Marc Emery: Why did Justin Trudeau put a past kingpin of prohibition in charge of marijuana legalization task force?

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      My extradition to the United States, for which i was arrested on July 29, 2005, was a joint U.S.-Canadian government project involving, remarkably, 30 departments of the U.S. and Canadian governments.

      In Canada it involved Health Canada, the Ministry of Public Safety, the RCMP, Vancouver Police Department, the Canadian prosecutorial service, Immigration Canada, the B.C. solicitor general, the B.C. attorney general, and even the office of the deputy prime minister.

      From 2002 when the U.S. opened its case against me, to July 2005 when I was arrested, the Liberal government of the day under Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin had Alberta MP Anne McLellan as point person in the three cabinet portfolios that were responsible for extraditing me; she was variously the justice, health, and public safety minister in those three years, as well as being deputy prime minister on the day I was arrested on July 29, 2005.

      Earlier this month, McLellan was made chairperson of the legalization task force. This task force will listen to submissions by the public and experts in the fall and winter and come up with legislation proposals. But with former Toronto police chief Bill Blair and McLellan heading up the legalization file, is it any wonder NDP MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach rose in the House of Commons on June 3 to say this:

      “Mr. Speaker, the Liberals made a big promise to legalize marijuana. However, the government just assigned the file to the former justice minister, who has said in the past that she is opposed to the medical use of marijuana.

      Let me summarize. A former police chief and now a pot opponent are in charge of the legalization of marijuana. That is like putting Colonel Sanders in charge of the hen house.

      Is the prime minister preparing to kill his own plan to legalize marijuana?”

      Someone finally said the obvious!

      McLellan has a history of fighting marijuana use

      In her time in the Liberal government spotlight, McLellan called marijuana a “scourge”, suggested that marijuana led to the murder of four Mounties in the Alberta town of Mayerthorpe, promised a Liberal government would never be “in the business of legalizing marijuana”, wanted judges who refused to give tough penalties for weed offences to explain their reasons in writing to her, said “we do not want Canadians to use marijuana”, and “essentially instructed staff to obstruct the processing of Canadians” trying to access marijuana to relieve pain.

      In an August 17, 2005, Vancouver Sun article entitled “Irwin Cotler Throws Up Smokescreen”, columnist Ian Mulgrew speculated on McLellan’s fingerprints being all over the Emery extradition file, noting she was a "pro-American hawk and rabid anti-pot crusader”.

      In the months before my arrest for extradition to the United States, I was jousting with McLellan in newspapers about the four Mounties killed by a lone shooter in Alberta who had some marijuana plants in a barn. 

      It was laid out in a Calgary Sun article entitled "Political Furor Sparked", which was published on March 5, 2005.

      Here's a snippet of what appeared:

      “What we’re doing is enhancing the Criminal Code by increasing the maximum sentences that courts can levy against grow-ops,” McLellan told reporters.

      “This is hysteria,” said Marc Emery, the leader of the BC Marijuana Party, “the bodies are hardly even cold and already they want to imprison tens of thousands more people growing marijuana. If marijuana were legal, we wouldn’t have any of these problems. I regard this as the ultimate political exploitation.” 

      Pot smokers should be outraged

      McLellan’s appointment sadistically mocks everyone who has worked for and supported this movement. It mocks the voters. Are we dumb enough to think that McLellan’s lust for meanness towards marijuana sinners has suddenly disappeared?

      McLellan’s appointment to a marijuana file is like bringing the Ku Klux Klan back to write civil rights legislation.

      Now magazine of Toronto published an article on July 26, 2007, about a government audit of the medical marijuana program, which stated: “The audit makes particular note of a 2003 meeting at which then Health Minister Anne McLellan essentially instructed staff to obstruct the processing of Canadians seeking medpot.”

      I wrote in earlier blogs that the most important aspect of this legalization task force is to remind the committee and the country of the millions of victims of the 50 years of marijuana prohibition. McLellan in that sense is the perfect foil. After all, as health minister, justice minister, and public safety minister, she’s one of those responsible for so many prohibition victims. 

      Anne McLellan was deputy prime minister in a previous Liberal government that supported the extradition of Marc Emery for selling marijuana seeds over the Internet.

      So here are my questions for the chairperson of the legalization task force. And since the Trudeau government has repeatedly put forth its desire for transparency, I’m sure I will get my chance to put these questions to chairperson McLellan in person when the task force goes traveling across Canada to hear from Canadians.

