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  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director October 15, 2010

    Dear NORML members and supporters,

    Canadian businessman and law reform activist Marc Emery is a political prisoner of America’s federal government.  Arrested in 2005 for selling high quality cannabis seeds to willing American cannabis consumers and medical patients, he now sits in a federal prison in Washington state costing taxpayer’s thousands of dollars per month, while at the same depriving Canada of an otherwise lawful and tax-generating businessman, and Marc’s family and friends of his presence in their lives.

    Below is a request from Marc’s lawyer and cannabis law reformer Kirk Tousaw to help raise $8,500 to retain an expert in treaty transfers between Canada and the United States so that Marc can serve the reminder of the time he must be in the criminal justice system back in Canada.

    Please join NORML in supporting this effort to help expedite the day Marc can return to Canada, his wife, businesses, (primarily Cannabis Culture Magazine) and to his full-throated advocacy for cannabis legalization in Canada.

    An American prison is no place for Marc.

    I think most every cannabis law reform activist in the US feels guilty that our government decided—if only for pathetically symbolic reasons, like the persecution by the feds of Tommy Chong for selling bongs a few years earlier—to arrest, persecute, extradite and incarcerate Marc for what is effectively legal these days in medical cannabis states like California, New Mexico, Colorado, Rhode Island, Montana and Maine.

    Please read the info below from Kirk on how we can all help Marc out.

    Thanks in advance and kind regards!

    I write on behalf of Marc Emery, recently sentenced to five years in prison for selling cannabis seeds as part of his effort to “overgrow the government” and provide funding to the marijuana legalization movement.  Marc made millions in this highly successful campaign and gave every dime away to activist causes and groups.  When arrested in 2005, he had only $11.00 in his bank account.  And now he needs our help more than ever.

    As part of our effort to have Marc repatriated to Canada, he hopes to hire US lawyer Sylvia Royce, an expert in treaty transfers between the United States and Canada.  Ms. Royce will handle the US side of the process while I will continue to assist Marc with the Canadian undertaking.

    In order to retain Ms. Royce, Marc needs to raise $8,500.00, and he needs to do it by the end of October. We are hoping to do it in one day with a Free Marc Emery Money Bomb on October 16, 2010.  A money bomb is a one-day fundraising effort designed to achieve a specific goal.  In this case, it is raising enough money to hire Ms. Royce.  Any extra funds will go toward future legal fees.

    I know that you value Marc’s activism, dedication to our shared cause and sacrifice.  Five years is a long time to be a political prisoner.  Our profound hope is that he can at least serve that time in Canada, near his family, friends and loving wife, Jodie Emery.

    I’m asking you to be a part of this Money Bomb in the following ways.  First, consider making a donation from your organization.  Second, publicize the Money Bomb to your membership through posting on your website and distribution through your email network

    With your help, I know that we can achieve our goal of raising $8,500.00 on October 16, 2010.  If you are willing to donate, your commitment to do so will be recorded and announced on the day of the Money Bomb.  Additional details can be found below my signature.

    Thank you.

    Kirk Tousaw
    Executive Director
    Beyond Prohibition Foundation
    142-757 West Hastings, Suite 211
    Vancouver, British Columbia V6C1A1
    (c) 604.836.1420
    (f) 1.866.310.3342
    (e) kirktousaw@gmail.com
    www.whyprohibition.ca

    * * * * *
    What: Free Marc Emery Money Bomb

    When: October 16, 2010

    Goal: Raise $8500.00 to retain a US expert on prisoner treaty transfers

    Why: Marc Emery raised and donated millions of dollars to help legalize marijuana and is now going to spend five years in prison for his efforts.  Whenever he was asked to help a good cause, he did.  Now he needs your help in his effort to be repatriated to Canada to serve his sentence in his home country.

