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Marc Continues his Band Performances in Yazoo Prison

submitted by on May 1, 2013

Marc Emery prison band YazooI'm pleased to report that my previous blog, on the origins of 4/20 celebrations, appeared on the Huffington Post under my name. My 4/20 blog was online at for three weeks in the run-up to the worldwide celebration on Saturday, April 20, which attracted a larger attendance and more media throughout North America than ever before.

This blog was delayed for some weeks as a consequence. It's a much more personal piece about my rock and roll band here in an American federal prison, and goes with the new photos of me and my band in the prison music studio. The name of the band is Yazoo, and our most recent concert was on Saturday, March 16th. It was our 13th concert since our first performance on July 2nd, 2011. The show was done under gloriously sunny skies from 12:30pm to 3:00pm in the 'inner' rec yard, in temperatures of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23C) – a perfect day, and we all felt it was one of best concerts ever. This is our set list for that show:

Boys Are Back in Town (Thin Lizzy)
Last Resort (Papa Roach)
Blues Deluxe (Joe Bonnamesa)
Black Magic Woman (Santana)
Crazy Train (Ozzy)
Enter Sandman (Metallica)
Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid (Led Zeppelin)
Kryptonite (3 Doors Down)
Green River (Credence Clearwater Revival)
Texas Flood (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
Running Down a Dream (Tom Petty)
Come Together (Beatles)
Plush (Stone Temple Pilots)
Stormy Monday (Allman Brothers version)
Jumpin Jack Flash (Rolling Stones)
Sunshine of Your love (Cream)
Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Pride & Joy (Stevie Ray)
Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
Voodoo Child (Jimi Hendrix)

Marc prison band yazooIn early March, we were able to take photographs of our band performing in the band rehearsal room (the photos that accompany this blog). All the equipment in the music program, and all equipment or recreational items used by the inmates, are paid for by the inmates expenditures at the commissary (the inmate grocery store). After all costs of service and goods sold at the commissary are deducted, the profits of the inmate store are used to finance all recreational activities in the prison, including televisions, cable programming, all athletic equipment, music equipment, pool tables, exercise equipment, and so on.

My band gets to use the band rehearsal room for 3-4 hours on Thursdays, and we practice in the rec area every day for 1-3 hours daily individually or in pairs. Our songs are done note-for-note like the originals, except we usually have a solo by Terry or Don, and then an outro solo by the other, so a number of our songs will have two solos (like Enter Sandman, Voodoo Child, Texas Flood, Running Down a Dream, and Stormy Monday). Most of the others are identical to the recorded version, except we develop an ending in the case of a recorded version that fades out.

Our vocalist for most songs is Chap (Robert Chappell), whom you can see in the main band photo (at the top of this blog) singing 'Red House' (Jimi Hendrix) in the band rehearsal room. Chap is an excellent guitarist and a terrific bass player, much better than me, but fortunately (for me!) he is busy doing the vocal chores for the band, and plays the lead or rhythm guitar when Don sings.

Doing back-up vocalist and playing rhythm/lead guitar is Don Salisbury, whom you can see singing in the photo to the right; in that instance he is singing 'Green River' by CCR. Don is working on hard on his singing and gets two to three songs to sing in each set. Usually though, Don alternates with guitarist Terry for rhythm (when Terry is playing lead) and lead (when Terry is playing rhythm). Don's forte is the blues guitar, and Don often reminds me of how Eric Clapton plays.

Marc prison band YazooOur drummer, Jermaine Moss, known to all here as Sapp, is a remarkably talented drummer with great instincts. Unlike the rest of the band, who get to practice up to several hours a day on our instruments or voices outside of the studio, there is no drum practice opportunity so he gets only the two and a half hours weekly at our band rehearsal, and performance at our concert. Yet Sapp is so talented he can pick up an entire song by hearing it just once, or often having never heard the song, he intuitively understands where a song is supposed to go, and makes playing bass so much easier for me, as he cues me on each change in a song. Getting an action shot for Sapp was difficult, because the snare and kick drums are out of view, and only one shot out of several caught Sapp with the drum sticks in motion.

