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Jail Blog – Tuesday August 31st

By admin | September 2, 2004

BC Marijuana Party Website.

Day thirteen, 49 days to release.

Last night I got angry twice. Since I’ve been here at Saskatoon Correctional, I haven’t been angry at all, even when my lawyer Leanne Johnson said to the judge, “My client pleads guilty, your honour,” when I most certainly had no intention or plan to do that. Ms. Johnson had come into the courtroom on that fateful August 19th, and without happening to mention her intention to plead Not Guilty, said hello, and sat down, and I sat down in the defendant’s chair. We had not spoken or communicated for over a week. All along I’d told her, the media, everyone that I would be pleading Not Guilty. Three weeks before trial I’d sent Leanne an email which read “I presume we’re guilty, so we really want to have our best arguments ready for sentencing.”

Since the eyewitness report was in the disclosure (the 20-year-old who had said “Marc Emery passed me a joint”, and that he passed it on, notably did so without getting charged), that’s all that was required to convict me. So I presumed the judge would certainly find me guilty, but I’d certainly had always said right up to the moment I went into the courthouse, that I was pleading Not Guilty and expecting a trial. I thought something was amiss when a reporter added, “we understand it’s a sentencing hearing only.”

I didn’t speak to Leanne until I sat down in the defendant’s chair, and the judge entered the room right away, and the court was called to order, and the judge asked for a plea, and Leanne gets up and says “My client pleads Guilty, your honour.” Boy was I surprised! And then I thought, well, she must have made a good plea bargain to keep me out of jail, maybe that’s why she did it; but no, the judge accepted the Prosecution’s request for at least a three-month term of incarceration. Disaster all around!

Prior to the judge issuing his sentence, I had to listen to this sanctimonious, pompous windbag with his bug eyes and his skeleton teeth, lecturing me on how if people like me were allowed to flaunt the law, democracy would crumble and all the freedoms Mr. Emery enjoys would be lost, and so on, and on, and on. He went on for about twenty minutes in this vein. What an asshole! Then he said, “Three months period of incarceration,” which is ninety-two days. My lawyer asked for credit for time served (my four days in jail when I was arrested back in March), and you are actually supposed to get double remand time of your sentence in other words, eight days’ credit off my ninety-two days, which should have been a total sentence of 84 days, with a third off for good, obedient behaviour. I should have been out of here in 56 days total, instead of the 62 that I am serving. Judge Lavoie said no no remand time credit. What a bastard! Even then at the time I felt two things: shock at how high the sentence was, and at the same time another voice inside me said, “You have no idea what you have just done to me. You will make me more powerful than ever before.”

While I was stunned for that moment, and I was immediately handcuffed and forbidden from even saying goodbye to Cheryl, who was visibly shocked and in disbelief, I saluted her and was hauled away.

I have never, or since then, felt angry at Leanne. She had made a mistake. But even if I had been able to plead Not Guilty, the result would have been the same. The witness was there in court, by subpoena, and I had a Hanging Judge, who wanted to make an example of me.

I have never felt anger at the judge, whose life is much more miserable now, I’m sure. His address has been published, he gets denunciatory letters and emails, lawyers have made fun of him, there is a caricature circulating around with his bug eyes and carnivorous teeth and drool coming out of his mouth; he even sent Saskatoon police over to the daily protestors that hold the Free Marc Emery banner across from the courthouse, to try and find pot on them, but the police didn’t find any pot. The man is evil, but I am not angry with him. He has given me my greatest opportunity I have ever been gifted with and he is now realizing this to his constant dismay. Leanne Johnson, my Saskatoon lawyer, apologized and was embarrassed to have pleaded guilty without my instructions. But her naivete and carelessness has also been a great gift to me here. The cannabis culture in Canada is more united than ever, and more activism is going on than ever before in the history of Canadian prohibition. This is like so many bad things that have happened to me in my life, that have really transformed into the best things to have ever happened to me. Because they have brought me to where I am now, here in prison, clear in my destiny, resolute in my mission and certain in victory.

What made me angry for the first time since being found guilty happened when I called collect to Michelle Rainey, my great second-in-command, fifteen minutes before lockdown which is at 10:30 here. Talking to her at 10:15, she said to me “Marc, I’m sorry to tell you this, but your web log notes that you dictated today were lost on tape, they made an error and everything you dictated is gone.” I went, “What?!” I was furious! I threw the notes, written in long-hand every day, into the garbage right after I dictated them many, many hours earlier, and they were already likely thrown out or covered with all the garbage and slime that the entire B block would put in the garbage bag. I was so angry I visualized myself giving Chris Bennett and Jodie a smack upside the head, but then I said “Listen, I gotta go,” and I hung up. I found the giant bag of today’s garbage, this huge seven foot tall bag and all the day’s garbage from all the prisoners in B block is in it, with all the waste food products for the day, coffee grinds, filth of every kind, and over a hundred meals of leftovers was in this giant garbage bag. And then I yelled out, for the first time, I’ve never yelled in this prison, I yelled “Is this today’s entire garbage?” Some of the inmates answered yes, it was. Yep, it’s all there, they said.

