'Prince of Pot' back in Canada

Marc Emery arrives in Windsor on Aug. 12, 2014. (Kate Dubinski, QMI AGENCY)

Marc Emery arrives in Windsor on Aug. 12, 2014. (Kate Dubinski, QMI AGENCY)

Kate Dubinski, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:43 PM ET

WINDSOR, Ont. — The world Marc Emery left in 2010 is very different than the one he came home to on Tuesday.

Yes, marijuana has been legalized in several American states while the pot activist sat in U.S. federal prison for selling cannabis seeds from his Vancouver business.

Canadian law has changed, too, with medical marijuana dispensaries dotting the streets of major cities, including on the very block he'll go home to when he and his wife return British Columbia later this week.

But perhaps the biggest shock Marc Emery is in for is a personal one.

When he was extradited to serve his American sentence, his wife Jodie Emery was learning how to run the couple's store, maybe prepared to do some media interviews while her husband ─ the public face of the pot legalization movement in Canada ─ served his time.

Now, the tables have turned.

It's Jodie Emery who's the public face of pot reform, and is seeking the Liberal nomination in Vancouver East.

It's Jodie Emery who has tried to make sure everyone knows the Emerys support Justin Trudeau and his federal Liberal party, the only major party to publicly support pot legalization.

It's Marc Emery ─ a self-described egomaniac ─ who has become a political liability to the movement.

His welcome back to Canada on Tuesday was jovial, with more than 100 pot activists greeting him as he stepped out of the customs building in Windsor after a 12-hour day in shackles. He'd travelled by plane, then van, from a detention centre in Louisiana.

In the lead up to her husband's release, Jodie Emery was fielding the questions, doing live interviews, tweeting and touting the Liberal party as the only option for Canadians wanting pot legalized.

The Liberal leader has been silent on Jodie Emery's intention to seek the Vancouver East seat. She says she's just picked up her nomination papers and has been asked by the riding association to run.

But as Marc Emery spoke for two hours just after 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jodie Emery took a backseat, standing slightly to the side of the podium, handing her husband bottled water as he called Prime Minister Stephen Harper a "tyrant," an "evil man" and a "Machiavellian manipulator."

That's going to have to change, even Marc Emery admitted, saying his wife, once his "protege," has had 4 1/2 years "to come out of (his) shadow."

"She's had time to establish that, and now it's up to me to adapt to that. I have to be there to tell people, especially young people, to go out and vote."

Marc Emery, who has been to jail two dozen times for his pot activism, has changed tactics.

Instead of advocating civil disobedience, including smoking gigantic joints on the steps of police stations, the Emerys have decided to try to help get marijuana legalized by working within the system that's thrown Marc in jail so many times.

But that mainstream political system doesn't look kindly on convicted felons, so the burden rests with Jodie.

"Civil disobedience has worked in the past but it won't work now," Marc Emery said Tuesday.

"We need to get off social media, we need to get young people to get out, talk to each other, talk to their friends, talk to their parents, explain to them why they are voting Liberal and to actually go to the ballot box."

 


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