Terry Griffith is our lead guitarist, but Terry is really the lead musician in the band. Terry is the most accomplished guitarist among three excellent guitarists, and the teacher to the others, as he has played for almost 30 years and understands scales and guitar theory the most. Terry played professionally in bands for about 15 years on the outside, most notably in a band called Rags & Bush Doctor, a Spokane-area band. Terry can play any kind of genre very well, and is also an outstanding bass player and composer of bass lines. When I have to come up with a bass line to a song, and no bass sheet music exists for it, Terry will listen to the song for 30 minutes and then be able to teach me how the bass lines go.

Yazoo prison band While all the others have ten years to near 30 years experience as musicians, I have only 22 months experience on the bass. Prior to that I had never picked up an instrument in my life, nor did I think I had any talent to ever play an instrument. I may not have much talent really, but I have a very good memory and a real desire to play.

I am thrilled every day to actually be in a band with musicians of this outstanding caliber. But their ability to quickly learn a song puts pressure on me to catch on quickly. So I have tended to sacrifice my theory education (major and minor scales, pentatonic scales, modes) in order to spend my time learning songs.

Although I use a Carvin electric bass in the band rehearsal studio and in our outdoor concerts, I practice daily on these big unwieldy acoustic basses. I don't have the finger memory that Chap, Don and Terry have; when they play they rarely look at their guitars, they know where their fingers are and where they are going to. I can look away for a period of time on a simpler bass line, as in Running Down A Dream (Tom Petty), but something like Black Magic Woman, Stormy Monday, Texas Flood, Heartbreaker, etc., I cannot look away from the bass because I will not hit the correct fret with accuracy if I'm not looking.

So that's why most photos of me are me staring at the bass. I know in performance you are supposed to look at the audience, but if I do that for any length of time, I will hit some sour notes – and boy, when you hit a wrong note, you can sure hear it! When anyone in the band hits a wrong note, or wrong chord, it's very noticeable to the other musicians.

Our next concert is around the Memorial Day weekend, likely on Saturday, May 25th. We have added a considerable number of songs to our repertoire since our last show in March. I have been practicing about three hours a day and the increased practice time is paying off. Here is our set list for the Memorial Day show:

Marc Emery prison band Yazoo1. Panama (Van Halen)
2. Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top)
3. Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Santana)
4. Enter Sandman (Metallica)
5. Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid (Led Zeppelin)
6. Peace of Mind (Boston)
7. Last Resort (Papa Roach)
8. White Wedding (Billy Idol)
9. Blues Deluxe (Joe Bonnamesa)
10. Your Disease (Saliva)
11. Classical Gas (Mason Williams) solo by Terry
12. Green River (Credence Clearwater Revival) Don on vocals/Chap on guitar
13. Tuesday's Gone (Lynyrd Skynyrd) Don on vocals/Chap on guitar
14. Only God Knows Why (Kid Rock) Don on vocals/Chap guitar
15. Boys are Back in Town (Thin Lizzy)
16. Come As You Are (Nirvana)
17. You Really Got Me/Ain't Talking Bout Love (Van Halen medley)
18. Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne)
19. Texas Flood (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
20. Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin)
21. Voodoo Child (Led Zeppelin)

prison band Yazoo My band needs guitar tab books, which are collections of songs in sheet music that we can learn songs from, that we will later perform. If you, dear reader, would like to send a guitar or bass tab book from Amazon or any book store (as all materials must come from a store of some kind, since individuals cannot send anything personally by mail except letters and photos), please check out my wishlist.

Any music tab books there that you care to send would be greatly appreciated. My future ambition is that the songs I learn to play here will be performed when I’m in a band at the BCMP Lounge, once I have returned home. And then you can see me play the bass in a rock and roll band that the free world will be able to hear!

CLICK HERE for Marc's mailing address at


Marc, prison music, MRSA infections, and more.

submitted by on March 10, 2013

Marc and Jodie, Yazoo prisonToday is Sunday, March 10. I've 486 days to go, 1,104 days done, now over 3 years done on this sentence. My Canadian transfer paperwork has arrived in Ottawa and my US transfer paperwork goes to Washington, Dc on April 8, the required two years after I was rejected for transfer to Canada by the US Department of Justice on April 6, 2011.

