By Sandra Thomas, Vancouver Courier
Cosmetic pesticide use was banned in Vancouver Jan. 1, 2007.
But the sale of pesticides wasn’t banned. So as long as you promise the sales-clerk at your local garden shop or big box store that you’re intending to use that bottle or box of chemicals anywhere but in the soon-to-be greenest city in the world, you can make your purchase and leave.
That sales-clerk has no way of knowing if you plan to use those pesticides in Vancouver or in a municipality where the toxic chemicals are also banned. It makes me wonder if there would be any repercussions should the purchaser of those chemicals be busted using them illegally and the package was traced back to a Vancouver store.
I’m confident nothing would happen because as I mentioned earlier, it’s not against the law to sell pesticides in Vancouver. And what if pesticides with a Vancouver-based price tag were found in the home of a Washington State resident living in a jurisdiction where the ban also exists? Would the Vancouver seller be hauled south of the border to face charges of dealing in an illegal substance? I doubt it. And should Washington officials attempt to extradite a Canadian citizen for selling a product legally available in Vancouver, I would hope our government officials would stand up and say no way.
Which brings me to Marc Emery.
Emery was busted in 2005 for selling marijuana seeds to Americans through his Vancouver-based mail order business. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Emery likely sold millions of the seeds, which they say translates into millions of pot plants, a figure I heartily dispute as the unsuccessful grower of anything beginning with a seed.
After fighting for more than five years to avoid jail time in an American prison, Emery took a plea bargain and began a five-year sentence last Friday. The Prince of Pot wasn’t busted by Canadian authorities for selling his product in Vancouver, but instead by a country where selling pot seeds is considered a crime worthy of five years in a federal penitentiary. Emery and his defence team are fighting to have him serve his sentence in Canada, which is only fair, considering the Canadian authorities should have never allowed his extradition for a "crime" for which he never would have been busted if he’d kept his seeds north of the 49th parallel.
If all goes well, Emery will serve just four to six weeks in an American federal prison before being transferred back to Canada to serve out his sentence. Some people now complain Canadian taxpayers will be stuck financially for keeping Emery in jail for a crime he was found guilty of in the U.S. But in a city where pot smoking is pretty much ignored by local cops and government, Emery was made a scapegoat in the so-called war on drugs, which by the way is now being credited for the deaths of more than 28,000 people in Mexico since 2006. That’s right, 28,000.
I was saddened to read on the weekend that Emery has promised to quit smoking pot if that will help get him home. I don’t have a lot in common with chronic pot smokers–I’m too Type A to appreciate their laid back demeanor, but come on, this is the Prince of Pot. Love him or hate him, Emery has been fighting to legalize marijuana in Canada for more than 30 years. But finally our government has broken him. It took the help of what’s considered the most powerful country in the world, but collectively they finally brought the bespectacled Emery to his knees.
This Saturday activists from around the world are hosting Free Marc Emery rallies, including three in Vancouver. For times and locations go to www.freemarc.ca.