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The History of Marc’s Prison Bands Behind Bars

submitted by on December 13, 2012

Marc's prison band It’s December 6 today, I've got 4 months until I get my transfer-back-to-Canada application to the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. It’s 580 days to go if I serve my entire sentence here in the US federal prison system (up to July 9, 2014) with 1,010 days now served – that’s 33 months done, 19 to go (on a 60-month sentence, I'll serve 52 months with my good time credit).

My band, Yazoo, performed its eleventh concert on the afternoon of Saturday, November 24. Our set list turned out to be 20 songs in just over 2 hours. I've been playing a bass guitar just over 18 months now, having never played any instrument in my life prior to coming here to Yazoo City federal prison (one of the inspirations for the name of the band, which I chose, since it’s my band). I remember shortly after my arrival picking up a guitar on May 7, 2011 and deciding to learn the instrument.

I struggled and showed no talent, but on the tenth day, a guy named Grizz who was in this amazing band I had heard in concert in my first weekend here noticed I was giving it a try, and said "Have you ever considered learning the bass guitar?"

"Uh no, should I?" I said.

"Well, I think our band is going to need a bass player shortly, and if you worked on the bass everyday, I'd teach you, and you could be in our band."

I was dumbfounded. "You mean, I could be in your amazing band if I started learning the bass????!!!!"

"Yeah, it shouldn't be too hard."

Rock and roll fantasy overruled my trepidation, and I said yes. So Grizz, a guy who'd been inside 30 years (1982 to 2011) with swastikas and white power tattoos and slogans covering his entire arms, patiently and kindly and expertly taught me bass guitar starting that day and every day for 2-4 hours, always outside, often in 100 degrees Fahrenheit days for weeks on end. Despite the tattoos and Grizz's gruff persona, I never heard him say an insulting word about anyone in all the time I knew him. He said he'd left that confrontation part of his life (the swastika/white power stuff) behind him.

Six weeks later on July 2, 2011, I performed live my first concert, 8 songs, including All Along the Watchtower, Purple Haze, Sunshine of Your Love, Tightrope (SR Vaughan), and Johnny B. Goode. I only was able to do root notes, but I got through it okay, and I was pleased that I was a 'musician' now. Grizz was the bandleader, and a great bassist, but Grizz wanted to be the singer in the band and play rhythm guitar, Terry would be the lead guitarist, and Sapp would be the drummer, so that’s how I got the job on bass. The name of the band was 'Stuck' (as in 'Stuck in Prison').

Oddly, within a few weeks of working together, he made me assistant band leader (though I knew virtually nothing at the time about the mechanics of music or being in a band) and he had the band paperwork amended to say that. "In case something happens to me, you can keep the band going," he said.

Well, by August, just before our second concert, something did happen to Grizz. The prison assigned him a new cellmate, one whom, it was said, has a sex offense. Well, Grizz was very old-school, spending most of his 30 years inside in penitentiaries (maximum security), and he could not be the cellmate of a sex offender. Grizz had actually received an additional ten years to his remaining prison sentence for stabbing a sex offender nearly to death; in this situation Grizz tempered his instincts and merely said to the new cellmate, "you can't be in here with me, you have to roll up." In prison, to 'roll-up' means to turn yourself in to protective custody, which is solitary. But when someone here is forced by other prisoners to 'roll-up', the prison demands to know who pressured you to 'roll-up', otherwise they won't put you in protective custody. So that day both the so-called sex offender and Grizz were taken to the SHU (solitary housing unit), and after several months in solitary for each, both were transferred to other facilities.

Then my drummer Sapp got into a fight, so he went to solitary for two months. So in August last year I was missing my drummer and bandleader/vocalist/rhythm guitarist. The band went through some adjustments, merging with a reggae band for two months, doing Bob Marley songs like I Shot the Sheriff, No Woman, No Cry and Stir It Up.

Then we reformed our original group, as Sapp came back, we got a new vocalist, and the band became Yazoo (because it’s where we met, where I learned bass, and where we practice and play). We got a singer named Victor, who also played rhythm guitar. In that period, we played country songs like Out In The Backwoods, Killing Time, Don't Blink, and Way Out Here and rock songs. By this point I was no longer doing songs in root notes, but full proper bass lines, but my notes weren't ringing out enough and I wasn't always very smooth.

Victor decided to strike out and form his own band about a year ago (he still hasn't ever got a band successfully together, but we're still friends and he's a great talent), so we got soul singer named Trece as our vocalist and went through a period of soul/R&B songs like Sittin on the Dock of the Bay, A Change is Gonna Come, Stormy Monday, Easy Like Sunday Morning. Trece was released from prison at the same time as our rival band 'Out of Bounds' broke-up when their drummer/singer was transferred, so Chap the bass player and Don the guitarist from Out of Bounds joined us back in March, and that’s been our line-up since: Chap singing the vocals, I play bass, and Don and Terry do alternate leads on guitar.

It’s a pretty amazing band now, and I can't believe I'm in it. I've practiced every day for over 18 months and I've really gotten much better. My finger memory is way improved, my notes ring out, and I can be taught a song often in just two or three afternoons. Sometimes, like with Texas Flood (by Stevie Ray Vaughan), or Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid (Led Zeppelin), it takes me 30 days to get it right though. Just today, in my afternoon practice I was doing Money by Pink Floyd and I sounded so much better than six months ago – it’s been that long since I even practiced it, and I sounded much better just doing it out of the blue after that huge absence than I used to sound, even when I practiced every day for weeks back then.

I practice on an acoustic bass every afternoon, which is kind of largish and a little awkward to set comfortably on one's thigh to play, and then on Monday evenings we rehearse as a group our songs that we've been practicing on independently. Terry and I always practice together every afternoon, and Don and Chap often work together in the evenings, and all five of us put it together Monday nights from 5:30 to 8pm in the wonderful electric band room with amplification and electric bass and guitars. I play with a Carvin bass to a Carvin amplifier on Monday nights and in concert. When I get out I'm going to buy an electric Fender Precision Select bass.

Marc's prison band poster by Gary WintleOur set list on November 25 was:

1. Running Down A Dream (Tom Petty)
2. Come Together (Beatles)
3. Black Magic Woman (Santana)
4. Jumpin Jack Flash (Rolling Stones)
5. Blue on Black (KW Shepherd)
6. Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid (Led Zeppelin)
7. Too Young (Garth Brooks)
8. Turn the Page (Bob Seger)
9. Pride and Joy (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
10. Texas Flood (SRV)
11. Plush (Stone Temple Pilots)
12. Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne)
13. Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
14. Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)
15. Enter Sandman (Metallica)
16. Hey Joe (Hendrix)
17. Purple Haze (Hendrix)
18. Red House (Hendrix)
19. White Room (Cream)
20. Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin)

It was a beautiful clear, sunny afternoon and I was pleased with how the concert turned out, my only real difficulty was a cramp in my right hand (where my index and middle finger alternate hitting the strings) when Terry did an eight-minute lead guitar solo at the end of Whole Lotta Love, and as the bassist I do the riff B-D-B-D-E E-E E-E throughout most of the song, including the solo, and I just had to stop and hit the low E string for a minute before coming back in the riff once the cramp subsided. After 130 minutes of playing, I was tapped out!

Since Terry, Don and Chap are very experienced musicians with 28, 12 and 13 years respectively of regular playing to their credit, we agreed to scrap our existing repertoire for the next concert and develop a new set list, because they are a bit bored of playing the same songs with only three news ones each concert. So for the January concert (we're going to pass on a Christmas show, we won't have the new songs all ready), here's our set list, each of us choosing three new songs plus keeping Running Down A Dream, Texas Flood, and Turn The page, which we've only done once in concert:

I chose:
Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple)
Stray Cat Strut (Stray Cats)
Beautiful Day (U2)

Chap chose:
Your Disease (Saliva)
Isolation (Alter Bridge)
Last Resort (Papa Roach)

Don Chose:
All Right Now (Free)
Simple Man (Shinedown)
Kryptonite
(Don will sing these three while Chap plays guitar on them with Terry)

Terry chose:
Surfing With An Alien (Joe Satriani)
Boys Are Back in Town (Thin Lizzy)
Eruption/Ain't Talkin Bout Love/You Really Got Me (Van Halen medley)

I've already got the bass down for Boys Are Back in Town, Last Resort, Simple Man, and have a grasp on but need to do hard work on Stray Cat Strut, All Right Now, Surfing With The Alien (this is a fast song!!!!!) and the two Van Halen songs (Eruption is just a lead guitar). Then on to the remaining five!

I want to say thank you to the amazing people of Alberta's cannabis community who held their third annual Christmas fundraiser for me in Lethbridge, and raised a record amount of $1,680, which I am extremely grateful for! That will pay for my commissary (food, toiletries, clothing), phone and email, music downloads, photo copies, and postage for two full months. The first fundraiser was organized by Tamara Cartwright and Fiona Doherty, and Fiona is carrying on the work with other local activists. They have all been supportive for years, including my time on the Farewell Tour of 2009. Thanks to Fiona Doherty, Austin and Dana, the sponsors and stores who contributed, and the hundreds of people who came together to make this event fun, magical and so helpful to me. So I promise them that once I get out, I'm hoping to work with musicians, develop a song set list, put together a band and make my first public musical performance outside of Vancouver in Lethbridge, Alberta!

The two things that I'm proudest of about my time in prison is how Jodie has risen to the challenge and become the best she can be in activism and business management, and how I’ve developed as a musician. When this difficult time for Jodie and I is over, we will both have new capabilities and skills that we both otherwise would not have developed. That is the essence of successfully dealing with adversity: showing improvement and advancement as a result of the ordeal.

I can't wait to see that poster in Lethbridge, "Saturday Night! Speech by Jodie Emery, Music by Marc Emery & Friends!"

From Yazoo federal prison,
In Yazoo City, Mississippi,
Marc Emery

________________________________

A note from Lethbridge fundraiser organizer Fiona Doherty on the Facebook event page:

Lethbridge, Alberta FREE MARC fundraiserHi! Just a final post on the Marc Emery Lethbridge fundraiser 2012…

Thank you very much to each and every single sponsor who donated the amazing prizes, please do your Christmas shopping with them as without their support we couldn't have these fun events…

BOBHeadquarters who donated the beautiful bongs and the volcano plenty that were raffled off, and all the silent auction and door prize donors–Charisma, B.C.P.R., Calgary 420, Amy Taylor, HeadWearz, CCHQ…

Thank you to the Lovely Lisa MamaKind for donating books, signing autographs, and sharing her bongslut wisdom…

Thank you DeathPledge, you guys are a kick ass band!!!

Thank you to Damage Inc., you really ARE the best Metallica tribute band in western Canada!!

Thank you Moose Hall for graciously hosting us for the third year in a row…

Thank YOU to everyone who came out, bought tickets, played the raffle and silent auctions, and made sure that you supported something very important–our Canadian sovereignty! Between all of us, we just sent a bank draft for $1,682.50 to Jodie Emery to help make things easier for her and Marc; and to show that we care and can make a difference from our little city!!