I'm hoping that if my transfer application is accepted (say, by June 10 in Washington, July 20 in Ottawa), I'll be back in the Canadian prison system in September and free at home by next January. Otherwise I'm in the US prison system until July of next year.

The 'We The People' website at now requires 100,000 signatures in 30 days for any petition to get an official response from the White House. Their responses thus far to any petitions have been very superficial and inadequate. Last year, when a petition urging a pardon for me exceeded the then-threshold of 5,000 signatures, the White House response was worse than negligible – it was insulting, a “No Comment” statement.

Then the level was raised to 25,000, and many petitions urging the federal government to legalize marijuana, or reschedule it from schedule 1 to 2, etc. met the threshold – and as a cynic would expect, all received canned propaganda repudiations from drug czar Gil Kerlikowski. If only US citizens would have rallied around Ron Paul as a presidential choice, how different the official White House response for legal marijuana would be!

So I won't be encouraging a petition drive to 'We The People' regarding my transfer, though in January I thought that would be a good idea. What I really need my American friends to do is write their US representatives and Senators requesting a letter to the Department Of Justice endorsing my transfer back to the Canadian prison system. The person to contact is listed here; and my previous blog has more info, here.

My band Yazoo performed our 12th concert in freezing-cold 5 degrees Celsius temperatures outside on the evening of Saturday, February 16th (Presidents Day concert). Though it was cold (I was wearing a t-shirt, two thermal undershirts, a shirt, my winter coat, a wool hat, and wool gloves when I wasn't playing – I was nice n' toasty in all that) and our audience small, it was our best performance as a band, and my best performance individually. We had a great time. Our set list was:

1) Hey Joe (Hendrix)
2) Boys are Back in Town (Thin Lizzy)
3) Running Down a Dream (Tom Petty)
4) Jumping Jack Flash (Rolling Stones)
5) Black Magic Woman (Santana)
6) Plush (Stone Temple Pilots)
7) Pride & Joy (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
8) Red House (Jimi Hendrix)
9) Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin)
10) Green River (Credence Clearwater Revival)
11) Kryptonite (3 Doors Down)
12) Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
13) Little Wing (Steve Ray Vaughan)
14) Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
15) Blue on Black (Kenny Wayne Shepherd)
16) White Room (Cream)
17) Voodoo Child (Hendrix)

I am pleased to say I made virtually no mistakes performing (which I can rarely boast) and the tone on the Carvin bass was perfect.

Marc Emery bass guitarAs you can see, I was able to get some photographs done here at Yazoo with me holding the Carvin bass I play in the band. There are a few photos with Terry my best buddy and bandmate on lead guitar. My 13th concert is next weekend (March 16), and we'll be adding songs Blues Deluxe (Joe Bonnamesa), The Last Resort (by Papa Roach) and bringing back Texas Flood by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Stormy Monday, Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid (Led Zeppelin) and a few others from the vault. Ten photos of the band performing Red House and Green River in the rehearsal room are on their way to Jodie and will appear soon on Facebook. They will be made into a poster with a band photo and individual performance shots. "The greatest rock band the free world has Never heard… YAZOO" will be at the top of the poster.

Last Friday I wrote Jodie an email about my friend and previous cellie Daniel having a massive bacterial infection in his whole lower right leg. On Tuesday, a boil appeared on his leg, his third in two months since he had a surgery here for a hernia. He squeezed it, which is dangerous to do. I know, as I contracted a massive infection on my left butt cheek when I was at D Ray James for-profit private prison in Georgia (prior to being sent here) and had a quarter sized hole in my cheek leaking pus and blood for two weeks after a week of intense swelling and inflammation in the area. Fortunately, the infection was not near any vital organs, which is when a MRSA infection is particularly dangerous. MRSA is a kind of aggressive 'staph' infection that starts very innocuously and rapidly spreads. Most modern antibiotics are no longer effective in defeating the infection. MRSA (stands for 'Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus') infections require immediate and aggressive treatment of still-effective antibiotics, or a person can get gangrene and lose limbs, have vital organs shut down, and even die. The creator of The Muppets, Frank Oz, died from a massive infection that could not be treated in time, for example.

