This prison blog is in response to the recent media coverage of Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau and his comments about smoking pot with Marc Emery. The following is Marc's clarification about what really happened.
Note: Justin Trudeau denied ever having smoked marijuana with Marc Emery.
Back in summer 2009 I was going across Canada on a "Farewell Tour," meeting fans and supporters at speaking engagements in over 30 cities, where I would speak for one to three hours about marijuana, prohibition, and more. There's a video -- and from what I'm told, it's a good one, mostly -- of me speaking at Toronto's Vapor Central during that tour.
I didn't commission it. I haven't seen it. It was posted on YouTube after I was sent off to exile here in the U.S. penal system, and we don't have internet here, so I don't recall the specifics of what I may have said.
Here's the link to the Trudeau comment portion, as it has now been made notorious by a remark I made that is under-explained.
Apparently in this 2009 speech I am seen saying the following, after the recently elected Member of Parliament Justin Trudeau voted "yes" to the Conservative Party's mandatory minimum for pot cultivation legislation introduced in the 2009 Parliamentary session:
"(Pierre Trudeau's) son has smoked with me four or five times, so it really pisses me off when I see Justin Trudeau, who took big gaggers with me, is in Parliament actually voting for Bill C-15. What a fucking hypocrite."
But I have only smoked pot on one occasion with Justin Trudeau. The "four or five times" is four or five times that evening. It was on the patio of a second floor restaurant on West Broadway Avenue in Vancouver, in August 2003, during a small dinner party with mutual friends Jaymie, an aficionado like me, and Lara -- who, while delightful company, did not smoke any pot with us that evening. We had all spoken at Ideacity in Toronto the previous June (where I was smoking pot beside Justin Trudeau at the evening parties, but in the presence of numerous cameras, so I did not even offer him any joints that I was firing up), and this August occasion was an evening dinner between the four Ideacity alumni before that evening's fireworks were being presented, in what was then called Symphony of Fire (and is now the Celebration of Light).
So in my frustration during that Farewell Tour speech recorded on video, I said "four or five times," but I meant in one occasion -- not on four or five separate occasions, which would be brazenly false on the face of it.
If I was out there in the world, and had seen this video, or was aware of my exact wording that was being shown, I would certainly try to clarify this statement, or have it edited, or something. I would have done anything to clear up what is clearly now a false inference. I said "gaggers" in that speech because, well, that is a fun name for big joints (and I'm sure they were decent-sized joints as I rolled them).
Now, it is really embarrassing that this video has me saying "four or five times" without further clarification, and it's been out there for years; no wonder the honourable leader of the Liberal Party is pissed and says I'm "flat-out lying." That he has smoked pot with me on four or five separate occasions, yes, that is completely false, and I take responsibility for saying four or five times without the whole story.
But I didn't lie; I meant to reference that Justin Trudeau has smoked pot. I witnessed it in 2003 (he enjoyed it) and then six years later as an MP he went to Parliament and voted for bad legislation that sought to put pot people put in prison for mandatory minimum prison terms (it was defeated that time by a delay in the Senate).
However, that was then, and this is now. Today, as Liberal Party leader he is doing a terrific job on the issue of marijuana and its legal status. He is advocating the clearest, most rational policy -- legalization -- that I can imagine a Canadian leader putting forth.
I can completely understand why he'd be incensed by remarks I made that imply he's smoked pot with me on four or five separate occasions. It was 10 years ago this month that we smoked a joint together and I'm not sure he remembers that much about it. I remember the one evening pretty clearly.
But that's it. No other times do I have any first-hand knowledge about Justin Trudeau and pot consumption. I had employees and friends who lived in Whistler and knew Justin Trudeau and Ross Rebagliatti. Pot use is extremely common in most of B.C., but especially in Whistler and Vancouver.
Canadians, and myself especially, have long been waiting for the promises made by prime ministers Pierre Trudeau (the LeDain Commission in 1970) and Jean Chretien (the $100 fine proposal in 2003) to be recognized as a legal and normal choice of behaviour.
Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party are doing a terrific job on this issue, which is sure to send millions of young Canadians to the polls in October 2015 to support their efforts to legalize marijuana. I'm deeply embarrassed to cause such a problem for Canada's future prime minister, and deeply regret my too-vague and unexplained remarks.
I hope I've set the record straight. But in closing I want to say that it doesn't really matter how many times Trudeau smoked with me, or if he never did it at all -- the important story here is that the future prime minister of Canada wants to legalize marijuana because he knows that prohibition is an expensive, failed policy that is enriching gangs and destroying people's lives.
The majority of Canadians support legalization, and they do not have any problems with a politician admitting to consuming a substance that's much less harmful than alcohol. Hopefully Trudeau will continue to campaign for pot law reform.
Marc Emery #40252-086
Yazoo City federal prison, Mississippi
*This article originally appeared in CannabisCulture.com.