Thanks for making this year a success, Lethbridge activists!!!
See you all next year!
~peace!~

 

Marc’s US Prosecutor Pushes for Legalization; Exclusive Newspaper Articles about Marc & Prison Life

submitted by on April 29, 2012

Today is Wednesday, April 25. I have 805 days to go to my release. Ten days from now, on Saturday, May 5 – on the day of the Global Marijuana March, and on the occasion of my great friends Chris Goodwin and Erin Gorman's wedding in Toronto after the march – I'll have put in 795 days in prisons serving out this 1,825 day sentence.

Marc's prison band "Yazoo"(Photo: Marc's prison band "Yazoo") With my 235 days good time credit, I'll have 1,030 days behind me, and 795 days to go. On that day, I'll be at the exact halfway point of the experience, with as much time remaining as I have put in.

So the 66 days in Canada I spent waiting to be extradited, the 5 1/2 months I spent at Sea-Tac Federal Detention Center in Washington state, the 4 weeks at Oklahoma Transfer Hub, 3 weeks at Nevada Southern Detention Center, 4 1/2 months at the immigrant concentration camp D Ray James, and 12 1/2 months at Yazoo Medium, in all, 795 days; I just have to do it one more time! And then I'm home.

When I write it like that, it seems like a long time I've been gone, and a long time to go. But then I think of the more than 12 months so far here at Yazoo and it’s gone by very quickly. My daily work out on the bass guitar and being in my band Yazoo has aided the passage of time immensely.

You can see a photo of me and my bandmates in a 2-page newspaper spread by columnist Jon Ferry in this upcoming Sunday's “The Province” newspaper in British Columbia. (A one-page article appeared on Friday April 27 in the same paper, seen here.) Jon visited me here last weekend in order to write this exclusive story. The two-page feature will discuss my political opinions, the continuing fight against prohibition, and life here at Yazoo, with several photos. I did take some photos with Jon Ferry that are kind of fun but they will not be back in my hands for a week, so they do not appear in the Sunday edition.

[Update: see images and links to the Sunday edition of The Province newspaper's cover story and 2-page feature at the bottom of this page!]

Jon Ferry told me he thinks I look so healthy, youthful and relaxed because I am "drug free"! I explained that on the outside, I had the stress of imminent extradition weighing on me, legal bills, money problems, closing the print version of Cannabis Culture magazine, sleep problems from all that accumulated tension. So, here I am fit, I eat modestly, and try to eat only the good foods I can get, drink only water, read and write extensively, no watching TV, play music and work with my band every day.

Right now on the bass guitar I am getting down Back in Black by AC/DC, Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top, and Jumpin Jack Flash by the Rolling Stones. The air here is terrific and smells nice, every day is sunny and warm, when it rains it tends to do so at night, the water out of the taps is very good, I sleep like clockwork from 11:30pm to 7:30am, and I walk 3 miles around the track daily. Our next concert, my 6th here at Yazoo, is on May 26, on the Memorial Day weekend.

Part 1 of the Province newspaper feature(Photo: Part 1 of the Province newspaper feature) I have been on the TV here this week as Discovery Channel aired the National Geographic episode "Marijuana Nation" again, of which I am in a fair bit of that episode. The documentary "A NORML Life" was also seen by of the C.O.'s (correctional officers). I have had 8 letters published in newspapers in Canada signed "Marc Emery, Yazoo City Medium Federal Prison, Mississippi" since I have been here at Yazoo, and the most recent two letters, published in the last two weeks in the Globe & Mail and National Post newspapers (the two cross-Canada newspaper publications), have been read aloud on the National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB). MPB must think its interesting a Canadian in Mississippi gets letters about the drug war published from his Mississippi jail cell.

The 4/20 celebrations in Vancouver and Toronto saw record numbers of people in attendance, and good weather to make it all pleasant. My friend in Adelaide, Australia, Rhiannon Lynch, put on a 4/20 in her hometown too. It’s so cool that an event that’s now a worldwide phenomenon started with my store staff in April 1995 (read about the history in this Huffington Post article I wrote, "The Origins of 4/20 as a Day of Celebration and Protest"), and eighteen 4/20's later I can confidently say is witnessed by millions of people around the world who meet that day for political and herbal inspiration and fellowship. It doesn't get any better than that!

In my original hometown of London, Ontario, the police announced in advance they would disrupt any 4/20 celebrations, the only Canadian police force that did so, and 250 people responded to the police disruption of the 4/20 at Victoria Park by marching to a major intersection and chanting 'Fuck The Police' for an hour. Absolutely right, London. The London, Ontario police dept. is still in good need of an enema, twenty years after I left there.

My fabulous wife, Jodie, had what I would call a career week last week. She appeared alongside my prosecutor, former District Attorney for Western Washington state, John McKay, as well as former BC Attorney General Geoff Plant, at a joint press conference in Vancouver hosted by the amazing new pro-legalization organization Stop The Violence BC.

McKay articulately denounced the drug war and marijuana prohibition, and Jodie was extensively interviewed across Canada for days; headlines appeared in all media across the country, such as "Prosecutor of Prince of Pot Marc Emery wants to legalize marijuana". You can see news coverage here, and video of the press conference here, as well as a Canadian Press video here.

My wife's major week of accomplishment continued. On Thursday, April 19, the day after the McKay press conference, Jodie had her first Op-Ed (opinion editorial) piece published in the nationwide National Post newspaper, titled "Victims of the Drug War". There was a critic of Jodie's Op-Ed the next day, columnist and editor Matt Gurney, writing in the same National Post "A Grass Bed of his Own Making", and then I had a letter rebutting him on the day after that, Saturday, April 21, titled "Immoral Pot Prohibition Laws".

Jodie was also profiled in an article in the Vancouver Sun newspaper on Saturday, written by "Bud Inc." author and columnist Ian Mulgrew, called "Jodie Emery Rises to the Occasion" (click image on the right, below, to read it). I was so pleased with this feature on her, published in between the two Province articles about me. Team Emery was on it like white on rice! (Or like ink on paper?)

Vancouver Sun news column on Jodie(Photo: Vancouver Sun news column on Jodie) The great news continues. My former prosecutor John McKay, not content with just being a lecturer on the evils of the drug war, is also co-sponsor of an excellent legalization initiative on the Washington State ballot this November. Apology accepted, Mr. McKay! What’s really disturbing though, is the number of the 'grassroots' activists in Washington state who are absurdly opposing the I-502 legalization bill because of a clause that allows police to issue DUI's if a very high level of THC is in the bloodstream while driving. Otherwise, adults can possess, transport, and buy at licensed outlets a huge range of cannabis buds – all legally, without fear of arrest or prosecution. That's incredible!

Currently 10,000 people in Washington State get arrested for pot possession each year. That would end under this legislation. How ironic that I currently have far more respect for my former prosecutor and his proposed legislation than I have for those activists who would foolishly and dangerously oppose this great step forward over trivialities, much the same way as done by many so-called members of the movement who killed Prop. 19 in California in 2010. Much of the Washington state opposition to I-502 is rooted in adversarial jealousy, because after three attempts, some activists just can't get an initiative of their own on the ballot, so resent McKay, the ACLU and their backers who did manage to get I-502 on the ballot. Sometimes the famous quip Pogo Possum said in the eponymous cartoon is correct: "We have met the enemy, and it us."

I implore all Washington State activists and concerned citizens to support I-502. Read the very important editorial in the NY Times by Seattle activist Dominic Holden called "Smokeless in Seattle" and NORML's Russ Belville's blog on why supporting I-502 with your vote this November is essential. I think Russ Belville is the best commentator out there regarding our movement, and all his writings are very, very good.

To show you the kind of momentum the campaign to end prohibition has, an all-political-party panel called "Speaking Truth from Within Power: Passion, Politics, and Drug Policy in Canada" takes place in Vancouver on the evening of May 4th, the day before the Global Marijuana March. From Canada's Parliament, Conservative Senator and chairman of the 2002 Special Committee on Cannabis, Pierre Claude Nolin, will speak along with Liberal Senator and former Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell, and NDP Member of Parliament and deputy leader Libby Davies about their attempts to get modernized drug law legislation passed or promoted. All three favor various legalization models. They will be joined by provincial BC NDP legislator Nicholas Simons. If you live in the Greater Vancouver area, please consider attending.

Our movement is gaining momentum where it’s needed most – beyond the activist grassroots. While I count down the days in prison for my “crime” of selling seeds to finance major activism efforts and campaigns with millions of dollars from 1994-2005, it’s comforting to know that my work continues not only in the grassroots cannabis community, but also in the political and mainstream sphere where real change has to happen. When I get home in just over two years, there might not be anyone left to convince about legalization! Keep the pressure on, fellow activists and friends.


Update:

The Sunday edition of the Province newspaper had Marc on the cover, and two pages inside. Read the articles here, and click the images to enlarge:

Marc Emery claims victory in drug war

Marc Emery's suggestions from prison to better B.C.

Marc Emery calls B.C.'s leaders 'uninspiring'

The Province cover, Sunday April 29, 2012

The Province cover, Sunday April 29, 2012

Province feature, page 1

Province feature, page 1

Province feature, page 2

Province feature, page 2

Marc Emery Prison Blog, Monday April 2nd

submitted by on April 5, 2012

It's Monday, April 2nd, 828 days to go to my release date of July 9, 2014. Although I get 'released' from prison on that date, because I am Canadian I have a 'detainer' on me, so what happens is US Immigration picks me up from the prison and takes me to an immigration detention center, puts me before a judge where I confirm I want to be deported back to Canada, and then I'll wait in an immigration jail until they put me on a plane to Vancouver with some US Marshall escorting me.

That apparently takes a few weeks, so I'm hoping to be home with Jodie in time for our 8th wedding anniversary on July 23, 2014.

This Saturday I have my 5th concert outside in the recreation area with the excellent amplified equipment they have here for concerts. This is the Easter Weekend concert, and our band YAZOO will be playing in this order:

1) Don's Jam (a warm-up improv piece)
2) Come Together (Beatles)
3) White Room (Cream)
4) Hey Joe (Hendrix)
5) Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
6) Wind Cries Mary (Hendrix)
7) Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Santana)
8) Crazy Train (Ozzy Osborne)
9) Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)
10) Sitting on the Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding)
11) Stormy Monday (T-Bone Walker)
12) Red House (Hendrix)
13) Purple Haze (Hendrix)
14) Blue on Black (Kenny Wayne Shepherd)
15) Pride & Joy (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
16) Hotel California (Eagles)
17) Voodoo Child (Hendrix)

I've been practicing every day for a few hours and tonight we have our final studio rehearsal where we run through all 17 of our songs and see where we might have a few things to work out this week in the days leading up to the concert. I feel we know the material pretty well now, my big hope is for good weather. If it rains, we can't have all this electrical equipment outside and the concert would be postponed.

Yesterday we took photos of the band members Don, Terry, Sapp, Chap, and myself, which you will see on my Facebook page in about 3 weeks or so after Jodie gets them in the mail. We aren't permitted to have our instruments in the photo, so we'll be having an artist here make a band poster using our photographs as reference and then drawing us in the studio playing our music. From there I'll use that to make posters for our upcoming concerts here. I'm sure you will see this YAZOO band poster on Facebook and www.FreeMarc.ca when it's completed.