In prison here I read a very good novel about how antibiotics went from theory (pre-1929) to fact when Dr. Alexander Fleming discovered antibiotics in the late 1920s. He found that moulds cultivated on stale bread seemed to attack bacteria. But it was not possible for the next ten years to efficiently produce enough antibiotics to even save one person. Our generation has no experience with the kind of mortality that used to occur when people before 1943 got a bacterial infection, whether it was venereal disease, staph infections, and others. Healthy people could scrape their knee on Wednesday and be dead in hospital by Monday in the times before 1945, there was no effective cure for most infections. The book is called “A Brilliant Radiance” by the novelist Lauren Belfer (I also highly recommend her other novel about the first massive hydro-electric project, at Niagara Falls, providing power for the city of Buffalo, called “City of Light”). A Brilliant Radiance showed how a massive effort by the pharmaceutical industries and the US War Department made finding a way to mass produce antibiotics a priority of the war effort. It was so successful that in the five years from 1940 to 1945, antibiotics went from being the rarest of any medical resource to staggering abundance, such that antibiotics were sold for pennies a pill only five years later.

Antibiotics have cured the industrialized world of cholera, meningitis, tuberculosis, dysentery, E-coli, and dozens of other previously fatal bacterial infections. Antibiotics might be the greatest medical development in the history of mankind. But now, due to excessive and wasteful use, the bacteria are adapting, such that what are called methicillin-based antibiotics no longer work on a range of staphylococcus-type infections. And 'staph' bacteria is a plentiful presence on all skin surfaces and found everywhere in ordinary daily circumstances.

Last Tuesday night, Daniel had his third boil in two months on his right leg. Recurring boils on the body are a sign of MRSA, the boils come from festering infection in the body, but are not yet near major arteries or organs. He showed me his leg, and to me, this third boil was clearly indicative of MRSA, as the area around the boil was inflamed. His previous two boils, though open and weeping, had gone away with antibiotic ointment. He had hernia surgery two months ago, and it was obvious to me he picked up MRSA during the surgery. I told him to go see medical. They gave him Clindomycin, an antibiotic that may or may not be effective against MRSA. By Friday the whole leg was red with inflammation, the boil was weeping significant pus, and all the leg was swollen from the knee to the ankle.

I told Daniel the infection was spreading and getting more substantial and had to go to medical and insist they give him Bacterum, an effective antibiotic (used on me when I had my major MRSA infection in February 2011). I warned him that within days if the infection overwhelmed his leg, he could get gangrene and lose his leg to amputation, or worse. This made him feel very uneasy, of course. He went back to medical at 1:00pm. After looking at it, they said yes, it looks serious, but the earliest a doctor could see him was Monday. When he complained to his counselor, the counselor replied, "If you don't see a doctor by next Wednesday," (in five days!) "come back and tell me." I told Daniel if he had to wait until Monday, he'd likely lose his leg, the infection was so obviously serious.

Then I wrote Jodie my concerns regarding Daniels extremely perilous health situation and she posted about it on Facebook, reaching tens of thousands of people who were quite concerned too. At 3:30pm an unusual call came to our unit from medical, requesting Daniel come to medical immediately. There was a doctor, the chief medical administrator, and the head nurse to examine him. They prescribed him Bacterum, and said the surgeon who performed the surgery would be here to see him Monday. His leg continued to be inflamed and swollen over the weekend. On Monday he was hospitalized, and 48 hours later, he was still there. I was grateful the medical department took the infection seriously, but I don't know how Daniel is faring.

The worst fear any prisoner has in captivity is having a life-threatening medical emergency essentially around strangers (fellow inmates) and with largely ambivalent (and way overworked) medical staff. It’s at a time like that you want a loved one or someone who actually cares for you to be nearby. The thought of dying essentially alone among strangers who probably care not a wit for you is disconcerting. When an inmate gets hospitalized, they are shackled all the way to hospital, and to the bed at all times, which is humiliating, of course. Hopefully Daniel will return from the hospital fine.

[Update from the 28th: Daniel just got back, he looks glad to be alive and well, he very effusively thanked me. He was hospitalized for 72 hours and given antibiotics intravenously over that time, and was released back in to the custody of Yazoo here, on the mend and out of danger! I'm grateful for that. He was on two IV drips, one nutrition, the other antibiotic, the whole time. He leg is greatly recovered.]

The US federal government cuts in federal department budgets has me worried that life here will be worsened. All the C.O.'s (correctional officers) and staff here are going to be required to take a day off without pay (furloughed) every two weeks. I'm also concerned that the money spent on food will be cut back to make our meals even more dubious.

All the money spent on music equipment, pool tables, televisions, cable TV programming, arts and crafts, the leatherwork shop, sports and exercise equipment, all inmate activities of every kind (except education) are paid for by inmate trust funds. The taxpayer doesn't pay for anything to do with my band Yazoo, our equipment, or any of the recreation equipment like exercise bicycles, poll tables, basketballs, etc. So that is not affected by any federal government cutbacks. The 1,700 inmates here spend approximately $150,000 a month in the commissary (inmate store for hygiene items, extra food, etc.) so about $45,000 a month of those sales (items are all costs plus 30%, which then goes to the inmate trust funds) goes to pay for everything the inmates do on the rec yard, in the rec hall, all TVs and TV programming in the unit day rooms.

In addition to a reduction in staff starting Friday, the airports will have fewer people working from the Transportation Safety Authority (TSA) and air traffic controllers, meaning Jodie's flights to see me will likely go through delays. And there will be fewer staff here at the prison, so I'm concerned visitation processing will be slower. Yesterday and today all prisoners have been locked in our units, and not allowed outside. And it’s a gorgeous day outside today. There is no explanation why. [Note from Jodie: The US federal government announced that prison lockdowns may become more common simply to deal with the spending cuts, but this lockdown was likely the result of a prison employee being killed in another state, which results in lockdowns at all federal facilities.]

I slept terribly the other night because being cooped up, all I do is read and do crosswords, but that is not enough to make me tired enough to have a good sleep. I've always been a difficult sleeper, most of my life not getting tired until 4:00 or 5:00am, and often shaking my legs violently. But a month ago I started a personal program of not eating anything after 5:30pm – I mean nothing at all, drinking only water and absolutely no coffee or tea, and I never drink sodas. That's been working very well. I'm sleeping well if I go to bed on an emptier stomach feeling somewhat hungry (hard to resist the urge to eat something). That will be a hard discipline to maintain when I'm in the free world at home. Smoking pot always stimulates appetite and so I typically ate things in the evening and late at night. Plus it stimulates other desires and wants. What cannabis has never done is make me sleepy. So I didn't really ever get tired until 5:00 or 6:00am in the morning, I'd sleep till 10:30 or 11:00am and get up.

I've sent thank you cards to the three Americans who sent me the four issues of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. They are circulating widely in our 120-man unit. And thanks to Dana Larsen for putting a book wish list for me at where anyone can send me a book off that wish list. Already I've received ten books off the wish list, some graphic novels, Rex Stout mysteries, Ann Rule true crime stories, guitar tab music books. I'll send a note out to anyone who sends me any book via the amazon wish list, but receipts don't have the name or address of the payee, so feel free to tell Dana or mail me a note saying you sent me a book. In the last three weeks I've sent out 50 cards (with wee small lettering to get as much in there as possible), trying to catch up on my correspondence, on one side is a photo of me in prison, or a photo of Jodie and I in the visitation room here, and the other side is blank, and I found I can get four or five of those done every day in about two hours.

Jodie Emery for Vancouver-West EndMy wonderful wife Jodie is again running for a seat in the British Columbia Legislature. The provincial election is on Tuesday, May 14. Jodie needs money to run her campaign, and any individual or corporation in the world can donate any amount to her campaign. All British Columbia residents who donate between April 15 and May 14 get a tax-creditable receipt; a portion of your donation (if you are a BC resident) is good for a refund off your BC provincial income tax. All others can donate anytime from now to May 14, and in any amount, and you'll get an official receipt, but it’s not tax-creditable in your jurisdiction. Jodie needs to raise $5,000 to $15,000 to do phone electioneering, pay for signs, literature, and advertising. Make checks and money orders to "The Campaign to Elect Jodie Emery" (you must include your name and address along with donation) and send to: The Campaign to Elect Jodie Emery, 307 West Hastings St., Vancouver, BC, Canada V6B 1H6. PayPal donations can be sent to and more information about donations can be found on her website

On that final note, be sure to support Dana Larsen's extraordinary Sensible BC campaign to put decriminalization to the voters of British Columbia with a ballot initiative signature drive. It’s at Jodie's BCMP vapor lounge is donating 50% of proceeds from Tuesday’s open mic jam nights to the Sensible BC campaign. Dana also has a patron (Bob Erb, the marijuana activist winner of a $25 million lottery and a former BC Marijuana Party candidate) who is matching all contributions dollar for dollar, so please contribute money to the Sensible BC decriminalization ballot initiative drive to keep the anti-prohibition conversation going strong.