I stripped off my shirt, pulled the bag open and dived in, pulling out heaps of coffee grinds, handfuls of creamed corn, handfuls of chili, old toast, milky stinky cardboard, all sorts of papers, toilet papers, my arms were covered in food waste. A number of guys stood around watching this, “You’ve got about six minutes left,” they said “before lockdown.” Half of my body was inside that garbage bag, covered in slime now.

A-ha! I found it! But all nine pages were completely soaked in creamed corn and coffee grinds and stuck together. However, my writing is in ink, so it was all smeared but still legible. And if the pages dried there, it would stick together and be unusable. So I got the garbage all back in the bag, and quickly washed my arms and torso with only moments to go, and carefully was able to separate each page, each one dripping with creamed corn slime. Then I put each page on a paper towel sheet. Over the next hour, each page dried, and was very yellow but completely legible.

I felt fantastic, and with thirty seconds before lockdown, it was done. I was grateful I didn’t have the chance to vent any anger at anyone. It would have accomplished nothing and made others feel bad. Instead, once again something bad is transformed into an opportunity, and I ended the day feeling very resourceful.

Last night however, something genuinely disturbing happened. Earlier in the evening, I spoke to Michelle, and I have since been very angry about this, a righteous indignation. Michelle told me that the Hamilton police went into Chris Goodwin and Ryan’s new hemp store, Up in Smoke, and saw a woman in a wheelchair smoking a joint. The police told her to put it out. She explained she had an official Canadian government exemption to possess and smoke cannabis. The police insisted she put the joint out and accosted her. What an image! Big bully police trying to seize pot from a crippled, wheelchair-bound woman. She had a heart-attack right there, Michelle told me, and I couldn’t believe it, Oh my God, right fucking there in the store, an ambulance is called and she was taken to hospital. When Michelle told me this I was just livid. “Marc, I have some bad news about Chris’ store in Hamilton,” it began. I swear, there are times to paraphrase Bruce Cockburn, that if I had a gun, some mother-fucking cop would die. I am going to call Chris Goodwin today, collect, and find out the recent details, although I am sure you on the outside reading my notes are already fully informed more than I am. If I were in Hamilton, I would be beside myself with rage and demanding swift retribution against those police. May the police officers receive the torment in their dreams and their waking hours that they so richly deserve.

It hardly seems the time to say so, but Chris Goodwin is a wonderful man, good and true and so devoted to the movement and I urge everyone in Southern Ontario to visit his new hemp store, Up in Smoke. I consider Chris Goodwin a brother, a brother in arms and a very good man. His business partner Ryan is a real go-getter; between the two of them, they will set the movement on fire in the steel city. I also want to say hello to Melissa Goodwin, Chris’ incredible wife and soon-to-be mom. She is a most lovely, sexy, and extraordinary woman whom I love and I’m sending much love to this great couple. I miss you, Chris and Melissa, and I love you both very much. May God bless your store and your child to come.

I demand all the Hamilton area activists take forceful action to protest these barbarians in the Hamilton police department. Up In Smoke is the only authorized dealer of Marc Emery Direct Seeds outside of Vancouver, and I know there is an amazing selection of seeds for sale there. It may seem an odd time to make a plug, but the prices are way below anywhere else, they are authentic and guaranteed, and you must do your part to overgrow the government and support the new centre of Hamilton cannabis activism, the Up in Smoke store.

Now I have been told by Michelle further that there has yet been another arrest made in Up in Smoke, and that the police seemed intent on daily harassment. People must rally to support this store, and protest this police harassment, this police intimidation, the brutality of cannabis prohibition, showing up every day at this new centre, this new leader for activism. Please do not let Up in Smoke be intimidated out of business or in any way cowed. I call upon all the activists in Hamilton to show their strength and support that business now and protest at the Hamilton Police Department, and to picket any and all police officers who are intimidating them. Do not let this happen. This store must succeed, it must grow and it must receive your support.

As to me personally, please keep sending me copies of your letters to the editor that get published about ending cannabis prohibition. I love receiving letters you have sent that have been published that urge the end of this terrible war. I want to hear that a protest of the Hamilton Police Headquarters, which I smoked out exactly a year ago today, is planned right away, and frequently.

I continue to read books here and work hard and read all the letters I gratefully receive from all of you. Time goes quickly and I am never bored. I will be so strong and prepared to lead us to victory when I emerge. In the meantime, I expect all of you to do your duty, and do your part, and as Richard Cowan might say, “What have YOU done for Freedom lately?”

And that concludes today.

Marc Emery

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