April 20th is coming up in a few weeks, and I'm not shy about saying that this now-colossal worldwide Cannabis Celebration event was started by my HEMP BC staff in April of 1995, and on that April 20 in Victory Square (at Cambie & Hastings street), it was a beautiful sunny day with music, speeches, toking and good times. The original idea to have April 20 change from just a time of the day (4:20pm) to a whole day (4/20, April 20) was inspired by two Grateful Deadheads who worked for me, Danna Rozek and Cindy Lassu. In 1997 we moved the rally to the Vancouver Art Gallery, where about 1,000 people came and toked from about 1pm to 6pm.

In those years from 1997 to 2008, the master of ceremonies and co-ordinator was activist and 'dealer dignity' advocate David Malmo-Levine. It grew from attendance of 1,000 to 10,000 in that decade, and by 2005 the event had evolved to become a farmer's market of cannabis consumables along with a day-long smoke-out, peaking at 4:20pm with a massive collective cannabis plume floating above the Art Gallery square bounded on all sides by Georgia, Howe, Robson and Hornby streets. There is nothing else like it in the world, not even Amsterdam or any other cannabis mecca has a day-long smoke-out in the major downtown public square combined with a fantastic assortment of cannabis ingestibles, smokeables and consumables for sale.

This year even the school board has closed the high schools for Friday, April 20th, accepting the inevitable 4/20 absences and making it official. This means even more young people than usual will be toking all day, and hopefully not drinking alcohol, as problems each year arise from alcohol excess. Police are polite and stay on the periphery to guide traffic, and there are never any major problems. I encourage you to spend money and patronize the vending booths and pavilions by the main sponsors "Marc Emery's Cannabis Culture Headquarters" (or CCHQ), Vancouver Seed Bank, The Dispensary, and EndProhibition.

Marking his 18th April 20 involvement in Vancouver, having been involved in every Vancouver 4/20 ever, former Cannabis Culture editor (1995-2005), Dispensary entrepreneur, author (Hairy Pothead & The Marijuana Stone), former BC NDP leadership candidate and my best friend Dana Larsen is organizing this year's huge event with Jacob Hunter of WhyProhibition.ca co-ordinating the day's logistics and Adam Bowen (host of the BCMP Vapour Lounge Jam Night) arranging the incredible musical line-up and staging of the presentations that go on from noon to the early evening. You can see videos and photos of Vancouver's 4/20 from previous years at the new website www.420Vancouver.com to whet your appetite for the greatest outdoor pot party on earth this year!

As a point of clarification, Seattle definitely has a huge 3-day rally in August, that possibly sees 250,000 people attend at Myrtle Edwards Park, and there is no peer on Earth to that event, but it's not an open-air farmer's market with cannabis products sold openly and without police interference and consumed openly for 10 hours on end. But why not attend both and see for yourself? They both represent the height of achievement within the movement. Seattle is an all-volunteer event that has incredible political credibility with Congressmen, the Mayor of Seattle, State representatives and other big names speaking. The sheer scale is awe-inspiring. Vancouver's 4/20 has attracted Members of Parliament Libby Davies to speak at last year's event, but it is largely a massive party and celebration of the cannabis culture.

On April 20, while the party goes on, the Vancouver Province newspaper will be sending columnist Jon Ferry down to Yazoo Medium to interview me that weekend. The weather here in Mississippi is warm and sunny every day, quite a contrast to my hometown of Vancouver, where most days are described to me as cool, overcast or rainy. I'm certainly grateful for the very sunny, warm days, the constant breezes, the excellent air that I breathe when I'm outside here. It's a large component in why I feel so healthy here.

I've been reading some wonderful graphic novels, comic books, my many magazine subscriptions, the NY Times newspaper (I do the crossword each day too), some excellent books, and I remain a major source of reading items loaned to many inmates here. Our MP3 players have yet to be put on sale, and although these delays (the MP3 player has been 'coming soon' since I arrived here a year ago) are suspenseful, it has not hindered my musical progress. The current scuttlebutt is that they go on sale in the first week of May.

This last weekend I had a visit from my great friend and Rhode Island activist Catharine Leach. This is the second time Cat has come to visit me, and both times she has had numerous challenges! The first time she visited last October, the electrical system on her plane here failed mid-air and she thought she was going to die until they made a successful return to the airport. This time, she encountered numerous annoyances like banks that wouldn't change a $50 bill into quarters and small bills, the guards here held her for inspection of her rental car, and they refused her admission because her shoes had no backs on them (a rule for visiting), so she had to go into town and buy an $18 pair of shoes with backs on them (that put dents in her feet, as she showed me) to get in to visit me. Then her plane leaving Jackson required maintenance and she was held overnight in Atlanta because she then missed her connecting flight. Plus she came down with a cold and missed her husband and children. It's possible that's the last time Catharine is going to visit me, but I really enjoyed seeing a friend and laughing a great deal over the weekend. I always cherish seeing Jodie visit me every two to four weeks, but seeing a friend in the two years I've been inside US prisons is very rare.

April 12th is my 8th anniversary of Jodie and I becoming involved with each other. In our entire time together, Jodie has had to live with the tension of having me go to jail or being in jail. When I get out in July 2014, I'll be so excited to be with her without the imminent threat of jail time awaiting me. The week we became very close I was in court for passing one joint in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with saw me ultimately get sentenced to three months in jail later that summer. After that stint at Saskatoon Correction from August to October 2004, I was arrested the following year for extradition to the USA, and here I am.

So I'm excited that finally Jodie and I, in July 2014 – by then more than 10 years after we became an item – will be able to have some peace and serenity in our relationship without the threat of prison hovering about our heads. I LOVE MY BRAVE AND AMAZING MRS. JODIE EMERY! It will be so wonderful to finally be home. 828 days to go. (See the daily countdown clock at www.FreeMarc.ca)

 

Marc’s birthday, prison band, and more updates

submitted by on March 8, 2012

My 54th birthday on Monday, February 13th was spent being sick, my first real malaise since last June or July (I've been in great health otherwise). I was dizzy and unable to stand without being queasy. I believe it was from the vitamin fortified oatmeal I had before bed; vitamin supplements don't seem to sit well with me.

In 2000, I was just starting a daily regimen of vitamin, mineral, glucosamine and other supplements, 20 gel-caps of the stuff, and I got a terrible and sudden dizziness one morning 30 minutes after taking it all. It was like the whole world fell off its axis and I went to the floor, soaked my clothes immediately in a perspiration I had never before experienced. I was immediately nauseous and dizzy. Over the next 36 hours I remained very dizzy and nauseous when standing; it's called ataxia. Within 48 hours I had recovered.

Three weeks later, about 30 minutes after taking the supplements, I had an identical attack of dizziness, imbalance, nausea. I recovered over 36 hours. There were no other symptoms. I put the connecting dots together and never took supplements again and it never recurred… until I went to North Fraser Pre-Trial in 2010 awaiting extradition to the US. The food was inadequate so I ordered a single multi-vitamin out of the vending machine and the exact same thing happened again as had happened 10 years earlier, but not nearly as threatening or extreme. It still took 36 hours to recover.

Then after eating three packages of fortified oatmeal the night of February 12th this year, the next day, after a disturbed sleep, I feel the same dizziness, ataxia, and nausea, but wisely stayed on my bunk horizontal and slept the whole day, getting up only to rehearse in the studio on my birthday, which went well, remarkably. I went right to bed upon my return. Then nine days later a milder but identical attack occurred, still taking 36 hours to throw off the lightheadedness and sluggishness. There are no other symptoms, so it wasn't a cold, flu or other identifiable. I can't identify what I would have eaten that would have caused that last attack. In all five cases from 2000 to present, I am very tired until it subsides, and standing up I become light-headed, nauseous, and dizzy, improving over 36 hours until I am normal. I suspect drinking water would speed getting it out of my system.

So while it was lousy to be sick on my birthday, I did yesterday receive in the mail yesterday from Britney in Vancouver 40 Facebook pages from my birthday with hundreds of people wishing me well. It was great to see some familiar names there and new names. I love getting Facebook pages from my two accounts, so thank you Britney!

My health, other than those two bouts of ataxia, has been exemplary since July. The weather here is always great, it's warm and sunny almost every day, the air is very clean. I walk the track 90 minutes each day, read books (currently reading 'Just My Type, a History of Fonts', and 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'), my 30 magazine subscriptions that come, the NY Times (and the crossword each day), I write a letter every day but fall behind and I'm embarrassed to say some people who deserve replies don't sometime get one, plus I do three hours of email daily. My favorite magazines are MacLean's, which is Canada's 'national magazine', as it totally connects me to home, Mental Floss, a great magazine about anything that is so interesting I read every page, WIRED, DISCOVER, Bloomberg Business Week, and Backwoods Home Magazine. I enjoy reading Time and Newsweek. I get five guitar magazines, Rolling Stone, Architectural Digest, Harpers, and a bunch of others and read them all thoroughly. I'm hooked on a ten-part graphic novel series called 'Y: The Last Man', when all the men on earth except one perish from a plague.

As of today, Wednesday, February 29th, I have 861 days to go to my release on July 9, 2014, and 964 days of my sentence behind me. If I serve every day here, I still will not be released directly or immediately, on July 9th, 2014, US immigration will pick me up and take me to an immigration detention center, get my passport in order, and after about two weeks they will put me on a direct flight to Vancouver. So I'm hoping to be home with Jodie in time for our 8th wedding anniversary on July 23, 2014.

My fourth concert here at Yazoo medium was Saturday, February 18th, on a cool evening between Jodie's visits on the Saturday and Sunday. Our band, Yazoo, was a 6-piece that night, up until now we've been going through personnel changes.

First Victor decided to leave to form his own band, that left us as a four piece, which I really liked: SAPP on drums, TC on vocals, me on bass, Terry on lead. Then we added Don, an excellent guitarist, and Chap, also an excellent guitarist, bassist and vocalist, who were from the other rock band 'Out of Bounds', whose drummer got transferred to El Reno federal prison.

Well, there's a lot of talent in that 6-piece, so giving everyone enough to gratify them is a challenge, but it was working out okay. Then SAPP, our drummer, got in a brawl one day; his Florida homies got in a fight with some New York guys and when two guys get into a fight it can expand until there's a dozen or more within minutes, and so SAPP, not normally a person prone to violence, got put in solitary. We thought he'd be 'in the SHU' (Special Housing Unit) for 3-6 months minimum, and likely get a disciplinary transfer to another prison. So there goes our drummer, we thought.

At the same time, a new fellow came to the prison who is a very good drummer; though he lacks the subtle nuance that SAPP brought, he became our drummer for Yazoo. His name is James, or "JG" as he's called, and he was our our drummer since January to the concert, with no more than 6 practices together. Most of the black guys seem to have nicknames, like TC (our lead singer), or our old drummer 'SAPP' (whose name is Jermaine). So for the President's Day concert we were a 6-piece and it was a little less than perfect.