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)
(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!


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.


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 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 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 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


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!


White House petition for a pardon, performing live music, and more updates from federal prison

submitted by on October 1, 2011

Hi Miss! This Sunday, October 2nd (in the evening, after your visit), I will perform three Bob Marley songs in concert with the reggae band: "No Woman, No Cry", "I Shot The Sheriff" and "Stir It Up". I continue to practice, learn and rehearse on the bass guitar in my own band, called "Yazoo", for 2-4 hours each day.

CLICK HERE to sign the Pardon Marc Emery petition!CLICK THE IMAGE to sign the Pardon Marc Emery petition!

Tonight in the studio we worked on "Don't Stop Believing", "I Can See Clearly Now", "Purple Haze", "Hotel California", and "Panama" by Van Halen. Our song list for our Thanksgiving Day Concert includes those songs and "Stormy Monday", "The Wind Cries Mary", "Sweet Emotion", "Don't Blink" by Kenny Chesney, "El Paso" by Marty Robbins, "Red House", "Purple Haze", "Freddie's Dead", "Winds of Change", "Dust in the Wind", "Comfortably Numb", and "Money". Quite the eclectic song list!

I read voraciously every day, the weather so far has been conducive to it, virtually a 5-month stretch of brilliant blue skies and warm temperatures. The air here is sweet; Mississippi, if not beset by poverty and historical apartheid that makes impossible a genuine rapprochement between the races, would be a nice place to be. I am attracted to its musical heritage, weather, and even the NPR affiliate, the Mississippi Broadcast Network radio with its homey gardening and cultural programs; it is a shame that after my deportation back to Canada (Hallelujah!), I will be barred from ever visiting these United States.

That is, unless I receive a Pardon from the President or Attorney-General of these United States. I am so excited you have had a "Pardon Marc Emery" petition posted on the White House website here (share this link: Within 36 hours, it had over 2,500 signatories. 5,000 signatures are required within 30 days for it to get an official response from the White House.

I hope, if there is no limit on the number of signatures from Americans, that 25,000 citizens of the 50 states can be delivered on this petition within 30 days, to prove a depth of support for my repatriation to Canada. A pardon also allows me to return to America as a sympathetic human being to gather and share the American Experience in all its manifestations without chains, handcuffs and leg irons.

I hope you can encourage all my friends and supporters to attach the petition to their Twitter, Facebook and websites to see if we can crack the 25,000 mark within 30 days, or perhaps even a better result. Perhaps, if it does become a viable 'cause celebre', it can get some nominal media attention, as certainly it could be the largest petition urging a pardon for someone in the vast US penal system.

Marc's LTE in The Province (click to view)I was pleased that the Sunday, September 25th "Province" newspaper in BC published my letter in regard the Canadian government's repugnant plans for massive increase in incarceration and prison expansion. The population of the prisons will be 95% drug and cannabis users, and the number from our marijuana community will increase by the thousands over the next few years. Cannabis arrests are at a shocking all time high; in 2010, the number of marijuana related arrests for simple possession alone ballooned to 56,870, a 14% increase from 2009. The photograph and subhead that accompanied the letter (seen at right; click to enlarge), which was signed "Marc Emery, Yazoo City Medium Federal Prison, Mississippi", was a nice reminder to myself that I still exist in a Canadian political context.

I'm also excited that the Canadian Liberal Party, under the leadership of interim leader Bob Rae, has declared the war on drugs "an absolute, catastrophic failure" (see quotes here), and that the Liberal Party of Canada seems to be adopting a repudiation of prohibition as central to its opposition to Harper Omnibus Crime Bill (see the Liberal Party's website post "5 Reasons to Oppose the Omnibus Crime Bill"). This is great news. The Liberal party must revitalize itself, and all the science, facts and political momentum buttress their new energy they are applying to this issue.

