It was a hard day for all Marc Emery supporters when he was sentenced, on Sept. 11. In a written statement it appeared that Emery had, in one fell swoop renounced his past acts of civil disobedience, as well as withdraw his previous endorsement of such actions. “My zealous pursuit of what may be an honourable goal of repeal of a bad law blinded me from recognizing that my ex- ample of flouting the law is a bad example to set for others,” his written statement said. “I promise to never advocate civil disobedi- ence, or condone civil disobedience, or ever flout Canadian or U.S. laws ever again.”

“I regret not choosing other methods—legal ones—to achieve my goals of peaceful political reform,” he wrote. “In my zeal, I had believed that my actions were wholesome, but my behaviour was in fact illegal and set a bad example for others.”

He made a similar statement at his sentencing where he received the five year sentence with a recommendation to be returned home to Canada to serve the remainder of his time. “The judge said he had received hundreds of letters—including one in crayon—supporting Emery,” The Seattle Times noted.

The relief that the expected sentence was handed out as promised was overshadowed by sharp criticisms in the cybersphere of Emery’s statement. How is it that the man who taught so many how effective breaking the law can be for change, has now renounced an action that had brought the legalization movement so far in Canada?

In a letter to his friend and fellow activist Chris Bennett, Emery responded to such criticism with realism.

“The renunciation of civil disobedience is practical, not philosophical. Practical because when I get returned to Canada, as I hope and expect, I will be released on parole at 20 months (of 60 months, 1/3 for a first time non-violent offender), that is November 10, 2011, if I am back in Abbotsford by May 2011 (a possibility). For the 40 months afterward I am on parole and if I break any laws, I can be put back in jail. There is no way I’ll be bong hitting or smoking joints in public or anything that is going to put me back in jail.” He wrote. “Since I won’t be doing civil DISobedience, I can hardly recom- mend or tell others to do it.That’s why I say it’s a practical matter, not a philosophical one. I would not recommend civil disobedience to anyone who values keeping free of a criminal record, because these people, especially young people, may need to travel to the United States, or get bonded in some professions, etc. It’s not a decision anyone should consider lightly.”

So perhaps the disobedient chapter in Marc Emery’s life book is closed for the time being, and we can hardly blame him. Having already spent a month in solitary over a phone call being recorded, and now facing two months without commissary (where he purchases things like stamps and shampoo) over his wife Jodie putting funds in an inmates commissary fund, I can only imagine an insane man would do anything to put himself back into that position again once free.

On Sept. 18, supporters from cities and towns around the world donned their “Free Marc” shirts and “Bring Marc Home” signs to call on the Canadian minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews, to sign the transfer papers required to bring Marc Emery back home where he belongs.

You can help by writing a polite letter asking Minister Toews to have Marc Emery transferred back to Canada.

The Hon. Vic Toews Parliament Hill Suite 306, HC Justice Building Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Editor’s note: After the article was written, Marc was transferred to Taft FCI in California, where he will begin the paperwork to hopefully be transfered back to Canada to serve the remainder of his sentence.