We played, in order of performance:

I Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Nash)
Red House (Jimi Hendrix)
A Change is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke)
Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding)
Stormy Monday (Bobby Blue Bland)
Black Magic Woman (Santana)
Wind Cries Mary (Hendrix)
Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)
Purple Haze (Hendrix)
Voodoo Child (Hendrix)

I thought I would have the most challenge with Black Magic Woman as my left pointer finger is extremely busy in that entire song and it kind of cramps up, but it turned out fine, even on a cold damp night. Our performance is loud and amplified through an excellent sound board and our audience was about 50-100 inmates, as it was dark, moist and cold that weekend, but you perform when you can. I flubbed a few lines on I Can See Clearly Now (which was the theme song for my Pot TV "Prince of Pot" show for years), but was fine for the rest of the songs.

Since that concert, TC, who will be released soon, left the band, and SAPP returned! Yay! JG was a good drummer but his beats were too fast and aggressive, so SAPP being back is a huge boost to the band. Chap will be doing all the vocals now, so we are a 5-piece, which, with SAPP back, will be a great rock 'n roll band again.

Marc posing with his "Prince of Pot" SweetLeaf guitar, 2009(Photo: Marc posing with his "Prince of Pot" SweetLeaf guitar, 2009)

In my 9 months as a musician (I can't believe I'm even able to call myself a 'musician' credibly), I have been part of a Jamaican reggae band playing Bob Marley songs, played four country songs, five R&B songs, nine Hendrix songs and a dozen classic rock songs.

My band's practice time in the studio is Monday evening from 5:30pm to 8pm. We worked on the Beatles 'Come Together' and 'Crazy Train' by Ozzy Osbourne. It's a blast doing 'Come Together', it sounds terrific, there is a great bass line to it, and the song has a strange portentous quality to it. The words and vocals in the original by John Lennon say 'shoot me' over 20 times throughout, and the song seems to be about various jokers and strange people who 'come together' 'over me' like creative friends meeting over a funeral for the singer (John Lennon).

The song apparently was written in 1969 for the aborted run for governor campaign by Timothy Leary for the 1970 election in California. 'Come together and join the party' was the original theme; the song took an ominous turn after Leary fled the USA, first to Mexico, then Algeria, to avoid a lengthy jail sentence for marijuana. Leary had already had the US Supreme Court declare US federal marijuana prohibition unconstitutional in 1968, but he was charged again and given serious prison time. So 'Come Together' has a fascinating history and the bass parts are great! The Beatles were my first great love in music, as our Aunty Gladys sent me the (45 rpm) singles 'Love Me Do/Please Please Me' and 'She Loves You/PS I Love You' for Christmas 1963, when I was 5 years old.

In the summer of 1969, when I was 11 years old, five and a half years after Aunt Gladys sent me those two Beatles singles (which in 1964 we played on my parents "hi-fi"), I got one of those portable kids turn-table 'record players' in a portable box with a carrying handle. My first purchases were two 45 rpm records at 49 cents each from K-Mart: 'Sugar, Sugar' by the Archies, and 'Daydream Believer' by the Monkees. I still love both those songs 43 years later, and can sing them now as I could when I first elatedly bought them and played them 25 times a day for the first week in that summer of '69.

My older brother Stephen, eighteen years old, was so disturbed by my repetitious playing of 'bubblegum songs', he went and bought me five 45 rpm singles of what he called 'real music'. He gifted me with copies of 'Light My Fire' by the Doors, 'Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay' by Otis Redding, 'Suite Judy Blue Eyes' by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, 'Laughing/Undun' by the Guess Who and 'Hey Jude/Revolution' by the Beatles. I have forever loved those songs too, and feel so privileged that my band Yazoo played, at our recent concert, Otis Redding's final song before his untimely death in 1967 by airplane crash.

Davy Jones, lead singer of the Monkees, died today, at age 66 from a heart attack. I remember my first girlfriend Lorrie had pin-ups of Bobby Sherman, David Soul and Davy Jones on her wall that summer of 1969. I was supposedly not cool, according to my brother, to love the Monkees, but I did – and still do. Think of me singing this song, mimicking a boyish English accent. (Thanks, Davy Jones. Video below.)

Oh I could hide 'neath the wings of the bluebird as she sings
The six o'clock alarm would never ring
But it rings and I rise, wipe the sleep out of my eyes
My shaving razor's cold and it stings

Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean
To a daydream believer and a homecoming queen?

You once thought of me as a white knight on his steed
Now you know how happy I can be
Oh, and our good time starts and ends
With a dollar one to spend
But how much baby do we really need?

Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean
To a daydream believer and a homecoming queen?
Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean
To a daydream believer and a homecoming queen?

Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean
To a daydream believer and a homecoming queen?
Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean
To a daydream believer and a homecoming queen?

Along with Come Together and Crazy Train, I am learning the bass lines to 'Stranglehold' by Ted Nugent and I already know the bass lines to 'Money' by Pink Floyd, so we will be incorporating those four songs in our Easter concert (April 7th) set, replacing 'I Can See Clearly Now', 'Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay', 'A Change is Gonna Come' and 'Stormy Monday'. Out go the blues, in comes the rock!

In the next month, so we are told, we can buy an MP3 player for $70 that holds up to 1,500 songs, and the terminals to download songs are being installed in our units in the next few weeks. Songs will cost $1.20 and $1.55 each. Alas, my monthly budget is now $850, and it will go up to $920 a month once I buy 40 songs a month.

Marc and Jodie, May 30th 2011(Photo: Marc and Jodie, May 30th 2011)

The biggest expense for me here is email, at $3 an hour, and I do about three hours a day, so that's about $300 a month there, plus $320 on food, clothing and toiletries, $125 on phone calls to Jodie, $50 on postage, photocopies, stationary, and soon I'll add on songs to buy plus the initial purchase of an MP3 player. Plus I need some new running shoes. Usually I would get a guy who cleans shoes to clean them, but last time I did that, he swapped my running shoes and gave me back a pair that was not mine, and that were not in as good condition (and as I looked days later after realizing they felt different, noticed they were not the same size either), but by the time I noticed that they felt different (at first I thought they just shrank or changed shape from the washing), the guy was let out of prison and wearing my better condition running shoes. He 'swapped 'em out' as they saying goes. So that's another $55.

I want to thank Mr. Rochte of Grosse Point, Michigan for putting $50 in my account twice, as has Kevin H. in Winnipeg, who put $40 in my account twice over the last month, and a Mr. Sernocky who also put in $50 twice in the last month! Yay! It really helps me, and I feel like less of a burden on Jodie. In the last 16 months alone, Jodie has spent $38,000 to visit me, and I have required $13,000 to live on in that time, a total of $51,000. Jodie and I have received donations totalling nearly $31,000 in that time, plus I sold my ZZ Top signed guitar for $2,500 to Tony Glickley (thank you Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, who donated the guitar, Francouver who arranged it, and Tony for buying it), so without the help of friends all over, my life would be way more difficult, challenging, and lonely! Jodie also depends on the store to help cover travel costs, so her customers and supporters are definitely appreciated and necessary. A super-special thank you to Dana Larsen for sending me over 100 books over the last year and arranging for my friends Catharine Leach, Jeremiah & Carina of CC, my ex's (and still friends) Cheryl and Marcy to visit me, and being always beyond generous and helpful. Dana is my best friend and without him my ability to cope would be greatly lessened.

The Province newspaper is coming to visit/interview me on April 21st and 22nd, right after 4/20, for an article on how I'm doing here at Yazoo. I would love it if the reporter could see my band playing in the studio on Monday night so I have a witness from home who can testify our band sounds like the real thing, especially on our Hendrix songs, or 'Crazy Train', 'Come Together', or 'Black Magic Woman'. It would be good propaganda for the prison too, as I have already said in interviews that regarding its core job of keeping inmates safe, and having guards who don't harbor animosity towards inmates, this place is well run. I arrived here on 4/20 last year. CBC National TV news is also seeking permission to film an interview with me here to put on their national news telecast. I would love to have our band play Black Magic Woman for CBC TV news! But it's not likely to happen, as the prison doesn't seem eager to have reporters come visit. So we'll see how that goes.

My next visits from Jodie are March 10/11 and 24/25, then April 15/16 and 29/30, then May 19/20, then June 9/10. I just received back today ten photos of Jodie and I taken in the visitation room from our last visit on the Presidents Day weekend (February 18/19), so you'll see those in a week or so!

This Saturday I'm hoping Ron Paul wins his first primary/caucus with the Washington State caucus. I'm hoping he wins first in Washington, Alaska (March 6th caucus), and comes in second and gets delegates out of Idaho, Virginia, North Dakota, Vermont on Super Tuesday (March 6th). Go Ron Paul! My good friend and busy SuperMom activist (and CC blogger) Catharine Leach of Rhode Island is campaigning until April 24th, the day of the Rhode Island Primary, to be a Ron Paul delegate to the Republican Presidential Convention in Tampa from August 27-30. Catharine has qualified for the delegate nomination process, and now must campaign to have Republican primary voters back her to be a delegate. Rhode Island gets 16 delegates to the Republican convention, 8 from the two districts in RI. If Ron Paul gets 15% or more, he gets at least one delegate from each district; if he comes in first, he gets 4 delegates from each district, second is two delegates, third or fourth (but over 15%) is one delegate each.

Catharine and I (as well as Jodie, and many others!) believe that if Ron Paul is not the Republican nominee, America is in serious trouble. Our great faith in Ron Paul's strong views against prohibition were beautifully summarized with a speech he gave on Thursday, February 16 in Vancouver, Washington, where he said (quoted verbatim from Seattle CBS local evening news of February 17th, and Associated Press):

"'If we are allowed to deal with our eternity with all that we believe in spiritually, and if we're allowed to read any book that we want under freedom of speech, why is it we can't put into our body whatever we want?' Paul told more than 1,000 people at a rally in Vancouver, a suburb of Portland, Oregon. Voters in Washington are likely to decide this year whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana."

(Also see videos and articles of Ron Paul defending and fighting for the cannabis culture here)

I hope the legion of cannabis activists in Washington State will go vote for Ron Paul at the Washington state caucus this Saturday, March 3rd. The Oregon Primary is May 15th, and Ron Paul has a good chance of winning first or second in Oregon also. Good luck to you, Catharine, and please, my US supporters and readers, please get out to vote for the wonderful, decent, anti-prohibitionist Ron Paul in your states primary or caucus!

www.RonPaul2012.com

 

Marc Writes His Own Song And Joins A Reggae Band!

submitted by on August 18, 2011

Marc in Yazoo Prison, May 2011Dearest Miss: I’ve been keeping busy, and am actually enjoying the extreme heat down here. Each day in the morning, or even from noon to 3pm, I go to an elevated wooden umpire booth behind the baseball diamond and take off my t-shirt, sit in the shade, and feel this gentle breeze while I read my magazines, books, and NY Times newspapers for two to three hours. I play my bass guitar every evening and most afternoons.