    How: Donate funds on October 18 (or before) by check, credit card, email money transfer or cash donations.  Donation details can be found at www.freemarc.ca and below:

    1) Make donations with your credit card through the Cannabis Culture Online Store in the “Free Marc” section at www.CannabisCulture.com/store

    2) Send a PayPal donation to Marc’s wife, Jodie, at Jodie_Giesz@hotmail.com and it will be transferred to the US account for the lawyer’s fees

    3) Call 604-669-9069 on Saturday with your credit card information, or email it to: Accounts@cannabisculture.com

    4) Mail a check or money order made out to “0883467 BC Ltd.” to The Free Marc Campaign, 307 West Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 1H6, Canada

    5) Drop off in-person donations at “Marc Emery’s Cannabis Culture Headquarters” at 307 West Hastings Street in downtown Vancouver

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director September 5, 2010

    Special to The Seattle Times

    By John McKay

    I don’t smoke pot. And I pretty much think people who do are idiots.

    This certainly includes Marc Emery, the self-styled “Prince of Pot” from Canada whom I indicted in 2005 for peddling marijuana seeds to every man, woman and child with an envelope and a stamp. Emery recently pleaded guilty and will be sentenced this month in Seattle, where he faces five years in federal prison. If changing U.S. marijuana policy was ever Emery’s goal, the best that can be said is that he took the wrong path.

    As Emery’s prosecutor and a former federal law-enforcement official, however, I’m not afraid to say out loud what most of my former colleagues know is true: Our marijuana policy is dangerous and wrong and should be changed through the legislative process to better protect the public safety.

    More

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 12, 2010

    [Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s media advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up for NORML’s free e-zine here.]

    Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has reportedly signed off on an order extraditing longtime Canadian marijuana activist and publisher Marc Emery to the United States, according to the Associated Press.

    Emery’s attorney stated that he will be transferred to the US imminently.

    United States law enforcement officials indicted Emery in August of 2005 for selling marijuana seeds to US customers.

    Under a plea agreement, Emery faces up to five years in US prison. Under Canadian law, he would face no more than one month in jail (and probation), if convicted.

    In a letter from MP (member of Parliament) Libby Davies sent this week to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, she criticized, “Your government took a rare and unnecessary step today, by extraditing a Canadian citizen to serve a prison sentence in America for actions that are not worthy of prosecution under Canadian laws.”

    Marc Emery has long maintained that his prosecution was politically motivated. Upon issuing his indictment in 2005, former US DEA administrator Karen Tandy asserted that Emery’s arrest struck “a significant blow to the marijuana legalization movement. … Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.”

    For nearly two decades, Emery operated a highly visible seed bank in Vancouver. Emery declared hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes to the Canadian government, and officials at Health Canada – which oversees the nation’s legal medicinal cannabis program – frequently advised patients to purchase his seeds. Virtually all profits from Emery’s business ventures were distributed among various national and international drug law reform organizations.

    Cannabis Culture has posted additional information on this development, as well as the essay: ‘75 Things You Can Do to Free Marc,’ online here.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director April 24, 2010

    NORML hails the passage of another milestone for the Global Marijuana March with Georgetown, Guyana and Ryebrook, NY, as the 299th and 300th cities convening a march, rally, forum or benefit for the reform of cannabis laws on the weekends of Saturday May 1st and May 8th. NORML and numerous other reform groups called for more cities this year to participate so that organizers could meet and surpass their stated goal of more than 200 cities.2009glassglobe1-810x1024

    Worldwide action is necessary for any outright legalization, since cannabis is largely prohibited globally by a United Nations treaty known as the Single Convention, enacted in 1962 through the efforts of top anti-cannabis zealot Harry Anslinger, the original instigator of U.S. cannabis prohibition in 1937. The U.S. Justice Dept. has cited the UN treaty as one of its principle arguments against medical cannabis rhetorically and Supreme Court cases.

    Local NORML chapters are responsible for almost 40 of the protests in the U.S., New Zealand NORML is doing several cities; Norway “NORMAL” is not only marching in Oslo– they’re doing an international website at www.globalmarijuanamarch.com.

    NORML welcomes the participation of pro-reform advocates of all stripes. Of course, we’d like you to join NORML, but this is an ecumenical effort to legalize cannabis once and for all. The important thing is to get more cities to participate before next weekend.

    There’s still a few more days to call 212-677-7180 or email cnw@cures-not-wars.org to get your city on www.worldwidemarijuanamarch.org.

    The Global Marijuana March has events planned in almost every time zone on six continents, including most of the capitols of Europe and South America. Many cities are already signing up for May 7, 2011.

    NORML congratulates Cures-not-Wars and worldwide participants for organizing no less than a global march in favor of ending the expensive and failed prohibition of cannabis for responsible adult use. Contact your local and regional media outlets to make sure they cover this global day of protest as a major media event because this many citizens, in over 300 cities worldwide protesting their own governments is by definition a major media event.

    Call 212-677-7180 or check the city-by-city listing to get specific information about your region’s march and/or to get your city on www.worldwidemarijuanamarch.org.

    Is your city on this huge list?

    Abbotsford
    Aberdeen
    Albany
    Albuquerque
    Alicante
    Alva
    Amherst
    Amsterdam
    Anchorage
    Ann Arbor

    Arcadia
    Athens
    Atlanta
    Auckland
    Aurillac
    Austin
    Bakersfield
    Bangor University
    Barcelona
    Basel
    Belfast
    Bellingham
    Belmar
    Belo Horizonte
    Benton Harbor
    Berlin
    Bermuda
    Berne
    Bilbao
    Binghamton

    Birmingham
    Birmingham
    Boise
    Boston
    Boulder
    Bozeman
    Braga
    Brasilia
    Bridgeton
    Brighton

    Bristol
    Brussels
    Budapest
    Buenos Aires
    Buffalo
    Bullhead City
    Burlington
    Cadiz
    Calgary
    Cali

    Canfield
    Cardiff
    Cebu City
    Champaign-Urbana
    Charleston
    Charlotte
    Charlottesville
    Chelyabinsk
    Chicago
    Chico

    Chisinau
    Christchurch
    Cincinnati
    Clemson
    Cleveland
    Coimbra
    Colorado Springs
    Columbia
    Columbia Falls
    Columbus

    Comodoro Rivadavia
    Concord
    Constanta
    Copenhagen
    Cordoba
    Cork
    Corpus Christi
    Corvallis
    Dallas
    Denver

    Des Moines
    Detroit
    Dinuba
    Dnepropetrovsk
    Dover
    Duluth
    Dunedin
    Durban
    Edmonton
    Elkins

    Enid
    Eugene
    Fayetteville
    Flagstaff
    Flint
    Florianopolis
    Fontana
    Frankfurt
    Fresno
    Ft. Bragg

    Ft. Collins
    Ft. Erie
    Ft. Lauderdale
    Ft. Meyers
    Gainesville
    Garberville
    Georgetown
    Glasgow
    Grand Junction
    Grand Rapids

    Great Falls
    Green Bay
    Greenville
    Hachita
    Halifax
    Hamilton
    Hammond
    Hartford
    Helena
    Helsinki

    Hilo
    Holland
    Homer
    Independence
    Indianapolis
    Istanbul
    Jacksonville
    Jakarta
    Jerusalem
    João Pessoa

    Johannesburg
    Kalamazoo
    Kamianets-Podilskyi
    Kansas City
    Katmandu
    Kiev
    Kokomo
    Lake Isabella
    La Laguna
    Lansing

    Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
    Las Vegas
    Lawton
    Leek
    Lefkosia-Nicosia
    Leicester
    Lethbridge
    Lexington
    Lima
    Lincoln

    Lisboa
    Little Rock
    London
    Longview
    Los Angeles
    Lyon
    Madison
    Madrid
    Manchester
    Manila

