Former U.S. prosecutor of Marc Emery condemns pot prohibition in B.C.

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      A former top U.S. law enforcement official who prosecuted marijuana activist Marc Emery says prohibition of the drug is a failed policy in North America.

      John McKay, who served as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington State, is among those calling for marijuana to be taxed and regulated.

      “Criminal prohibition of marijuana is a complete failure,” he said during an event organized by the anti-prohibition group Stop the Violence B.C.

      “It’s a failure in the United States. I would respectfully offer that it’s a failure here in Canada as well.”

      McKay said marijuana prohibition fuels a violent, organized crime-controlled black market that is a threat to public safety on both sides of the border.

      “I think it’s time to rethink our criminalization policy and prohibition policy on marijuana,” he said.

      Emery’s wife, Jodie, sat beside McKay at the event and welcomed his support in the campaign to change drug policy.

      Jodie Emery said she understands McKay was just doing his duty as a law enforcement official when he prosecuted her husband.

      However, she said she does not believe her husband should be in prison.

      “I still miss him terribly but I understand that this law, the prohibition of marijuana, forces police to continue to arrest people and put them in prison,” she said.

      “And when we get people who are on the front line, who saw the damage done, admit that the policy needs to be changed, I think that’s always a wonderful thing.”

      McKay, a law professor at Seattle University, said he is speaking out now that he is no longer responsible for implementing U.S. drug laws.

      He said he does not regret prosecuting Marc Emery, a Vancouver entrepreneur who admitted to selling marijuana seeds and is now serving time in a federal prison in the U.S.

      “If that was Mr. Emery’s purpose, to change policy, I think he chose the wrong path,” McKay said.

      In Washington State, McKay is also sponsoring a ballot initiative to allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated.

      Geoff Plant, a former B.C. attorney general who also opposes marijuana prohibition, welcomed McKay’s efforts.

      Plant said he is pleased to hear assurance from McKay that drug-policy reforms in Canada would not harm relations with the U.S.

      Stop the Violence B.C., the organizers of today’s event at a downtown Vancouver hotel, is supported by officials from a range of fields including public health and law enforcement.

      The advocacy group is also behind the recent release of letters from former Vancouver mayors and former B.C. attorneys general calling for an end to marijuana prohibition.

      Evan Wood, founder of Stop the Violence B.C., said the province faces gang violence and organized crime problems because of the illegal marijuana industry.

      “Although police have been acknowledging this, your average British Columbian, and Canadian for that matter, doesn’t know that all the grow-ops and all the organized crime concerns are really a direct result of marijuana prohibition,” he said.




      Apr 18, 2012 at 4:09pm

      Geoff Plant was "just following orders". U.S. Attorney John McKay was "just following orders". And on and on and on.

      If only these good soldiers had taken a stand when they had the chance to make a real difference. Instead, they waited until they were out of harm's way ... after doing all the damage they could possibly do.

      Gentleman Jack

      Apr 18, 2012 at 4:22pm

      “I still miss him terribly but I understand that this law, the prohibition of marijuana, forces police to continue to arrest people and put them in prison,” she said.

      It does not.
      "Just following orders to rob the _____ of their ______" stopped being an excuse after Nuremberg.

      There need to be war crimes trials for the perpetrators of the war on drugs---from the commanders down to the foot soldiers whose eyes were blinded by the filthy lucre of their paycheques. At least the Nazis had a big National Story about how their violence was important---it's plain to see that drugcops are filth in it for the money, nothing more than mercenaries.


      Apr 18, 2012 at 11:24pm

      "Now that I've retired from my career in violence and theft, I've decided to declare violence and theft immoral. Please clap for me now."

      Blaine Barrett

      Apr 19, 2012 at 1:07am

      The Personal Growing of Marijuana is Doomed.
      It really has nothing to do with Ottawa. The primary obstacle is obstruction
      at the Municipal Level as demonstrated by Surrey with its deterrent Application and Bylaws.
      Poor people need not apply

      Nobody wants us.

      Gentleman Jack

      Apr 19, 2012 at 9:17am

      The growing of marihuana is far more fundamental than municipal Government. If Municipal Governments dare to obstruct the natural right to garden, then they should be razed.

      R U Kiddingme

      Apr 19, 2012 at 10:29am

      @DavidH and Birdy

      Aside from being melodramic, your posts are antidemocratic. It is up to the electorate to press for changes to the law. It is not the role of the bureaucrats to arbitrarily and individually change the law. McKay is to be commended for speaking up, and the timing of it was not up to him!

      Apr 20, 2012 at 2:46pm

      I have bone spurs in my neck, my hips, and knee, I vomit every day, my eyes are always red and burning out of my skull also light sensitivity, get massive migraine headaches, my big toe sometimes feels like it has been hit with a hammer, also get drilling pain in back of ankle, depression, I had a doctor who supported medical marijauna then I moved to surrey, I went to numerous doctors to get pot rx but all doctors refused, only gave me prescription narcs and psychiatric drugs. I recently changed doctors to get adequate treatment. a few years ago, my kids were taken from me due to a house fire/marijauna use. family members tried to take custody of my kids, and they also called me lazy among other things that I will not type on here. I am very polite, obey the laws, I have learning intellectual disabilities and have ...difficulties getting community resources. my wife has typed this for me cuz I cant spell words more than 4 letters. it is insulting to all canadians to not legalize pot, it is sad that people are getting shot, killed and robbed over pot and other hard drugs. we are all just people on this earth, trying to get along. does any of this make sense to anyone? I think everyone should write their mla to pressure government to legalize all drugs. my wife disagrees about hard drugs like heroin and cocaine but people will always do these drugs no matter what. I smoke pot for my health issues and it has always helped, I don't like opiates, percs, narcs. 24 hrs opiates make me too flocking high. anyone who want to me at


      Apr 20, 2012 at 4:03pm

      re: R U Kiddingme

      How exactly was the timing not up to him? He could have said this in the middle of the trial, then quit. That would have hit the mainstream media in both countries a lot harder.

      If Willie Pickton wrote an article saying that murdering prostitutes is wrong, but he "doesn't regret" murdering them, would you congratulate him too?

      These people who wait until their golden parachutes are cemented in to speak fondly of basic logic and peaceful human interaction need to fuck off to some luxury golf course and enjoy their ill-gotten pensions with the elite banker thieves and members of the military industrial complex they served throughout their entire career.

      Regarding democracy.. the right to own your own body and put whatever you want in it is, indeed, anti-democratic, so I'll take your comment as a compliment. You don't get to vote on what I do with my body, so long as it doesn't hurt others. Democracy is not a synonym for freedom, rather mob rule, a dangerous servant not to be blindly fetishized.