Lately I've been going down memory lane with the recent excerpt from my autobiography being put online. The teacher who escorted the students on that Middle East trip in March 1975, Don McQueen, my history and politics teacher from Sir Wilfrid Laurier High School from 1973-1975, is alive and well and was interviewed for the “Citizen Marc” documentary that director Roger Larry is finishing up the final interviews for. My friend Roy, whom I’ve known for 45 years, was also interviewed. Roy has just finished a delightful book called “2012 Rabbits and the Happy Apocalypse”, available on Amazon for download to Kindle and due out in print soon. I really have enjoyed the chapters I received from Roy in the mail, and am excited to get the printed copy of the book.

As you know, Miss, I was crestfallen when my instructor/teacher/band leader Grizz and my drummer Damian got sent to the SHU (Special Housing unit, solitary confinement) within 24 hours of each other two weeks ago, because our band “Stuck” was arbitrarily dissolved when that happened. I lost our studio rehearsal spot and our gig spot for the Labor Day weekend concert. But then, a few days ago, Terry and I were invited to be in a reggae band called “Star”, and I am now rehearsing "I Shot The sheriff", "Stir It Up" and "No Woman, No Cry". It's great fun and an education to become familiar with these three classic Bob Marley songs, which we'll play in the new concert in early September.

I am "getting it" – that is, the reggae beat – so it’s exciting. Fortunately, my lead guitarist Terry seems to know every song ever done, having played as a professional guitarist in bands for 15 years, including reggae bands, so I am getting expert instruction on how to do the bass lines for "I Shot The Sheriff" and "Stir It Up". I came up with the bass lines on "No Woman No Cry" from the chords indicated on the sheet music.

So I am in a band once again, and we are in the studio Saturday and Monday nights now – two practice slots, as other new bands did not make the cut, leaving more practice time available for us. When the Music Department C.O. (correctional officer) asked me what Terry and I were doing now, I said I was in the reggae band and he said, "well, that's good, because I know you two know how to play, from hearing your last concert, so your rehearsal times are assured." So that was cool to hear him say I "know how to play."

I always sign my letters to you as "Your Boo, Marc", now I will sign them "Your Rasta-Boo, Marc". In fact, you could send me a copy of what is probably my favorite piece I ever wrote for Cannabis Culture, "The Secret History of Rastafari", so I can show the rest of the band, who are all dread Jamaicans. We are the only interracial band with Terry and I in the mix now.

I had a medical check-up and my health is at its optimum, apparently. My blood pressure is 113 over 63, which is excellent I'm told. No infections or problems – as far as I know! I'm eating plenty of salmon/albacore tuna wraps that I make with my purchases from the commissary. In each meal I prepare myself, no matter what it is, I crush up 10-15 fresh garlic parts (usually a whole clove) and add it to my wraps or any food or even dips I make. To the salmon/tuna or even my cheese dips, I add chili-garlic sauce, chili powder, chopped jalapenos, mayonnaise, and the fresh garlic cloves. I have developed a palate for spicy, tangy foods now, as you can see, from when I was at D Ray James private prison in Folkston, Georgia, where virtually all my colleagues were Hispanic and ate spicy food.

My Mennonite Canadian friend Peter, whom I shared all my meals with at D Ray James, was supposed to be released on August 8th, a few days ago, and deported back to Canada, where his wife and nine children were eagerly awaiting his return from 21 months in prison for bringing a van of weed into the USA from Mexico. I hope Peter will contact you to say hello now that he is back in Canada. Give him my best wishes and let him know how I am doing. I was also satisfied to learn that my good friends Mike and Brad are doing as best as they can at DRJ, though that horrible place is as dysfunctional as ever by the sounds of it, with the nearby Okefenokee Swamp burning out of control for much of the summer, causing blackened smoke in the air. As you have found out, the air conditioning there has been dysfunctional for almost a month, and the temperatures there are the same as here, about 100 degrees F (38 degrees C) each day. Ugh!

I've got many good books to read. Right now I'm reading the daily diary travel book "Sahara" by Michael Palin. Palin is the former Monty Python member who, in the earlier part of the last decade, did travel shows for the BBC television, and "Sahara" was one of the episodes. Throughout the four-month trip, Palin wrote a daily diary and it is very well done. I am also reading a comic book reprint of a war comic series from 1965-1966 called “Blazing Combat”, a beautifully illustrated comic series done by the great artists of that period, Alex Toth, Reed Crandall and Wally Wood, and all stories written by Archie Goodwin. They’re modeled a great deal on the EC Comics (anti) war comics from 1951-1955 called “Frontline Combat” and “Two-Fisted Tales”. Those latter two titles were classic stories written by one of my favorite artist/writers of comics ever, Harvey Kurtzman.

I just finished the popular novel, “The Help”, which is being released as a movie this month. As you know, because you recommended this book to me, it takes place in 1962-1964 in Jackson, the capital of Mississippi near here. It’s extremely well written, but is probably a little too satisfying in that chick-lit way, in that there are only two villains, a mean old white lady and an abusive wife-beating drunk black man, while all others are saintly or redeemable characters meant to make all readers of both races and genders feel good about the world (today) by the end. This is the secret of its success, along with its deft ear for dialect and story telling.

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Oh Miss, today was special! In the afternoon I met with John, a drummer, vocalist and songwriter for the other rock band “Out of Bounds”, who composed and put together a terrific song called Prince of Pot. I'm having them write up the music for that one so the BC Marijuana Party “Jams in the Key of Green” jam night MC Adam Bowen can perform it with a band for YouTube.

I was telling John about learning some reggae songs today with Terry, and that I thought one song went notes A, D, E (as it turns out, neither “Stir It Up” nor “I Shot The Sheriff” go A, D, E.).

So John plays the notes A, D, E (John was playing rhythm guitar while I did the bass). Then I play the notes A, D, E, E, E, (the first E a quarter note, the second two E's are eighth notes, that's a full measure in 4/4 time). Then we play it four times, then a full measure of G, then a full measure of E, another measure of G, then go E, D, C (with a 1/4 note, and two eighths on C), and then back to the lick of A, D, E, E, E.

Well, that sounds pretty cool. I said, "That sounds neat." He says, "What do you feel when you hear that music?"

And I say, "It’s funny you should say that, because that music makes me feel like the sun is rising, the desert is ahead, the day is just beginning."

He says, "Well, lets write a song".

And over the next three hours we compose a song with an intro, two verses, a solo – John does the solo, I do 10 measures on the bass that are A, D, E, E, E (four measures), then G, C, D, D, D, (two measures) and then back to A, D, E, E, E (for four more measures), all while John does this excellent solo that plays off my bass riff – then two more verses, with lyrics about a guy waking up, being nagged at, ditching his girlfriend and all his material possessions and driving off into the desert, where he clears his head, looks to the future, picks up a girl on the highway, and finds that she sure is pretty and fun, but perhaps no different from the one he left behind.

The lyrics are fun, they rhyme, they aren't profound, though I may rewrite them to be so, but I have always worked from the presumption I can't compose music at all, that I have no talent musically (I just like to play stuff I'm able to memorize because I love making music), and that I really just am determined enough so I can play songs. So those three hours were really fun. I made suggestions to the song that improved it, and I had a hand in the lyrics, and my playing was very good. It was a terrific exercise and I felt really excited to start from scratch and actually co-produce a song from nothing, a song that was kind of cool sounding. It’s really the first time I have ever co-created a song in a band situation. Yay!

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When I got back from the visit we had on Sunday the 14th, I wasn't feeling so good, but I thought I'd let it settle. I had the uninspired food they served for dinner, and then I went to the yard and got my bass (I always use B-4, it’s reserved for me). I met up with the singer of “I Shot The Sheriff” and we got some things straightened out and worked on the song, and then I was given “No Woman, No Cry” to do as well, so I have three songs, which is great.

Then a fellow came in with ten songs from the 1950s and early '60s, and showed them to Terry, who strummed the chords as I did the bass on them (they were all straightforward and simple bass lines) and this guy sang them. It was great fun playing “Hound Dog”, “Oh Donna”, “Shake, Rattle & Roll”, “It’s Alright Mama”, and other oldies.

So I did 90 minutes of music on the bass tonight and I realize I am getting much better, noticeably, and other people are remarking on it. Plus, Terry did the guitar on “Redemption Song”, a wonderful Marley song, with the singer Smitty of Star (there are two singers in that band – Smitty sings “I Shot The Sheriff”, and Marshall sings “No Woman, No Cry” and “Stir It Up”), so he's singing “Redemption Song”, and I'm singing right along ("Please help me sing these songs of freedom, is all I ever had, redemption songs, these songs of freedom…") and it feels very, very good to sing that song. That song is just one guitar and voice; there is no bass or drums on that song. It’s also the last song Bob Marley recorded.

Then I walked around the track twice, in perfect temperature, nice sunset. I felt much better. So don't worry about me, Miss, I'm over my melancholia. I'm enjoying reading a biography of Phil Ochs called “There But For Fortune”, and learning to play his 1966 song “Cops of the World” – a song that Greg “Marijuana Man” Williams of Pot TV had made a video for years ago, which you introduced, but it was removed from YouTube for music copyright violation. It’s good that YouTube is now just adding links to purchase songs from iTunes instead of removing videos that use copyrighted music! The song “Cops of the World” is from the album Phil Ochs in Concert, performing the song at Carnegie Hall.

I'm changing the lyrics when I sing Cops of the World from “Dump the reds in a pile, boys, Dump the reds in a pile” to “Dump the Arabs in a pile, boys, Dump the Muslims in a pile” to reflect that all the contemporary US military campaigns and support target those people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Iran, Israel. (The original song lyrics are posted below.)

I hope you have a good time speaking at Seattle Hempfest this upcoming weekend (August 19th-21st). The Seattle activists have always been so supportive, and you’ve been given great opportunities to speak many times at the last two Hempfests, so I really appreciate that! Thanks for being strong and taking care of everything, Miss. I love you so much!