    Mar del Plata
    McAllen
    Medford
    Medicine Hat
    Memphis
    Mérida
    Mexico City
    Miami
    Miamitown
    Milwaukee

    Minneapolis
    Missoula
    Montevideo
    Monterey
    Montreal
    Montrose
    Moscow
    Nashville
    Nelson
    Netanya

    Newark
    New Brunswick
    New Orleans
    New York
    Nimbin
    Nottingham
    Odessa
    Ogden
    Oklahoma City
    Olympia

    Omaha
    Orange
    Orlando
    Osaka
    Oslo
    Ottawa
    Paducah
    Paia
    Palm Springs
    Paris

    Parker
    Penticton
    Peoria
    Philadelphia
    Phoenix
    Pineville
    Pittsburg
    Pittsburgh
    Portland
    Portland

    Porto
    Porto Alegre
    Port of Spain
    Potsdam
    Prague
    Pretoria
    Prince George
    Pueblo
    Quincy
    Raleigh

    Red Deer
    Redding
    Regina
    Rice Lake
    Richmond
    Riverside
    Rome
    Rosario
    Rostock
    Ryebrook

    Sacramento
    Salem
    Salt Lake City
    Salvador
    San Diego
    San Francisco
    San Juan
    Santa Barbara
    Sao Paulo
    Sapporo

    Sarasota
    Sarnia
    Saskatoon
    Savannah
    Seattle
    Sevilla
    Simferopol
    Sofia
    South Bend
    Southhampton

    Spokane
    Spokane Valley
    Springfield
    Stavanger
    Steamboat Springs
    St. Louis
    St. Petersburg
    Stuttgart
    Susanville
    Tacoma

    Tampa
    Tampere
    Taos
    Ternopil
    Thessaloniki
    Thunder Bay
    Tokyo
    Toledo
    Topeka
    Toronto

    Traverse City
    Tucson
    Tulsa
    Turku
    Ukiah
    Uniontown
    Ushuaia
    Valencia
    Vancouver
    Vero Beach

    Vienna
    Vigo
    Vilnius
    Virginia Beach
    Visalia
    Vitoria-Gasteiz
    Waco
    Warsaw
    Warwick
    Washington, D.C.

    Wellington
    West Kelowna
    Whitehall
    Wichita
    Wilmington
    Wilmington
    Woodstock
    Worland
    Yakima
    Zaragoza

    NORML Advisory Board Member Rick Steves addresses over 100,000 at Seattle Hempfest

    Call 212-677-7180 or email cnw@cures-not-wars.org to get your city on www.worldwidemarijuanamarch.org.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director February 27, 2010

    Talk about chutzpah! The United Nation’s Anti-drug agency, International Narcotic Control Board, recently attacked the Parliament-sanctioned Canadian Medical Cannabis Program, oddly looking right past Prohibition-addled but medical cannabis-friendly America.

    That’s right.

    Despite the continued 73-year old federal prohibition against cannabis, with 90 million Americans currently living in 14 states and the District of Columbia that have legal protections for medical patients who use cannabis with a physician’s recommendation (and 120 million living in states where cannabis possession is decriminalized), 2,000 or more retail outlets or delivery services for medical cannabis (including 24/7 medical cannabis vending machines in California) and a federally subsidized cannabis farm that, among other projects, supplies five medical cannabis patients 300 pre-rolled ‘joints’ per month (which equates to about ten ounces per month!) for the rest of their lives in a closed, grandfathered program, the United Nation’s anti-drug agency ridiculously believes the world urgently needs to take great heed in the Canadian government’s eight-year old and largely uncontroversial medical cannabis program.

    Why? Why does the United Nation’s anti-drug agency believe now is a good time to stick its unwanted nose in the national and local concerns of citizens–from The Netherlands to America to Canada to Mexico–who no longer support cannabis prohibition, most notably for medical purposes?