It is noteworthy that on the federal NDP website, absolutely no opposition to the Omnibus Crime Bill has been articulated. Could the NDP members like Libby Davies have had their opposition to the war on drugs silenced? The NDP is frustrating in its weather-vane-like direction on this issue. Bob Rae cannot retreat from his statement the war on drugs is a complete failure. In one sweeping statement, he has established what the Liberal Party policy is – and it's deserving of our support. If anyone is looking for a reason to join the Liberal Party of Canada, now they have it, and there could not be a better or more significant reason to do so. Anyone who joins must say, "I am impressed by Bob Rae's repudiation of the war on drugs and his statement that it is a complete failure, and wish to be a part of the Liberal Party re-birth."

Of course, the evil Prime Minister Harper and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson promise that this Omnibus Crime Bill called C-10, with its mandatory minimum jail time for as few as six marijuana plants or making a few grams of hashish, "is just the beginning", and that even more ominous and draconian measures are to come.

That's why it is essential to our movement that you keep up the charge, my dear wife. You inspire me and you inspire many. Canadian families will suffer greatly, as their loved ones will be going to prison in much greater numbers in the cannabis community, and you must help them in dealing with these sad eventualities and help them cope. Few of them will get five year sentences for cannabis, but thousands upon thousands will get six months, a year, two years or more in prison. Second offenses get years in jail. Selling and producing other drugs have multiple years in jail under the proposed mandatory minimums. The harm and devastation to Canadian families will be extensive. You'll be needed to lend your compassion and sympathy to them.

The answer, as always, is to get involved in politics. All our people must join or work with a political party and make their voice heard and their participation count – because as we have seen, the prohibitionists are doing that very thing, and getting the results they want.

When I am released in the summer of 2014, you or I will begin campaigning for a nomination in Vancouver Center. Whichever one of us is seen as attractive to the NDP or Liberal Party in Vancouver Center (I don't believe Liberal MP Hedy Fry will run again), we will contest a nomination. Whether you get a nomination or I do, the voters are getting a twofer either way; you and I are a team, and we'll go to Ottawa together and work together and represent a vision of change from the diabolical Conservative agenda of pain, punishment and social control.

In Ontario, the Freedom Party that I founded long ago is making a good showing with 57 candidates on the October 6th provincial election ballot. But there is much work to be done there. Next election, they must get a full slate and more money raised to make serious inroads. Hopefully the many (over thirty!) cannabis activists who found welcome with the Freedom Party will continue to be politically active. I was pleased their money bomb raised over $7,000 for the purchase of TV ads during the election campaign.

I'm wearing my thermal undershirt today, the first time I've worn it since I bought it at D. Ray James (the private prison in Georgia) in December. I put it on a few times when I was there, but we also had a coat for cold December-January days too; here in Yazoo City they haven't given that out yet.

Nonetheless, I was comfortable reading outside my excellent biography of Allen Ginsberg by Michael Schumacher, called "Dharma Lion". I'm at the part, page 250, where Ginsberg's magnum opus poem "Howl" has been seized by San Francisco police, and the publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti and his City Lights Bookshop are being charged with obscenity and distribution of lewd materials. This trial is one of the big upheavals in San Francisco and American legal history, and "Howl" is vindicated.

While "Howl" is seized, and Ferlinghetti and a City Lights book store clerk are jailed and bailed out by the ACLU, Ginsberg's edit of William Burrough's "Naked Lunch" is being completed, with the portend that "Naked Lunch" too will encounter similar controversies shortly afterward. I have read "Howl" many years ago but now I will comprehend it much more, understanding what the 'Beat generation' means and what was going on with Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs that underlined how their work came about, and its significance. The first stanza of "Howl" may be one of the most famous opening lines in all of American poetry:

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
Angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night"

In that opening you can see into the soul of Charlie Parker, Jim Morrison, Abbie Hoffman, Phil Ochs, and so many other casualties of the brutalities of our age. Fortunately, some of those brutalized did not go mad, and survived intact enough to leave us powerful legacies as a warning about the fragility of our liberties and our sanity.