Your Rasta Boo,
Marc Emery

Send Marc mail! The address and guidelines are posted on the front page of www.FreeMarc.ca

Cops of the World

E A E A
Come, get out of the way, boys
E A E E7
Quick, get out of the way
G C G C
You'd better watch what you say, boys
G C B7
Better watch what you say
E A
We've rammed in your harbor and tied to your port
E A
And our pistols are hungry and our tempers are short
E B7 E A Abm A
So bring your daughters around to the port
B7 E
'Cause we're the Cops of the World, boys
B7 E
We're the Cops of the World

We pick and choose as please, boys
Pick and choose as please
You'd best get down on your knees, boys
Best get down on your knees
We're hairy and horny and ready to shack
We don't care if you're yellow or black
Just take off your clothes and lie down on your back
'Cause we're the Cops of the World, boys
We're the Cops of the World

Our boots are needing a shine, boys
Boots are needing a shine
But our Coca-cola is fine, boys
Coca-cola is fine
We've got to protect all our citizens fair
So we'll send a battalion for everyone there
And maybe we'll leave in a couple of years
'Cause we're the Cops of the World, boys
We're the Cops of the World

Dump the reds in a pile, boys
Dump the reds in a pile
You'd better wipe of that smile, boys
Better wipe off that smile
We'll spit through the streets of the cities we wreck
We'll find you a leader that you can't elect
Those treaties we signed were a pain in the neck
'Cause we're the Cops of the World, boys
We're the Cops of the World

Clean the johns with a rag, boys
Clean the johns with a rag
If you like you can use your flag, boys
If you like you can use your flag
We've got too much money we're looking for toys
And guns will be guns and boys will be boys
But we'll gladly pay for all we destroy
'Cause we're the Cops of the World, boys
We're the Cops of the World

Please stay off of the grass, boys
Please stay off of the grass
Here's a kick in the ass, boys
Here's a kick in the ass
We'll smash down your doors, we don't bother to knock
We've done it before, so why all the shock?
We're the biggest and toughest kids on the block
'Cause we're the Cops of the World, boys
We're the Cops of the World

When we butchered your son, boys
When we butchered your son
Have a stick of our gum, boys
Have a stick of our bubble-gum
We own half the world, oh say can you see
The name for our profits is democracy
So, like it or not, you will have to be free
'Cause we're the Cops of the World, boys
We're the Cops of the World

The Jodie Emery Show – August 4, 2011

submitted by on August 9, 2011

Lots of pictures of Marc to show, along with a special gift made in the prison for Jodie and Marc's 5th wedding anniversary on July 23rd. Seattle Hempfest, the world's biggest marijuana hemp gathering, is only a couple of weeks away on August 19, 20 & 21 — meet Jodie and Cannabis Culture editor Jeremiah there, and hear Jodie speak on stage. Go to http://www.hempfest.org for all the info.

Write a letter to Marc:

MARC EMERY #40252-086
FCI YAZOO CITY – MEDIUM E-1
P.O. BOX 5888
YAZOO CITY, MS
39194

You can send photos too, and order books and magazines online. Read the guidelines at http://www.FreeMarc.ca along with other ways to help Marc when he needs it most.

Sign up at http://whyprohibition.ca/ and get involved in activism today to help end the War on Cannabis.

Keep up to date daily and by the minute. Check out:
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http://www.Pot.tv
http://www.CannabisCulture.com

The Jodie Emery Show – July 28, 2011

submitted by on August 1, 2011

Jodie gets a beautiful card and flowers for her and Marc's 5th anniversary on July 23rd. Marc gets bad news about changes at the prison. Sign the petition to stop the bad changes to medicinal marijuana laws in Canada at http://www.CannabisCulture.com and http://www.WhyProhibition.ca. A fourth cannabis dispensary is raided in BC, and Jodie gives us the details.

Write to Marc in Prison!
MARC EMERY #40252-086
FCI YAZOO CITY MEDIUM E-1
FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
P.O. BOX 5888
YAZOO CITY, MS 39194
The rules for what you can send in the mail are posted with the address at http://www.FreeMarc.ca

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http://www.Twitter.com/JodieEmery
http://www.Twitter.com/MarcScottEmery

July 28: The “Citizen Marc” movie; Marc’s MRSA infection spreads; and more…

submitted by on

Marc in Yazoo Prison, May 2011Dearest Miss: Well, now my cellmate has contracted MRSA. He has an infection on his wrist that will not heal for over 30 days now. It is irritated because threads used in surgery on his wrist last year when he was on the outside to repair tendons in his wrist have come a bit undone, and now irritate an area near the surface of his skin.

Wally and I both used the same soap, which the BOP statement of April 2011 on MRSA (that you mailed to me) indicates is a leading source of spread of staph bacteria. When I was diagnosed with MRSA, or even when Wally was, the nurse did not give any advice about not sharing soap, which I always assumed was safe.

So Wally is understandably depressed about this compromise on his health. And they are not offering to send him to a hospital to correct this loose surgery thread that is the source of the refusal to heal. I've been getting sores from the MRSA too; currently there is a large pus-filled red mark on my left leg, which is thankfully starting to heal after a few weeks. I'm concerned about a small lump growing bigger on my neck, so I will make a cop-out request to see medical about that soon. It could just be an ingrown hair. But you and I are both concerned about my health so I'll do what I can.

Currently, the 7' x 12' cell we are in houses just Wally and me, but there are rumors that by December each cell will be retrofitted to house 3 inmates per cell, a very close and disturbing prospect. The population here of 1,500 inmates has the place full already, but the insatiable US prison-punishment gulag wants more inmates in here and crowding us 3 to a cell is coming soon, so it seems. This will create tension, danger and a further erosion of morale here. As I have 35 months to go before my release date of July 9, 2014, it’s something I am not looking forward to.

I continue to stay busy with bass guitar practice 3-4 hours a day, I read my magazines that people have been good enough to subscribe me to, I read one book a week, and have started writing letters to correspondents each day again. I get the New York Times 5 to 20 days after its release date, but the Times is still a pretty good read even that late. In Seattle I would get the Times the same day it was released, and at D. Ray James in Georgia I got it 3 to 5 days later; here it’s usually 10-15 days later, though a few issues have arrived after 5 days.

Yazoo City is truly the middle of nowhere. I was told by one correspondent it was the poorest city in America, and no doubt this is the future of America, an apocalyptic one at any rate, whereby no local economy exists at all other than dollar stores, McDonald's, and a giant prison complex with inmates crammed in to accommodate this cannibalizing war on drugs America wages against itself. As you have told me, there isn't even a taxi service in Yazoo city, and the downtown is completely abandoned. There is nothing but desolation here.

I enjoyed thinking often about my love for you and our 5th wedding anniversary that passed on Saturday, July 23. I hope you enjoyed the 5 red roses I had sent, and the hand-made card that I thought was extremely delicate and beautiful (see it in this "Jodie Emery Show" video), and the custom-made leather purse I had sent for you with “Marc (heart) Jodie”, “5 Years – 7/23/11” on it, with a matching billfold and inside were 10 photographs, really exceptional ones, of you and I from your last visit here on July 4th.

I write this note with some degree of sadness though, because although I passed the under-3-years-to-go mark on July 9, it still seems like an eternity away, especially with my health constantly in jeopardy in the US penal system, and the triple bunking that is expected to occur soon.

As of today, I have 1,080 days to go to my release. Every day I wake up, I know how many days remain. On August 8, for example I will be at 5/12ths (25 months, with good time credit) of my 60-month sentence, with 7/12ths to go (35 months). I have the various mathematics in my head and though I was told it’s too early to be counting the days, I have been doing so since I was imprisoned. I know when my sentence remaining hits three digits (999 days to go on October 19th), and I know when it is halfway done (the downhill slide, as it’s called, when you pass the halfway mark), on January 9, 2012.

Yesterday, I received a notice from the Associate Warden informing me that my copy of the August National Geographic was being withheld for review to determine if the alleged nudity and sexually explicit material in this issue will prevent me from receiving it. BOP policy specifically exempts National Geographic from being banned for nudity, so I have politely forwarded this information to the Warden. You emailed me the table of contents, and I wonder if it’s the article about our Neanderthal heritage in fossils, and there are drawings of an unclothed primitive man or woman.

I recall when I was at D Ray James in Folkston, Georgia, the privately-run prison for foreigners, that the librarian there refused to subscribe to National Geographic because it was “way too sexually explicit”. When one of my correspondents had a subscription mailed to the prison library address, the librarian made a point of putting the issue in the garbage container as it arrived, right in front of my eyes, while saying to me, "That's what happens to National Geographic when I get it. Understand, Mr. Emery?" In that gesture, everything that's wrong with America and its current predicament with ignorance, economic decline, end of empire, and colossal betrayal of the values of the founding fathers is clearly epitomized.

At least though, at D Ray James, my personal subscription copy was never interfered with. I hope the Warden here sees clear to release the August issue of National Geographic to me and other inmates with subscription copies. It is perhaps the most esteemed magazine in the world, as copies are in all public schools, high schools, and libraries everywhere on Earth.

In a bit of irony, what forbids the facility from distributing the magazine to inmates is something called the “Ensign Amendment”, Section 7, which states that no federal money may be spent on the procurement and distribution of material which contains nudity and sexually explicit material. Now, I don't see how any federal money is being spent on my subscription to National Geographic, it was mailed to me with your funds, not US federal government funds, but what's ironic is that Senator John Ensign, who the amendment is named after, had to resign from Congress last year for sexual misdeeds done while in office!

I also find unfathomable that a total lunatic like Michelle Bachmann supersedes Ron Paul in popularity for the Republican Party nomination, with an equally stupid and inept Sarah Palin breathing down her neck waiting to launch her Presidential vanity campaign. Ron Paul should really be the GOP candidate against Obama next year. He can explain everything that’s wrong with the United States and how Obama has failed the American people in so many ways.

Citizen Marc: Prepare to Meet his HIGHnessRoger Larry, the film director who is currently putting together a documentary feature film about me called Citizen Marc, is in my hometown of London, Ontario to interview my first two great loves Judith (from 1976-1980) and Sandra (1981-1988), a teacher of mine who went on the school trip to the middle east with me and 40 other students from March 2nd to 18th, 1975 (a pivotal trip, appearing online shortly as an excerpt from my forthcoming autobiography), and perhaps others.

I also advised him while he was in London to speak to the mother of Chris Doty, the author (along with Jason Rip) of the great play about my years in London at City Lights Bookshop – also called Citizen Marc. The play is particularly prescient in that the narrator of the play, in many ways an homage to Citizen Kane, is speaking as though I am in a US federal prison at the time, even though the play was written and performed in 2006. The play, except for the narrator who speaks to the audience in the present tense, takes place in a series of flashbacks 20 to 35 years earlier in my politically formative years as the 'enfant terrible' rebel bookseller of London, Ontario. Citizen Marc won four Brickenden awards that year, including for Best Actor and Best Direction.

At the premiere in January 2006, Chris Doty escorted you and me back to the hotel after I watched what I regarded as an outstanding play, and asked me, "What did you think, Marc?" I said, "It's perfect Chris. I like everything about it. Even the Bernard Herrmann score that was sampled and played at key times. It needs no improvement at all." (Bernard Herrmann wrote the score for Citizen Kane and the Twilight Zones.)

Chris responded, "That's great, Marc. If I died today, I could die knowing that you were happy with this play. That means a lot to me." Five nights later, Chris hanged himself in his mother's home. The only tip-off to a state of mind was at the dinner he had with us, hours before the play's premiere, when he spoke up close to me when we were alone, "No one cares about the values of history, of morality, of the old traditions, like you and I, Marc. I do my documentaries and plays and television programs about the past, but no one cares anymore. The people have no sense of history any more. They don't know what's valuable. I am frightened they will give you up to the Americans. I worry about you, Marc."

