CALGARY — A marijuana advocate who has described himself as the “Prince of Pot” launched a cross-country farewell tour Sunday before he turns himself in to face drug-related charges in the United States.
Marc Emery, 51, who operates a marijuana paraphernalia store and is the leader of the B.C. Marijuana Party, has given up his long fight to avoid extradition to the U.S. for selling cannabis seeds to Americans.
He said he plans to turn himself in to authorities in Seattle in the fall and expects to serve a lengthy prison sentence.
But first, he’ll tour several Canadian cities.
“I’m being taken to a U.S. prison for something I did in Canada as innocuous as selling seeds, which don’t even have any drug quality, and yet I have to face a five year term for that,” Emery said as he launched his tour in Calgary.
The pot advocate has said that his Vancouver lawyer persuaded him that he could not win an extradition fight that began after he was arrested in 2005 on charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana seeds and marijuana and conspiracy to engage in money laundering.
Emery has said that there have been talks with a U.S. assistant district attorney about pleading guilty to a count of marijuana distribution.
While a prosecutor could seek an eight year term, Emery’s lawyer would seek no more than five years in prison.
“It’s difficult to say what will happen in a U.S. federal penitentiary. It’s never very pleasant. American jails aren’t run nearly as well as Canadian jails,” said Emery.
He and his wife Jodie were greeted by other marijuana advocates at the Calgary airport.
Emery said he decided to go on tour to say goodbye to friends and encourage them to keep up the fight to legalize marijuana.
“I’m going away for a long time so I expect everybody to do their best and pick up the slack for me,” he said.
The marijuana activist was also expected to make stops in Banff, Lethbridge, Edmonton and Saskatoon.