As Marc Emery returns to Canada, U.S. scientists still face obstacles researching medicinal marijuana
After serving a five-year prison sentence for selling marijuana seeds to U.S. customers, Vancouver's Marc Emery is expected to cross the border back into Canada on Tuesday (August 12).
His wife Jodie will be flying to Windsor on Monday (August 11) and will be waiting for him on the following day in the plaza outside Windsor City Hall.
"I'm definitely excited, a little stunned almost," Jodie told the Georgia Straight by phone. "It's kind of surreal."
She and her husband expect that he'll be escorted by U.S. marshals to the border between Detroit and Windsor. This will occur after he's flown, possibly in chains, to the Motor City from Louisiana, where he's still in custody.
Jodie said that she's basing the details of the upcoming release on what a former cellmate of Emery said. He's a Canadian who was held in the U.S. on a drug charge, and he came escorted back in chains before being instructed to walk across the border.
"That's why we picked Windsor City Hall," she said. "It's a half a block away."
She had hoped to bring Marc some clothing to wear before realizing that all of his garments are at least eight or nine years old.
Jodie also mentioned that she had to throw out his sweaters a few months ago because they'd been devoured by moths.
"Everything of his was stained, torn, ripped up, or barely held together before he left because we didn't get him anything new for years before that," she said. "I'm just figuring out what I need to bring for him. He has absolutely nothing."
The Emerys will return to Vancouver, likely around 9:30 or 10 a.m., on Sunday (August 17). From around noon onward that day, there will be a party in Victory Square across the street from the headquarters of their marijuana-related businesses.
"We'll also let Marc speak to the public when he does arrive," Jodie said. "He just wants to meet people all day long. He'll be making himself very available."
One of the first orders of business upon his return will be to see a dentist and a doctor. According to his wife, he suffered a large red bruise on his leg for which there's no explanation. Once he's in Vancouver, the couple plans to head to Granville Island to stock up on healthy fruits and vegetables.
"It's been very expensive keeping him safe and sound with healthy food," Jodie revealed.
In a June phone interview from a Mississippi prison, Emery told the Straight's Travis Lupick that he plans to resume his activism upon his return.
Emery has become a strong supporter of the federal Liberals after Justin Trudeau called for the legalization of marijuana.
"Getting rid of Stephen Harper and making sure Justin Trudeau is elected along with the Liberal party is a pretty major job,” Emery said at the time. "Really, the only job that I’m going to have in the next year.”
Jodie said that she has just received her papers to put her name forward for the Liberal nomination in Vancouver East. The riding has been represented by the NDP's Libby Davies since 1997.
"That's why I need to go to the Vancouver police station today for a criminal-record check," Jodie said. "It's pretty standard for political-office applications."
While Emery was in jail, voters in Colorado and Washington states passed initiatives legalizing possession of marijuana. A similar vote will take place this year in the District of Columbia.
In addition, 23 states and the District of Columbia allow the sale of medicinal marijuana.
Despite these measures, people who research the medicinal use of pot have run into roadblocks in the United States, according to an article in today's New York Times.
One academic quoted in the piece, Dr. Sue Sisley, alleges she was fired from the University of Arizona because of "her outspoken support for marijuana research". She sought funding to examine its effect on war veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder.