VANCOUVER -- the nuptials between Marc "Prince of Pot" Emery and Jodie Giesz-Ramsay must have seemed like the first act in The Godfather to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
I'm talking about the wedding scene where all the Mob heads gather to honour Don Vito Corleone on his daughter's wedding day.
The difference is that this marriage is taking place in a white tent in Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Park, where 75 guests blow bubbles, some smoke-filled.
There are too many boom mics and media people blocking our view of the vows, but still, it's disappointing that the DEA didn't send a photographer. Getting immortalized by the Man at the Prince of Pot's wedding would have been too cool.
There's Emery's co-accused, bridesmaid Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek, herding well-dressed potheads into something resembling a wedding party.
Emery, who faces extradition to the U.S. for conspiracy to sell pot seeds on the Internet and conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, had his bail conditions changed so he could tie the knot. So did his two co-arrestees.
The bridesmaids are wearing royal purple gowns, not green, while the bride is elegant in a trained, creamy-white strapless. Her first contact, at age 18, with her Prince of Pot came via his online forums.
Quickly transforming the traditional rituals, chilled-out guests spend more time in cannabis-sharing circles outside the tent than in their chairs witnessing the vows. This suits best man Dana Larsen, former Cannabis Culture editor and now Vancouver Seed Bank proprietor, perfectly. No stoned speeches to make.
Emery doesn't do much pot pontificating, stopping himself during a rambling reception speech. The Prince of Pot seems blazed from all the love in the reception hall.
There were moments during the past year's extradition ordeal when the groom seemed weary, vulnerable and humble, despite his assertions to the contrary. After all, he could end up in the pot penalty box forever. But gazing over the room today, he beams, praising friends for following their own "opportunity," by which he means pot business opportunities.
At one time, Vansterdam was the font of all cannabis wisdom. Now everyone is doing his or her own "toker thing," Emery says. The toker takedown in Van has turned Toronto into an "unlimited" opportunity: more people making pot food, toking tour operators, more bring-your-own-bud cafés, more inspired weed warriors.
When the top of the cannabis plant is pruned, the plant sprouts two shoots. There are so many stoned shoots at this reception, it's marijuana magical.
The case is seldom mentioned here. I'm not here to bring it up, and Emery and his new bride claim they never discuss it.
Jodie Emery seems to evoke a softer side in the man known for occasional bombastic outbursts of absurdity. She also has impeccable taste, having turned the BC Marijuana Party's vapour lounge and ganja garden potio into places of beauty. The groom says his bride gets her fantastic sense of flair from her mom. "Her whole family is beautiful," he tells me.
When someone does bring up the taboo extradition subject, it's in a positive frame. Word is going around that the Supreme Court of Canada may have given the pair a wedding gift.
According to lawyer Kirk Tousaw, general counsel for the BC Marijuana Party and confidant of Emery, et al., a July ruling on a U.S. extradition case against Shane Tyrone Ferras, Leroy Latty and Lynval Wright, not involving pot, might have implications for the Emery matter. The decision, says Tousaw, "expands the role of the hearing judge in extradition hearings.'
Prior to this decision, he says, the judge had a limited role in reviewing evidence being used by the state requesting the extradition. "In Ferras, the Court read in additional protections. Practically speaking, this decision should have the effect of making the committal hearing a more substantive process and could result in longer and more in-depth hearings.'
Judges, he says, can now look at the whole of the evidence and such matters as whether that evidence is sufficient to convict, whether it is reliable and whether it is really available to be used in court.
All this could strenghten the cases of Emery and his co-accused, which go to trial on August 21. What they already have going for them is the fact that a Canadian judge can examine the evidence offered by the other country to determine whether or not there is evidence of conduct that would justify committal for trial in Canada
This is important because seed selling is a tolerated, rarely punished crime here. Much of the DEA evidence, according to extradition documents, consists of American growers who had his seed catalogue (Cannabis Culture) at the time of their arrest. Then there are the DEA agents who made in-store seed purchases and who, on their own, smuggled seeds to the U.S.
By America's reasoning, any country where Emery's product landed, like Australia, could seek his extradition. This thinking is as nutty as Canada's broadcast regulator, the CRTC, demanding Fox News propagandist Bill O'Reilly's extradition for promoting hate speech.
We can only dream.