Canada’s “Prince of Pot” returned to Vancouver Sunday to hundreds of supporters.
Marc Emery was released from U.S. jail earlier this week, after serving a five-year sentence for selling marijuana seeds.
Supporters held a rally at Victory Square on the Downtown Eastside Sunday afternoon.
Emery says he was surprised at the changes in Vancouver since he left, especially with the liberalization of rules around marijuana dispensaries in the city.
“With my new apartment, there’s a dispensary right next door, it’s something that has changed since I’ve been gone,” he says. “Our city council needs to be given some credit.”
Emery is confident Liberal leader Justin Trudeau will be the next Prime Minister, paving the way for the legalization of pot.
“When marijuana becomes legal – when Trudeau becomes PM next year – that’s only 14 months away,” he says. “The provinces will be empowered under the constitution to decided how marijuana will be distributed, so provinces need to start talking about this now.”
As for his time in jail, Emery says it was a positive experience and he even picked up some new musical skills.
“I had a positive experience in jail, all of the inmates I came across were all universally kind to me and helpful,” he says. “I learned the bass guitar, and was in some fabulous rock-and-roll bands.”
He says even Canadians who do not agree with his pro-pot views have something to gain from the legalization of marijuana.
“Everyone in Canada has a vested interest in legalizing marijuana; it costs billions and gives young people criminal records that can endanger travel,” says Emery.
The 56-year-old Vancouver resident was extradited to Seattle in May 2010, when he pleaded guilty to selling marijuana seeds from Canada to American customers before serving his time in several U.S. corrections’ facilities.
When he was first arrested almost a decade ago, the Drug Enforcement Agency heralded his seizure as a “significant blow” to the legalization movement.
Emery crossed the border to Windsor, Ont. on Tuesday evening and vowed to continue his activism even if it means more arrests.
He is allegedly eyeing the next federal election as a potential spring-board to finally make marijuana legal in Canada.
A recent survey showed 59 per cent of Canadians think the use of marijuana should be legalized in this country. The support is strongest in B.C. at 70 per cent and nationally men are slightly more supportive of legalization than women.
VIDEO: Prince of Pot returns to Vancouver
With files from David Shum