 85% of your sentence. Marc accepted a five year plea deal, 85% is approximately 4 years and 2 months. So, he’s looking at July 9th, as his 85% completed release date. And on July 9th, the U.S. prison system says, ‘Well you’re done here.’, but because Marc’s a Canadian there’s a trip home from Mississippi up to Canada, he has to go into the custody of Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). So, ICE will pick Marc up at the Yazoo Prison on July 9th, and they’ll travel home with him for about 4 to 6 weeks. So there’s still more to the prisoner deal yet to come. But, as soon as Marc is put on a plane, and arrives in Vancouver at the airport and walks thru customs, and he won't have a passport or anything so that’s an interesting situation, but he does get to get thru, he’ll just walk across the border and into my arms with all of the media and everybody there. And, he’ll be a totally free man with no record of this case in Canada, at all. So that’s where we’re looking, about August or so.

AUSTIN420: That sounds like a big welcome home.

JODIE: Yep, that’s what it’ll be.

AUSTIN420: Your voice sounds like you have a smile on your face.

JODIE: “Oh Yeah,” I didn’t want him coming home to the Harper Government. In fact, at this point it’s because even our government has changed the rule since Marc has been gone. They changed the rules of transferring people to make it harder to bring them home. So, they’re very, very cruel.

AUSTIN420: So let’s just wait until July 9th, huh?

JODIE: Yes, exactly and there will be many, many opportunities for rallies and big parties, for people to travel up here and meet him, because for years I've been getting questions about that, but now it’s getting closer. ~

 

MARC & JODIE EMERY