Marc Emery's US Federal Prison blog #10: Letter to Jodie
I will have a hard time finding the time to type & email out the chapters of the proposed book I'm writing, so I may have to just send you my notes in long hand, which is how I do my first draft anyway. I'll just edit it and rewrite the second draft more neatly and forward it along to you by mail rather than using up valuable computer time. The chapters are much longer than my editor specified, but there's so much to tell that I thought I'd put it down and leave it for you and him to edit. It's better to have too much information as opposed to too little.
The first chapter deals with my first album purchase when I was 14 (up to then I bought 45 rpm single songs), which was Cheech & Chong's BIG BAMBU album. I memorized that album, finding their voices mocking, exaggerated and subversive. I really thought marijuana smoking was a comedic form of social rebellion. I was a teenager who found my obsession with Marvel Comic books as gratifying a mind changer as I could imagine, along with my comic book business called "Marc's Comic Room" (named so because I sold the comics originally from my bedroom in my parents house from 1971 to 1975, when I was aged 12 to 16) and my budding love of science-fiction, I had no concept of the need for "drugs" or marijuana.
Then I jump to 1979 whereupon I discover Ayn Rand and the tremendous life-changing effect on my life, and how that happened. Then to December 21, 1980 when I meet Sandra, and I discover the joy of a cannabis high while falling in love with her that night. Then we jump to 1991 when I sponsor a spoken word performer (and former front man for the punk band Dead Kennedys) to perform his new CD "I Blow Minds For A living" at Centennial Hall in London, Ontario.
I had found out about Jello Biafra while doing my radio show on CHRW called "Radio Free Speech: Revolution Through Rock & Rap", and got together $5,000 to pay him his fee (of $3,000) and to rent the Hall for a night ($2,000 with sound equipment). We sold 420 tickets at $10 each, so I only lost about $1,000. In that performance of his then-current CD, there was a 15-minute segment called "Grow More Pot" about this book, by a guy named Jack Herer, called the Emperor Wears No Clothes. Biafra spoke about this conspiracy to suppress the history of the hemp plant and its incredible history in the world, and particularly Canada and the USA; that George Washington was America's biggest cannabis farmer ever; that the Declaration of Independence was written on cannabis hemp paper, and it was mandatory to be grown in the early colonies, and in World War 2, the US Department of Agriculture urged farmers to GROW HEMP FOR VICTORY.
After his performance, I found out the book was banned in Canada, and all magazines and books about marijuana and drugs were, in fact, banned and had been banned for 4 years, since 1987. So I vowed to break the ban by selling these books and magazines over the next 10 months. I don't get charged (unlike when I opened my store illegally on Sundays), even though I took out ads announcing my plans and sold copies in front of the police station, but I do end up bringing Jack Herer, Steve Hager, Ed Rosenthal & Paul Mavrides to London to autograph and speak about their work.
I got frustrated with everything after so many campaigns and so little change, so in July 1992 I moved to Asia with my partner Deb, and her two kids Jordon & Jeremy. While in Asia I saw in a government-banned newspaper an article about the Conservative leadership convention between Jean Charest & Kim Campbell. It came up that they both had smoked pot. This is the only article about Canada I saw in Asia in two years, and it’s all about how pot is very common in this place called the "lower mainland of British Columbia". Piquing my interest, I joked, "If we ever go broke here, we'll have to go to BC and set up some kind of hemp revolution business." I laughed at the thought of going broke, as if it would never happen, but the idea keeps evolving in my head anyway.
8 months later, I really was nearly broke after foolishly spending $30,000 building a dream chalet on the side of this magnificent lake, Lake Maninjau, in West Sumatra, Indonesia. I got completely defrauded of my money, the house was built – a spectacular place, but I never spent a day inside it after completion, as the property owners rented it out to wealthy tourists and I was bollocksed. Crying in despair one day when my money situation got critical, I announced, pulling my head up out of my tear-strewn hands, that we are going to Vancouver to begin this hemp revolution business.
Once I arrived, I quickly got to work in this unfamiliar new city of Vancouver that I did not know. I sold “High Times” magazines and the book “Grow yer own Stone” door-to-door on the street to raise money, beginning April 11, 1994, and by July 7, 1994, I opened "HEMP BC: the Marijuana & Hemp Center for Greater Vancouver", as my first storefront sign read.
That’s the summary of the first chapter. So I'll finish the first draft tonight, and then try to re-write it as neatly as possible by hand and mail it to you. Hopefully these issues of time use on the computer can be dealt with. If I do need more time, there are very few people wanting to use it at 8 am in the morning, when most inmates (including me) are still sleeping, but I may have to rearrange my schedule and perhaps type up my chapters in that period when there is little pressure to use the email.
I am in good health, my sweetheart, and I am working on my letters, books, and currently reading “god Is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens, back to back with Robert Crumb's illustrated Book of Genesis, from the Bible. The Bible is total fairy tale nonsense, albeit nicely illustrated by Crumb, but that any sentient human can find value in such a story is beyond belief – or rather it IS belief. Religion is strange stuff indeed.
I am gratified by all your great work on my behalf, and thank you for all the time you spend on my FREE MARC campaign. Without you, I would surely be so demoralized, as this is a hard place to be. I look forward to calling you tonight and especially your visit this Saturday, the highlight of my difficult existence here.
I love you immensely and long for the time when I am back at your side, as I ought to be and deserve to be. Hopefully people are writing the Minister of Public Safety and urging friends and relatives of theirs to do so also. I need thousands of letters on my behalf to flood the Minister: “Please repatriate Marc Emery at your earliest opportunity.”
I am very gratified that the opinion writers and editorialists of every stripe are condemning the escalating Conservative attempts to fill the prisons and expand the prisons. We need an election immediately and I hope you are doing your best to urge one in your writings and comments. It is essential we change governments. The country is being dragged, by the Tories, into a dark place of punishment and intolerance and irrationality because theocratic fundamentalist Christians have the government in its grip. People should read “The Armageddon Factor”, “Harper’s Team” and “Sheeple” to find out how bad it’s gotten.
I Love You so much, and goodbye for now,
Your devoted and grateful husband,