I have always admired how Allen Ginsberg was present at so many influential moments in history: the founding of the Beat generation literary and poetry movements; the early, more risky protests of the Vietnam War; the King of May event in Prague in 1965; the Human Be-In at Golden Gate Park in San Fran in January 1967; the protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago; and so many other moments in history that captured the zeitgeist of the times.

Allen Ginsberg led the very earliest marijuana protests in the 1950's and early 60's, plus he brought it up in Cuba, Czechoslovakia, and anywhere he traveled where cannabis users were oppressed and imprisoned. He had such a revelatory and liberating experience at a poetry convention at the University of British Columbia in October 1963, involving sex orgies and marijuana; this in turn influenced his Human BE-IN's that happened in San Francisco in January 1967 and in Vancouver in March of 1967. Ginsberg picketed numerous jails and detention centers in New York and San Francisco where marijuana users were held in the 1950's and 60's. He brought marijuana legalization up wherever he went in the world. In India its use was everywhere, so he really liked India. Ginsberg's life story is fascinating for the cannabis culture. Ginsberg used marijuana from 1947 to his death in 1997 and was perhaps one of its most articulate defenders in the 1950's, 60's and 70's.

I am enjoying the research, structure and thoroughness of Michael Schumacher's biographies. I have his biography of Eric Clapton here to read afterward, but weeks ago I finished Schumacher's excellent biography of 60's folksinger Phil Ochs, called "There but For Fortune".

I will say that my time in prison has given me the opportunity to immerse myself in the life and works of some of my heroes, such as Martin Luther King Jr. (the outstanding three-volume work by Taylor Branch that took me months to complete at Sea-Tac FDC in Seattle last year), Malcolm X, Bob Marley, Ayn Rand, Clarence Darrow, Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and now Allen Ginsberg.

I am busy all the time, reading six or seven magazines each week and the daily NY Times, writing letters, doing three hours of Corrlinks ("email") daily, practicing and playing bass guitar, working through a backlog of books (and more on the way), and making the best use of my time. I have been in good health for two months now, and I eat as best as can be possible here, and drink only water. I take calcium and Vitamin C and D supplements daily. My morale stays elevated just anticipating and cherishing your visits to me.

I look forward to receiving photographs of all the changes at your store and the hallways leading to the BCMP Lounge. I hear it looks very handsome! So glad to hear change and improvement is going on. I know you are incredibly busy and wish I were home to rub your feet after your long gruelling days of activity. I promise there will be a long, delicious foot rub every night once I am returned to you!

The National Geographic Special "Marijuana Nation" with me in it aired last Saturday, and days before that, the worldwide version of that episode, titled "Inside Marijuana" with even more of me in it (and less DEA coverage, which was more prominent in the US version), aired in numerous countries around the globe, so I am pleased to know the message about my work continues to be on television. The new documentary CITIZEN MARC is in the final stages of editing and should be ready to be submitted to film festivals by next Spring and Summer.

My graduation photo of me in cap and gown came back today, so I will mail that to you immediately so you can make it my Facebook profile photo. As of today, Tuesday, September 27th, I have 1,016 days to my release – that's 33 months to go. Unless we get that pardon! Something to work towards!

I love my Mrs. Emery!
Your Husband & Admirer,

Write Marc a letter:

MARC EMERY #40252-086
P.O. BOX 5888

The Jodie Emery Show – August 25, 2011

submitted by on August 29, 2011

Just back from the Seattle Hempfest, Jodie has pictures and video to share (see more at along with two gifts: a beautiful Mr. Kiefbox stash box with the Chronic Art roach paper mosaic portrait of Marc and Jodie, and a hooked rug of the "FREE MARC" logo from Bunny at the Vancouver Dispensary.

Vivian McPeak, tireless warrior and executive director of Seattle Hempfest, has written a great book about the 20 years of Hempfest history. Get a copy for $20, email and go to or for more info about the biggest cannabis event on earth!

Marc could use a letter to lift his spirits, as he's been feeling extra depressed lately. Go to for the address and guidelines.

"We've got everything you need, except the weed"! Visit and show your support for Marc Emery's Cannabis Culture Headquarters.