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"Prince of Pot" Marc Emery faces sentencing today in Seattle

Marc Emery in 2007 in a photograph from the creative commons, compliments of Wikipedia

After a long extradition fight that ended earlier this year, Marc Emery is finally going to prison, news reports say.

Observers expect Emery to receive a five year prison term.

Emery's legal team essentially agreed to this in a plea bargain earlier in the year and Emery is expected to pull out of the agreement if the judge tries to impose a longer term.

"It has always been my sincere belief that the prohibitions on cannabis are hurtful to U.S. and Canadian citizens and are contrary to the constitutions of both countries," the 52-year-old wrote in the Sept. 1 letter.

"I regret not choosing other methods -- legal ones -- to achieve my goals of peaceful political reform," the former candidate for Vancouver, B.C., mayor continued. "I have no one to blame but myself. … In fact, one of my heroes, Mahannes Gandhi (sic), often said that an important principle of civil disobedience is acceptance of punishment by the state without complaint.

"I, too, accept my punishment without complaint."

Writing in an opinion column  in the Seattle Times on September 3, 2010 entitled "Marijuana's true potency and why the law should change," former US Attorney John McKay, the prosecutor of Emery's case, spoke out against US marijuana prohibition laws, calling them  dangerous and wrong-headed.

McKay said the “public is endangered” by continued adherence to the policy of Marijuana prohibition:

As Emery’s prosecutor and a former federal law-enforcement official… I’m not afraid to say out loud what most of my former colleagues know is true: Our marijuana policy is dangerous and wrong and should be changed through the legislative process to better protect the public safety.

McKay linked the growing power of the drug cartels to US Marijuana policy. Prohibition policy itself is the object of  ”exploitation by Mexican and other international drug cartels and gangs,"he wrote and said he sided with marijuana decriminalization advocates. He said that “informed adult choice…may well be preferable to the legal and policy meltdown we have long been suffering over marijuana.”

So the policy is wrong, the law has failed, the public is endangered, no one in law enforcement is talking about it and precious few policymakers will honestly face the soft-on-crime sound bite in their next elections.

Now a law professor at Seattle University, McKay was the United States Attorney in Seattle when he indicted Marc Emery in 2005. He was sacked the following year when the Bush Administration carried out its 2006 dismissal of US Attorneys.

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