By Nina Shapiro Tue., May 1 2012 at 7:00 AM
Marc Emery, British Columbia’s so-called Prince of Pot, has endorsed marijuana legalization initiative I-502. In staking out his position, Emery sided with the man who put him in prison–former U.S. Attorney for Western Washington John McKay–and gave a tongue lashing to the initiative’s critics.
Emery, serving a five-year sentence in connection with his former seed empire, made his views known via a blog he writes from prison (posted with the help of supporters). He delivered an upbeat post on Saturday, which took note of wife Jodie’s recent appearance with McKay at a press conference in Vancouver held by a pro-legalization group.
“The great news continues,” Emery went on. “My former prosecutor John McKay, not content with just being a lecturer on the evils of the drug war, is also co-sponsor of an excellent legalization initiative on the Washington State ballot this November. Apology accepted, Mr. McKay!”
Last time we checked, while working on last year’s profile of McKay, the former prosecutor turned legalization activist did not reciprocate the warm fuzzies. “He got what he deserved,” McKay said of Emery. “He wanted to change policy, and the way he chose to do that was not to get himself elected to the B.C. parliament, but to break the law.”
McKay’s refusal to actually apologize is held against him by, among others, lawyer and legalization activist Douglas Hiatt, who told SW that the former prosecutor has never faced his “moral culpability.” But that doesn’t seem to bother Emery, whose harsh words are reserved for activists like Hiatt who are critical of I-502.
Emery dismisses as “trivial” the argument that 502 would endanger cannabis users through the initiative’s DUI provision, which specifies a very limited amount of the drug that drivers can have in their bloodstream, and creates a zero tolerance policy for those under 21. Emery writes:
How ironic that I currently have far more respect for my former prosecutor and his proposed legislation than I have for those activists who would foolishly and dangerously oppose this great step forward over trivialities, much the same way as done by many so-called members of the movement who killed Prop. 19 in California in 2010. Much of the Washington state opposition to I-502 is rooted in adversarial jealousy, because after three attempts, some activists just can’t get an initiative of their own on the ballot, so resent McKay, the ACLU and their backers who did manage to get I-502 on the ballot.
Ouch. Hiatt, who founded Sensible Washington, the group that repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to get a broader legalization initiative on the ballot, insists his opposition to I-502 “doesn’t have a damn thing to do with jealously.” Instead, he tells SW, it really does have to do with the initiative’s DUI provision.
And Hiatt bristles against the notion that all marijuana activists should fall in line behind the well-financed initiative and its influential supporters. “The whims of totalitarianism are blowing, even in the movement,” he says.