      • “Madame Chairperson, it's been a long, long time. Eleven years ago, before I was earmarked for exile by your government, we were talking about marijuana prohibition. We’re back to continue that conversation now. At that time, you and I were talking about the hysteria you created by claiming marijuana was responsible for the death of four Mounties in Mayerthorpe, Alberta. We learned a lesson there. Before any evidence is presented we must be assured it is going to be objectively studied. Otherwise, we are all wasting our time. Is this possible with you, Madame Chairperson?"

      • "Thousands of lives have been hurt and damaged because of your belief that marijuana is a scourge. On March 5, 2005, the Toronto Sun reported you saying 'Marijuana production is a violent, organized scourge that juries must battle with firm sentences.' Do you still believe this?"

      • "You said in the Toronto Sun of May 4, 2005, 'We', meaning the Liberal government of your day, 'we are not in the business of legalizing marijuana. We are in the business of putting in place a new penalty regime for small amounts of marijuana.' Is this still your belief?"

      • “Do you believe the government should not allow Canadians to use marijuana?”

      • “Do you believe marijuana was the reason for the murder of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe?”

      • “Do you still believe the government is not in the business of legalizing marijuana?”

      • “As a cabinet minister, you were instrumental in co-operating with the U.S. government in my extradition from Canada to the U.S. penal system. Would you do the same today? Why did you do it then?”

      • “Do you believe Health Canada staff should still be instructed to obstruct Canadians trying to access medical marijuana?”

      • “What would you have done to Health Canada staff if they had refused to follow your orders to obstruct the processing of Canadians seeking to access medical marijuana? Specifically, would they have been fired? Did any Health Canada staff refuse to follow orders? Did any quit?”

      • “Do you have any regrets about ordering medical cannabis to be witheld from ill and suffering people in pain? As a result, do you feel any guilt or remorse for your sanctions?”

      • “Do you feel you owe these suffering Canadians an apology for the intentional denial of their pain through the obstruction and delay of their access to medical cannabis?

      •“ Do you feel you owe Canadians an apology for the damage marijuana prohibition has done to Canada, to its government and institutions, and to its citizens?”

      • “Do you still work for the law firm of Bennett Jones LLP that describes itself as a 'very entrepreneurial law firm' that wants to be the 'go to' law firm for licensed producers (LPs) of marijuana in Canada?”

      This last question is what should disqualify McLellan for the appearance of a conflict of interest. But then Justin Trudeau was first introduced to “legalization” by Tweed Marijuana licensed producer cofounder Chuck Rifici, who has gotten rich as a consequence of his investment in his LP, and who has been agitating for all competing dispensaries and cannabis sellers to be arrested and shut down.

      Rifici is also the chief financial officer of the Liberal Party of Canada. McLellan’s place of employment openly seeks licensed providers to represent while she maintains impartiality on this task force.

      How can the task force be taken seriously?

      McLellan, the insensate Prohibition zealot who aided in my exile and the denial of medicine for thousands of Canadians—and whose law firm represents the corporate beneficiaries of the Conservative government's Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations program—is the official face of Trudeau’s “legalization”.

      How does this task force have any credibility? It doesn’t, but that makes no difference to this government. 

      McLellan is refusing all interviews about her appointment. She knows her past beliefs are lunacy to others but others don’t count. Anyone who uses the word “scourge” to describe something is not likely to change her mind about that.

      Scourge is a word worth paying attention to because it indicates a specific mindset. It's much worse than “dangerous”. Dangers can be avoided or protections enacted.

      Not so for a scourge. A scourge represents a curse, a menace, a plague, a bane of existence, doom, calamity, disaster. It's a very grim word. It is in an entirely different emotional category. You will not be allowed to grow your own scourge. 

      In light of this, how can the public believe that anything is going to change the minds of Blair and McLellan? That’s why they were appointed. Bill and Anne are among the most adamant, longest-serving, influential, and hard-core prohibitionists in this country. They are proven ideological fanatics when it comes to marijuana.

      Both were literally on the front lines of Prohibition for years. Bill the Narc was out there lying and busting on behalf of a drug squad that the Toronto Star has linked to a 30-year history of corruption. Later, he became police chief.

      Anne was supplying the reefer-madness ideology, hysteria, and laws to keep drug cops like Bill employed.

      This Prohibition pair are both working for a government intent on protecting Canada’s licensed producers, quite clearly.

      They will pick other prohibitionists for this task force and begin their already predictable deliberations.

      Marc Emery is a long-time crusader for marijuana legalization and the founder of Cannabis Culture Headshop and Vapor Lounge at 1674 Davie Street in Vancouver. For years, his company's original location at 307 West Hastings Street was the only Vancouver business to allow pot consumption indoors.

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