That night he also asked me if I had any suggestions. I said, "Yes, get professional cameras and film it. It will be important one day. You can use a video to show theatre companies in other cities how it should look, how it should be done." He said that was an excellent idea. And then on the final performance, when Chris had arranged for Citizen Marc to be filmed, he didn’t show up. Jason Rip went to Chris’ mother’s house and found him dead. It was said he was despondent about Wednesday and Thursday night not being sold out, and this seemed to substantiate his cynicism that people just didn't care, but he also lost his girlfriend to someone else, and who knows what other demons he struggled with. The play was filmed only hours after the macabre discovery of Chris' taking his own life, under considerable emotional difficulty for all the actors and crew, and then performed live – to a sold out audience – that evening.

Chris Doty got his first full time job in television after submitting his first documentary, "Marc Emery: Messing Up the System" (Click here to watch) to the Rogers Cable system network in 1993, and ended his career with the play Citizen Marc. Among the documentaries Chris had made in the years previous was "Famous hangings of London" and "Famous Ghosts of London". His play “The Donnelly Massacre” was a big critical and commercial success, and the money he received from that play he sank into the production of Citizen Marc.

Chris' mom has held on to that videotape of the final performance, and I urged Roger to ask if she would release it for inclusion in the DVD release of the upcoming documentary film of the same name, Citizen Marc. The doc and the play will make outstanding companion pieces. And the play might constitute the ultimate interview with someone who had known me since he was 12 years old and would come into my City Lights Bookshop to listen to me speak about the world and what it all meant, until his very untimely and tragic suicide during the run of the play he left as his penultimate tribute to me.

I also recommended Roger interview John McKay, the District Attorney for Western Washington who was my original prosecutor, who now speaks publicly against the drug war and believes marijuana should be legalized. McKay, in fact, has had a hand in writing the text of legislation for the Washington State Assembly to consider this fall, that legalizes marijuana at the state level. McKay believes prohibition creates violence and harms for all of society, so I urged Roger to interview McKay and see how he reflects on his putting away the leader of a peaceful movement whose goal was to achieve what McKay now seeks to achieve.

The famous and brilliant critic of the US federal government Noam Chomsky has agreed to give an interview for inclusion in Citizen Marc on my imprisonment, and I am very, very honored to have a man I admire more than perhaps anyone else in the world participate in a documentary about me. Citizen Marc is slated to be released in late 2012 in cinemas, and on television and DVD in early 2013.

Thank you, my dear wife, for coming to visit me and take care of me through this very challenging time. I so look forward to spending every day with you when I get home. Let people know how much I appreciate their letters, and I hope I can write back to them all eventually.

Your prince,
Marc

Send mail to Marc! Guidelines at www.FreeMarc.ca

MARC EMERY #40252-086
FCI YAZOO CITY – MEDIUM E-1
P.O. BOX 5888
YAZOO CITY, MS
39194

Diagnosed with MRSA; Given a Drug Test; Passes Grade 12; Learns More Bass Guitar

submitted by on July 16, 2011

Marc and Jodie, May 30th 2011Dearest Miss: Today is Wednesday, July 13th. I'm finally under the 3-years-to-go mark, that milestone was passed last Saturday. My release date, providing I maintain my good time credit, is July 9th 2014. Only 1,091 days to go to that glorious date on my calendar.

One of the ways to lose good time credit (47-54 days), and get put in the SHU (solitary confinement) for 90 days, lose your visitation rights for a year, and phone & commissary privileges for a while too, is to fail a drug screening urine test. Today I had one of those, for the first time in 15 months in the US federal prison system. I am not concerned, because I do not drink the homemade wine/alcohol that is made and consumed by many inmates in prisons, nor have I ever smoked tobacco, marijuana or any other drug, nor consumed any drugs in any way in 15 months of incarceration.

So I am fine. But the drummer for the band that existed before mine, Laid-Back, a superb band of Brian, Grizz, Terry and Branden, was broken up because Branden tested positive for marijuana and he's been in the SHU (Special Housing Unit – solitary confinement) for 60 days now. You don't get to play in a band when you're in the SHU. You get absolutely nothing'. So it impacts big time when a member of a band tests positive. That's why Laid-Back was disbanded, and Grizz and Terry reformed with me on bass guitar and a new arrival, Damian, on drums. Our band is named STUCK (as in 'Stuck In Prison').

I did the five tests to qualify to receive my GED (General Educational Development) and got the highest marks in all five tests – it was posted on the board "Marc Emery – Valedictorian". On April 1st 1975, I quit high school only three months from graduation to open City Lights Bookshop in my hometown of London, Ontario. I never have needed any high school diploma as I have been in business for myself since I was eleven. (On January 1st 1971, I started Marc's Comic Room, a vintage comic book business by mail order and retail run out of my bedroom, and prospered. By March 1975, I decided to open a vintage, antiquarian and used book shop in the downtown of my hometown, which still operates today under different owners). But here in prison they seemed determined to have me get my grade 12 completion, so I obliged. My mother was constantly hectoring me to get my high school diploma even a decade after I became a successful bookseller in London, Ontario, so if they have a town crier in the afterworld, I hope she's heard the news that I have finally, 36 years later, graduated high school.

When I was at D. Ray James Concentration Camp for foreigners in Folkston, Georgia, a place I still loathe the memory of, I was bitten by the most venomous spider in all the United States, a Brown Recluse spider. Often very dangerous and even sometimes fatal, this bite caused a huge swelling around the bite marks on my left buttock, and within 10 days caused a two-dollar-coin-sized hole in my buttocks that seeped blood and pus for over two weeks, finally healing completely after 45 days. Over four months later, it has left permanent scarring and a purple discoloration. It also caused me to contract MRSA, and penicillin resistant Staphylococcal infection. This is unfortunate, as MRSA is often fatal. In fact, one of the inmates in my unit at D Ray James also picked up a MRSA infection just after I did and they couldn't control it at D Ray James, and reports from other inmates claim his leg was recently amputated and then the infection was still untreatable so he died as a result of this same bacteria I now harbor permanently in my body!

So now this is one more hazard of prohibition I have to deal with for the rest of my life, along with the stress this causes you and its potential life-shortening impact on me. If I die in prison, or because of prison-related causes, it's imperative that all my supporters in the USA, Canada and around the world remember who was responsible for putting me in a US federal prison for peaceful, consenting activities that harmed no one and advanced a great movement. This list of villains in that case is large.

Along with this deadly bacteria I now carry permanently inside me, waiting to be activated, I have been beset by painful boils on the upper cleft of my buttocks (where the MRSA culture was extracted) and now hemorrhoids, which I have never had before. The hemorrhoids come because of pressure caused by all the hard surface seats that are in the prison. The chair in my cell, the seats in the Chow Hall and Rec area, even the toilet seat surface, all are steel, hard, and very uncomfortable. I can truly say that 2011 has been a genuine pain in the ass for me!

I must thank you, my brave wife, for getting news out about this dangerous health compromise imposed upon me by my unjust incarceration. I know that your report of my having contracted MRSA was on CBC TV news in British Columbia, CBC radio, The Vancouver Province and Sun newspapers, the Montreal Gazette, newspapers across Canada, and numerous radio stations and other media. MRSA is a deadly killer of thousands, and it certainly has the potential to make my life much shorter. Rest assured I am trying to be as cautious as possible, and eating as well as can be done, bearing in mind that there are never any fresh vegetables here and that most food is full of fats, sugars, carbohydrates, and salt. It was gratifying that Canadians still care about me and that our media in my beloved Canada still finds me newsworthy even while "out of sight, out of mind".

As to politics, there is much to discuss. I know you have been invited to be a candidate for a seat on the Parks Board in Vancouver, running as a candidate for the Non-Partisan Association (NPA). I believe you should pursue this endeavor. You are a capable woman of intelligence and compassion. I believe the NPA has identified these attributes in you, and have vetted you and feel you would make a fine candidate in November's Vancouver civic election. Your intelligence and reasonableness and attentive listening management style is well suited to the needs of the hundreds of thousands of citizens who use Vancouver's numerous parks, beaches, sports grounds, the aquatic center, and those workers who maintain these properties on behalf of the people of Vancouver and British Columbia.

I also want to field as many candidate representing the BC Marijuana Party in the next BC provincial election, which could be called as early as this autumn. I feel the federal New Democratic Party (NDP) is quite good at representing the anti-prohibition cause with outstanding Members of Parliament like Libby Davies and others in Ottawa, but at the provincial level, there is no such advocacy. Though my good friend Dana Larsen made a principled, significant and ambitious attempt to make prohibition and its destructive effects on British Columbia a part of the BC NDP leadership race by running for that top spot recently, the net effect is that the BC NDP is as prohibitionist as the Liberal party, and will make no attempt to ease the harm of prohibition, nor will they make medical marijuana in BC any more lawful. The BC Green Party is completely hollow and has no gravitas to participate in the BC political scene. It has no money, no impact, no anything. So I am asking all our activists in British Columbia to consider being a BC Marijuana Party candidate in the next BC provincial election. We need up to 79 candidates, and it will be a excellent chance to participate, educate our fellow citizens, carry the cannabis legalization movement into the political sphere, where we must have a presence. I hope you will start collecting names of interested individuals. Once we determine the level of interest, in September we will begin formal campaign proceedings.

In the United States, my friends in Nebraska have been inspired to get a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana outright to the petitioning stage, which is proceeding right now. It will amend the Nebraska state constitution and is titled Proposition 19, the same as the California initiative. It is extremely concise and direct. The Initiative reads as follows:

—–

The object of this petition is to:

The Nebraska Cannabis Initiative seeks to add Proposition XIX to the Nebraska Constitution whose object is to regulate and tax all commercial uses of cannabis, also known as marijuana, and to remove all laws regulating the private, non-commercial use of cannabis.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment language:

To add a new section 1, Article 19:

– The State of Nebraska and any subdivision thereof shall make no law regarding the private, noncommercial growing and consumption of cannabis, also known as marijuana. The Legislature shall enact fair and equitable methods of regulation and taxation regarding the commercial growing and consumption of cannabis. All laws in contravention of this section and all laws referring to marijuana in the Marijuana and Controlled Substances Tax Act are hereby declared null and void, and all marijuana convictions are set aside. The Supreme Court, within 6 months from the day of the 2012 election, shall resentence any person incarcerated or on probation for a crime involving cannabis and any pending charge for such crimes shall be dismissed.

– Nothing in this section shall be construed to conflict with the laws prohibiting persons from engaging in conduct that endangers others.

– Nothing in this section shall be construed to conflict with laws regarding the treatment of juveniles.

– If any provision of this section or the application thereof to any persons or circumstance is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect the other provisions or applications of this section that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this section are severable.

—–

Essentially, this is a three-paragraph Proposition to legalize marijuana at the state level in Nebraska! For more information on obtaining petition forms to have filled out by citizens of the Cornhusker state, and for info on where to sign in Nebraska, get in touch with necannabiscoalition@yahoo.com, and check out the Nebraska Cannabis Initiative Facebook group and Nebraska Cannabis Coalition profile, and Nebraska_NCC on Twitter. Approximately 112,000 valid signatures from registered voters in Nebraska will be required by July 2012 to get the legalization amendment on the Nebraska ballot. Petitioners are needed to collect signatures in Omaha, Lincoln and all areas of the state. The 112,000 number is about 10% of the registered voters in Nebraska; that's the threshold to get this initiative on the ballot.

