Some of you may know the story of Marc Emery—entrepreneur, rabble-rouser in the best sense of the term, and now a marijuana cause celebre, jailed in Seattle because FBI/DEA agents bought seeds from his store in Vancouver and smuggled them across the border. He would’ve been rich had he kept the money he earned, but he never did—instead he gave it away to causes he believed in, mainly the legalization of pot. Think about this for a second: he’s arguing for the legalization of a plant that’s proven to be beneficial. So he’s in jail, really, because he’s a shit-stirrer and Mister Harper doesn’t like his shit stirred, apparently.
Recently I’ve been reading David Crosby’s book Stand And Be Counted, which I recommend to you all; it got me to thinking that with so many musicians here in Canada and in the U.S. who are open about their pot use and their stance on the issue overall, there should be no trouble garnering interest in the idea of a benefit show for Marc, and to (I hate the term but here goes anyway) “raise awareness” about the fact that uncounted thousands of prisoners on either side of the border are jailed on pot charges and those only. While straight now himself, Crosby himself’s still prone to attacking folks on the other side of the issue, such as when he asked someone in Kentucky why its number-one cash crop remains illegal.
If you still aren’t convinced (and if not, why the fuck are you still reading this?), consider the number of farm-belt states whose economies would literally be rescued through legalization. Look, forget moral implications; they don’t exist, they’re red herrings thrown by the idiot Right. Forget the arguments about pot as a gateway drug; it isn’t, and science has proven it. We’re left, then, with pragmatic considerations, but these are the most important: How many people remain in jail on pot charges? (Too goddamn many) How much tax revenue could come from legalization? (A shit-pot load) There you are, people.
And therein lies the reason for a benefit show.
It’d need an organizer, someone with the gravitas to put it together, but damn it, we need to do this. Talk it up among your friends. Bring it to Cannabis Culture and Jodie Emery; if she and Marc are willing, it could actually be a benefit in more ways than one.
What happened to Marc can happen to you and me today, tomorrow, whenever but it can happen, and you’d better be afraid of the consequences. You don’t want to serve one night in jail anywhere, especially in places like the U.S., believe you me. Marc Emery’s looking at five years.
In the early seventies, John Sinclair got arrested in Ann Arbor, MI for possession of two joints. John and Yoko Lennon among others did a benefit show for him, and it helped make a little headway. “They gave him ten for two/what else could the bastards do?/Got to got to got to got to set him/free.”
Amen. And now it’s Marc’s turn. Like Sinclair, he deserves this effort, for himself and for the broader cause he’s attempting to serve. Let’s get this damn thing started. It’s ridiculous, absolutely fucking ridiculous that we have to in the first place because pot should have been legal for years now people like Marc have no business languishing in a jail cell. Just imagine what the energies of this community would be capable of completing if this job was already finished, and that’s the measure of time we’ve all wasted on what should always have been a no-brainer. Free Marc, of course—but that’s just a beginning, as he already knows.