Canada's "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery returns home this week after spending nearly five years in a U.S. prison for selling marijuana seeds by mail order to American customers — an offence that probably wouldn't get him arrested today.
Emery, founder and leader of the B.C. Marijuana Party, opened his Cannabis Culture shop in Vancouver in 1994. Police raided his store three times, but he received nothing worse than a fine until 2005, when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency charged him under that country's stricter laws.
Here's a look at how pot laws have changed since Emery was charged.
- Jan. 3, 2006: Medical marijuana becomes legal in Rhode Island. Nine other U.S. states already have medical pot laws.
- Nov. 6, 2012: Colorado and Washington become the first U.S. states to legalize pot for recreational use.
- June 19, 2013: The Canadian government introduces Marijuana for Medical Purposes regulations to replace the Marijuana Medical Access Program, in effect since 2001. Under the new rules, that were set to go into effect April 1, 2014, individuals can no longer be growers; eligible patients must obtain their medical marijuana from licensed commercial producers. Marijuana is still not approved by Health Canada.
- Mar. 21, 2014: Just ahead of the April 1 deadline, Federal Court issues an injunction against the government's plan to end grow-your-own medical pot for licensed users. The issue remains unresolved.
- Aug. 8, 2014: Washington state announces that its first month of recreational pot sales, in July, was expected to net $1 million in tax revenue on $3.8 million in sales. Medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia.
Jodie Emery, wife of imprisoned activist Marc Emery, says she sees a day, in the not too distant future — if not for the current Conservative government taking a tough stand - where pot could be legal in Canada. Here, in her Vancouver office, she hold s Washington State paper heralding a yes vote of legalization. QMI Agency file photo