YAZOO CITY, MS — Canadian marijuana seed magnate and political dissident Marc Emery, who is about four years into a five-year US prison sentence for selling pot seeds over the Internet, has been sent to solitary confinement at the Mississippi federal prison where he’s doing his time.
According to the magazine he founded, Cannabis Culture, he is being punished over false charges.
Emery, along with other prisoners at the Yazoo City Federal Correctional Institution, formed a band some months ago. Photos of the band were taken by prison staff, then developed and sent to his wife, Jodie Emery, in Vancouver, and were posted on his blog in April.
According to Emery, permission for the photos was granted by three separate administrators, including one at the prison’s Special Investigative Services department.
But now, prison officials have placed Emery and his band mates in solitary confinement while they say they are investigating the possibility the photos had been taken with a prohibited smart phone. Prisoners in solitary, or, as it is euphemistically known, the Special Housing Unit (SHU), are locked in their cells 23 hours a day and denied normal prison amenities.
Emery has now been put in the solitary cells at the prison Special Housing Unit (SHU) and told he is under investigation by the SIS, who say the photos may have been taken with a prohibited smart phone.
“Got to see Marc for 1.5 hours,” Jodie Emery posted in an online statement Friday, shortly after a trip to visit him. “Prison has him in solitary confinement to ‘investigate’ the photos of his band that the prison itself approved! The investigation (could take months) is to see if Marc had a cell phone to take the band photos – despite proof the prison camera was used! The warden, guards, music/recreation admins – everyone – knows Marc got official permission for those photos. Yet they put him in solitary?!”
Cannabis Culture reported that prison authorities were unavailable to comment until after the weekend.
As an entrepreneur and activist, the Vancouver-based Emery was a burr under the saddle of US drug warriors, who managed to indict him for his seed-selling business. Canadian authorities refused to protect him, although they had allowed his business to operate untrammeled for years.
He was eventually sentenced to five years in federal prison in a plea deal designed to spare his codefendants from facing the wrath of US prosecutors. In a press release the day of his arrest, the DEA issued a press release crowing that taking him down was “a significant blow…to the marijuana legalization movement….Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery’s illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.”
With little more than a year to go on his sentence, Emery is seeking a transfer to a Canadian prison. Interested parties can support his bid by sending a letter to the Justice Department’s transfer division.