It is expected that Colorado and numerous other US states with a ballot initiative process will have Propositions ready for the petitioning process for the November 2012 election. Perhaps even more importantly, is where the cannabis culture's tens of millions of individuals place their support in the upcoming Presidential contest of 2012.

Barack Obama as President has escalated the attack on dispensaries and medical marijuana states in recent weeks, threatening imminent action on the outlets in Colorado, California, Washington, and all 16 medical marijuana states and the District of Columbia. Barack Obama and his appointees as District Attorney for Western Washington and head of the Justice Department are responsible for my extradition, prosecution and conviction and incarceration in a US federal prison. The Obama Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder also refused my treaty transfer back to Canada, a transfer I fully qualified for but was denied because of my critical writings about the privately-owned concentration camp gulag that incarcerates foreigners within the US federal prison system.

No activist of conscience can possibly vote for or support the re-election of Barack Obama as President, especially when the principled Ron Paul is still a viable candidate for the Republican Party nomination. Ron Paul would end the federal drug war in its entirety, immediately. Ron Paul would withdraw the imperial armies and navies of the US from Iraq, Afghanistan, all Europe, Asia, and the middle east. Ron Paul would do everything that Barack Obama hasn't, won't and can't do: balance the budget, end the warfare state, end the drug war, and restore the civil liberties lost since September 11, 2001. Ron Paul's record in the US Congress is impeccable and he is scrupulously honest. I have supported him for many, many years as editor of Cannabis Culture, and I have campaigned for him in 2008. I support him unwaveringly. He is for a transparent government, an obedience to the intent of the Constitution, to a nation founded on inalienable civil liberties and economic liberty. He is everything Barack Obama is not.

Barack Obama is carrying out the same policies of his equally tyrannical and war mongering predecessor, George W. Bush. I urge all supporters who want to end prohibition to support Ron Paul in the primary campaigns with volunteering, donations, votes and activism. Spread the word! Ron Paul is the only Presidential option for the cannabis culture's freedom.

As for how I spend my time, I've been practicing the bass guitar and rehearsing four to five hours every day, seven days a week for about 60 days now. I also read musical biographies and study music theory in any time I have where I'm not working on my skills on bass or the songs I need to learn and memorize and perform competently. I had never played a musical instrument in my life prior to picking up a guitar on May 5th. I started working on the bass beginning May 15th, and have worked exclusively on that because I was told there was a need for a bass player in the band I'm in, and that's how I got the gig. I actually can't believe I'm in a band, especially one made up of skilled musicians, and am enjoying this opportunity thoroughly.

STUCK had its first live concert performance on Saturday, July 2, which I wrote about to you before. Now, I am not yet at the sophistication of a skilled bass guitarist. On most songs I played the root notes of the rhythm guitar, and without any written notes to go with. I had memorized the songs and how to do my part, and the sound it made was fine, but it's not quite the smooth, complex movement of a skilled bass guitarist yet. My fellow musicians are so good that most eyes and ears were on them, but I was very thrilled with the results.

So in the last ten days I have learned, practiced and become familiar in playing the bass lines for White Room, The Wind Cries Mary, Purple Haze, Sultans of Swing and White Rabbit. It will take a number of rehearsals in the studio to become proficient and smooth sounding, but it's eight weeks before our next live electric and amplified outdoor concert for the guys here, which happens over the Labor Day weekend (September 3rd or 4th). Our tentative play list (and order of song play) for that gig is:

1. Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)
2. All Along the Watchtower (Hendrix)
3. White Room (Cream)
4. Breakdown (Tom Petty)
5. Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits)
6. Rocky Mountain Way (Joe Walsh)
7. Wanted: Dead or Alive (Bon Jovi)
8. Turn The Page (Bob Seger)
9. Tightrope (S R Vaughan)
10. Purple Haze (Hendrix)
11. White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)
12. The Wind Cries Mary (Hendrix)
13. Red House (Hendrix)
14. Little Wing (Hendrix)
15. Voodoo Child (Hendrix)
16. My Head's in Mississippi (ZZ Top)
17. Ain't Talkin' Bout Love (Van Halen)
18. Johnny B. Goode ( Chuck Berry)

The other rock band here is Out of Bounds, a very polished band that does largely original material. They just finished composing and rehearsing a song they wrote called Prince of Pot. It's about me, and was inspired when they saw Tommy Chong on CNN wearing his FREE MARC shirt. They performed it in the amplified electric studio last night and it's superb – brilliant bass lines, lead guitar and lyrics. The band will be writing the musical notation for the entire song so it can be performed by Adam Bowen and a band at the BCMP lounge for webcast on Pot TV live streamed, as well as recorded for play on YouTube. It's a terrific song tribute to me and I'd like to know it will be performed and heard out there. So expect to see "Prince of Pot", the song originally written and performed by Out of Bounds.

I am finally getting to writing letters again to my correspondents. Since all my time has been going to my guitar skill building and memorizing these songs, for three weeks I have written very few letters to the wonderful people who have written me. I have resumed writing one or two letters a day, but almost all my time goes to improving my musical ability. Nonetheless, I want to thank Len Preslesnik in Holland, Michigan, for sending me a great letter every day I have been incarcerated (over 400 letters!) with news items, photocopies and clippings included. He designs brilliant and hilarious politically satirizing envelopes that his letters always come in. All of them are wild works of art.

I want to thank Barry Cooper for sending me the final draft of the Hollywood movie that is being made about him! Candi And Barry Cooper put money in my commissary account every month too, which is so sweet. Thanks to Tony Glickney for buying my ZZ Top autographed guitar and putting that money in my commissary account monthly. You, Dana Larsen, and Rebecca Maverick have sent me dozens of music books, guitar song books, magazine subscriptions and it's been heaven-sent for this budding musician getting those great items.

Thanks for everything you do, my sweet wife.
I'm so grateful for your love and support!

Marc Emery

MARC EMERY #40252-086
FCI YAZOO CITY – MEDIUM E-1
P.O. BOX 5888
YAZOO CITY, MS
39194

Guidelines for mail rules are posted here at www.FreeMarc.ca.

July 2nd – Marc’s Prison Concert Performance

submitted by on July 7, 2011

Saturday July 2nd: I'm so pleased with the prison concert performance by our band "Stuck"! It was 99 degrees out, and flies landed on my nose on four occasions. One time a fly walked up my left arm to my wrist for about two extraordinarily long minutes during a song and I still was able not to be distracted – whew! That sucker would not fly away; I almost thought it might be diggin' the music. I worked up a real sweat, especially as the afternoon went on.

We got to play much longer than anticipated. We started playing our set of 8 songs at 11:40am and played to 1:00pm, then played the set again from 1:15pm to 2:45pm, almost three hours in the heat outside, and it turned out wonderful! I only lost my way on our first go at Johnny B. Goode, so missed about six measures until I realized where we were. Considering we played every song twice (16 in total), I am feeling really pleased with it.

Terry the leader guitarist, and Grizz, the vocalist and rhythm guitarist, were excellent and said I did fine. In fact, as I performed the afternoon version of Johnny B. Goode the band, without letting me know in advance, doubled the tempo to eight eighth notes from four quarter notes a measure in the last two choruses – a furious pace for me, that they said was my official initiation into the band, and I passed, as I kept up successfully, immediately detecting their mischievousness. Perspiration drops fell on my glasses during that frenetic finale, but I carried on. What a great day for me!!!!!!!

Three hours performing live and loud in a rock and roll band, 45 days after picking up a bass guitar for the first time, and 54 days after picking up a guitar (any musical instrument, for that matter) for the first time in my life. Those four- to five-hour a day practices paid off. I'm so content inside having done it well enough to get the approval of my fellow inmates, and my bandmates whom have 30 years (Grizz), 24 years (Terry), and eight years (Sap, the drummer) experience respectively.

The songs performed were:

Sunshine of Your Love – Cream – 5 minutes
Tightrope – Stevie Ray Vaughan – 7 minutes
Voodoo Child – Hendrix – 18 minute version
Star Spangled Banner – Hendrix – 7 minutes
All Along the Watchtower – Hendrix – 10 minute version
Red House – Hendrix – 18 minute version
Little Wing – Hendrix – 12 minute version
Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry – 9 minute version

As the bassist, my job was to keep up the bass lines, mostly while Terry the lead guitarist did these fabulous virtuoso solos in each song, which were amazing and delighted the audience, and Grizz sang vocals and played rhythm guitar. So I can definitely say my first ever music performance was a tremendously satisfying experience, and nice and long too.

I love playing in a band, especially one with great musicians to mentor me! It's like a fantasy come true. I'm so gratified Grizz and Terry are happy with my performance and dedication. Yay! for me. I can't believe I'm in a band! Thanks for everyone's encouragement!!!! I'm going to relax the next two days. Jodie visits Sunday and Monday, and I'm excited about that!!!

Marc in Yazoo Prison, May 2011For our next concert on the Labor Day weekend, I am already practicing the bass notes to Purple Haze by Hendrix, Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, and White Room by Cream. We'll also be playing Ramble On (Zeppelin), Wind Cries Mary (Hendrix), Black Magic Woman (Santana), Born Under a Bad Sign (Cream), Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits), and Won't Get Fooled Again (The Who).

Those nine songs will be added to our current repertoire of eight songs to have 16 or 17 songs to play on the Labor Day weekend. Other possibilities are My Head's In Mississippi by ZZ Top (my favourite ZZ Top song), Turn The Page (by Bob Seger/Metallica), and White Rabbit (by Jefferson Airplane). Sultans of Swing and Won't Get Fooled Again are fairly complicated, so they may be replaced by others in the "maybe" column if I have too much difficulty with them. But I hope to learn them and be able to play them competently.

All members of the band spend hours a day learning these new songs, together and separately. Our previous drummer, Sap, a very nice guy I enjoyed playing with, agreed to become part of a reggae band but it seems they aren't coming together, so now we've already got a new drummer and that means Sap might be bandless. Damian, our new drummer, is coming along nicely learning the eight songs we've already performed, and he is learning the new set list also.

Currently I am reading a biography of Texas blues musicians, and Stevie Ray Vaughan specifically, called Roadhouse Blues. I'm also studying music theory and harmony, learning to read music, understand music theory and how it all works. I passed my GED tests with the highest marks in the class in all subjects, getting close to perfect in all 5 areas. But the tests are shockingly easy, at least for a 53 year old like me who has excellent memory retention.

I have not written any letters to my correspondents, and I feel bad about that, but I spend up to five hours every day practicing the bass, another two to three hours on music theory, and haven't made time for letter writing. I do appreciate hearing from people, though, as it distracts from the repetitive routines inside prison, so send letters to me at the address posted at www.FreeMarc.ca. Thanks for your support!

Marc Emery

MARC EMERY #40252-086
FCI YAZOO CITY – MEDIUM E-1
P.O. BOX 5888
YAZOO CITY, MS
39194

 

Photos of Marc taken in May 2011

Photos of Marc and Jodie taken May 30th, 2011