    Cannabis policy reform advocates have been readily vexed by the United Nation’s extreme anti-cannabis advocacy and propaganda since the 1970s, and arguably after America’s original drug czar Harry J. Anslinger, in his last act as a life-long anti-cannabis zealot and 30-year plus federal drug czar, he watched President John F. Kennedy commit the world and then American-dominated United Nations to America’s Reefer Madness via the signing of the Single Convention Treaty in 1961.

    Why would the United Nation’s attack Canada’s fairly limited medical cannabis program, where the federal government tightly controls production and distribution, yet some how not cast the same critical eye towards cannabis-tolerant America (and the near narco-state of Mexico to the south where the fields of cannabis are viewed by satellite and the federal government recently decriminalized small amounts of drugs)?

    If Canada is getting grief from the blue helmet crowd, shouldn’t the governors of New Mexico, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Maine be receiving the same as their states sanction medical cannabis distribution?med_mj.2010.poster

    One year after George Bush 2.0 left the White House, and with the general support and guidance provided by the Obama administration to move in a direction of greater governmental acceptance of medical cannabis, it seems unlikely that the US government is creating the institutional impetus that is encouraging the United Nations to sound like the ghost of Anslinger.

    What is the source of Reefer Madness at the United Nations?

    UN watchdog takes aim at Canada’s medical marijuana program

    By Steven Edwards, Canwest News Service February 24, 2010

    UNITED NATIONS — Justice Minister Robert Nicholson said Wednesday the government’s medical marijuana regulations are under review after the UN’s drugs watchdog warned Canada needs to tighten up the system.

    The Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board said Canada is operating outside international treaty rules aimed at minimizing the risk criminals will get hold of cannabis grown under the program.

    “The whole question of medical marijuana is being looked at by the minister of health with respect to the options that she has,” said Nicholson, whose ministry serves as the umbrella agency for the government’s anti-drug efforts.

    The warning in the INCB’s annual report accompanies praise for the government’s National Anti-Drug Strategy, which the board said it notes “with appreciation.”

    Nicholson said he took heart from that, adding it “plays very well” into the government’s efforts to push through a crime bill containing tougher drugs-offences sentencing provisions that has been held up in the Senate.

    Public Safety Minister Vic Toews also argued the report “provides further proof that Canada is recognized internationally as a leader in crime prevention.”

    Canada increased the number of cannabis cultivation licences a person can hold last year after court decisions stated patients’ earlier access had been too restricted.

    Currently, Health Canada has issued almost 4,900 permits allowing people to possess medical marijuana they get from more than 1,100 licensed growers, some of whom are growing it for their own use.

    “Canada continues to be one of the few countries in the world that allows cannabis to be prescribed by doctors to patients with certain serious illnesses,” said the INCB report.

    But the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics, which Canada has signed, says the government must be the sole distributor of the otherwise illegal substance, which patients use as a pain reliever.

    The opportunity for misuse of the system is reflected in an RCMP review identifying 40 cases in which licensed growers were also trafficking marijuana for profit. The same review found violations in a total of 70 cases.

    While the INCB report noted that Canada “intends to reassess” its access-to-cannabis program, it said the board “requests the government to respect the provisions” of the 1961 convention in conducting its review.

    The sole company among the growers that Health Canada has contracted to supply some 28 per cent of the current permit holders signalled Wednesday it would welcome a more focused oversight.

    “We get severe criticism from the armchair critics and those who feel threatened that we’re infringing on their rights to produce cannabis,” said Brent Zettl, president of Prairie Plant Systems Inc., of Saskatoon.

    “But we’re already essentially conforming to the convention.”

    Health Canada frequently inspects the company’s operations, and officially “owns” the cannabis it produces for shipment to clients.

    Even some involved in helping patients acquire the possession permits agree that the current system is flawed.

    “To Health Canada’s self-admittance, there are a lot of grey areas,” said Chad Clelland, director of online and community relations with medicalmarihuana.ca, an Internet-based support site. “But they are so slow to change.”

    Still, Clelland said he does not believe that centralized government-run production is the answer.

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