The Adventures of Marc Emery
a new play
compiled by Christopher Doty
images taken from the 1992 documentary
Marc Emery: Messing up the System)
Marc Emery born in London, Ontario the second child of Alfred and Eileen
Delivers newspapers, earns money to set up a mail-order business for used
comic books which earns about $120 a week.
Leaves school while in Grade 12 to purchase The London Used Book Mart
(later City Lights Book Shop).
Emery is buying
about 2,000 books a week and selling 1,000.
Works for NDP party during the federal election.
Criticized London police for slow response times to break-ins and robberies
in the core area. Argues that downtown merchants should hire private security
officers to do what the police can't.
Begins smoking marijuana recreationally because "it provides a certain
enlightenment alcohol and drugs don't."
Rather than pay an annual levy of $35 a year for downtown business improvements,
he mounts an expensive legal campaign to have the tax eliminated, arguing
it favours a handful of the elite.
Future documentary producer Christopher Doty makes first purchase at City
Runs in federal election for London East riding as a Libertarian candidate,
places a distant fourth, later rejects party as "too philisophical."
Founds a weekly
newspaper, the London Tribune because he is not happy with the way he
has been depicted in the local media.
London Tribune closes its doors when Revenue Canada steps in and seizes
the accounts for back taxes.
Emery loses $40,000 on the venture but soon launches another publicaction,
The MetroBulletin which is condemned for "vitriolic, personal attacks
on individuals and their character." One article prompts a police
officer to sue Emery for libel.
Runs for Alderman in Ward 3. He promises to cut taxes and pay for park
improvements by raising the money himself. He places fourth.
The London Status of Women League, a local feminist group, asks city hall
to pass a bylaw restricting the sale of pornography in London. The group
cites the results of a recent survey that show the majority of Londoners
wanted their youth protected from skin magazines. Emery argues skin magazines
are necessary to help variety store owners turn a profit.
local variety stores and sex shops for porn magazines and assorted erotic
articles. Emery encourages store owners to band together and resist.
Helps form the Freedom party (formerly the Unparty). The party promotes
free enterprise and opposes the involvement of government in Canadians'
lives. The new party starts off with 12 members. Its president is Robert
Metz, self-employed accountant and, like Emery, a former Libertarian.
Emery launches assault on London's bid for the 1991 Pan Am games which
he slags as senseless waste of taxpayer's dollars for the enjoyment of
a priviledged few. Londoners are urged to mail protest postcards to Otto
Jelinek, federal sports minister. Emery spends $10,000 to stop the Pan
Am games, plus another $3,000 in contributions
London's Pan Am games bid dies when the federal government puts a five-year
freeze on international sport spending. Game organizers later blame Emery
for the loss.
Runs for Alderman seat in Ward 3 again. He loses again.
Emery is charged
under the Retail Business Holidays Act for opening his store on a Sunday.
Emery sells books on the first Sunday, gives them away on the second.
Emery argues the law impedes his right to conduct business.
During a strike by city outside workers, Emery pays for a truck rental
and volunteers for garbage pickup in certain areas of the city. Strikers
threaten to dump trash on Emery's front lawn while Mayor Tom Gosnell sits
on the fence.
Changes in provincial law allow bookstores to open if the business is
staffed by no more than three employees. Emery breaks the law by staffing
his store with more than three employees. He vows to go to jail rather
than pay a fine.
Emery runs for the Freedom party during the provincial election. He loses.
Emery is ordered to pay a $500 fine for a 1987 Sunday opening charge
Emery cleared of opening in December
1986 because a provincial judge rules the prosecution failed to prove
Emery was the owner of the bookstore. Emery, armed with a neat parcel
of legal and constitutional arguments, never gets a chance to open his
mouth in court.
Emery goes to jail at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre for the 1987
Sunday opening charge. Friends and patrons of his bookstore pay for his
fine and he is release three days later.
Closes his store for one day out of respect for those who died protesting
for democracy at the Tianemen Square Massacre in China.
City Lights Bookstore is damaged in a fire that guts the building next
door. Emery offers to help the striken business owner rebuild.
Emery begins Radiofreespeech on CHRW. Originally an afternoon disc jockey
program, it soon becomes a two-hour editorial soapbox for Emery.
The Freedom party attracts 6039 voters in 10 ridings in a provincial election
that sweeps the NDP party to power in Ontario.
A Fort Lauderdale Record Store owner is convicted of selling 2 Live Crew
album, Nasty as They Wanna Be. Emery contributes $200 for the defence.
Emery announces he will sell the record to people aged 18 and over, even
though the OPP's pornography, hate literature and anti-rackets branch
has deemed the recording to be obscene and pornographic.
sells approximately 40 copies of the cassette, one of the first 20 customers
is an undercover police officer. Emery is served with a summons and the
store is searched.
Emery decides to invoke the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to fight the
charge. He says enforcement is arbitary because the law, as written, is
Emery abandons the Freedom party because his principles no longer allow
him to be a member of a political party. He says he doesn't believe in
the democratic practice anymore.
During Emery's 2 Live Crew the trial judge declares he will not allow
any evidence pertaining to a constitutional challenge.
Emery's program axed from CHRW for advocating drug use and the use of
profanity on the air.
Emery found guilty of selling obscene material. The judge rejects his
argument that rap music is a unique reflection of black culture on the
grounds it reflects American Afro-American culture, not Canadian.
Debbie Newman, Emery's second common law wife, is fined $50 for refusing
to allow a school board superintendent to examine her at-home teaching
methods for her sons.
Emery annouces he will start selling smuggled publications endorsing and
praising the use of marijuana, in violation of the Criminal code. Emery
says the law is unconstitutional because it's too vague. London police
say they'll monitor the situation.
Emery sells $700 work of pot books in less than an hour. No charges laid.
Emery enourages London voters to burn their ballots in protest during
the municiple election since "democracy can't change anything". Emery
wants to eliminate democracy and return the social structure to the people.
No one takes Emery up on his offer.
Marches into the London police station and charges himself for selling
drug literature, authorities decline his offer. Emery declares he'll be
charged for the offence, even if he has to get his staff or customers
to charge him.
Announces he is moving to Panjm, India with his family. He praises India
for its robust economy, lack of welfare, strong work ethic and lack of
political and religious enroachment on its citizen's lives.
Emery urges people to plant pot in the gardens of judges, lawyers, police
and politicians. Distributes a banned pro-pot magazine in front of the
London Police station and tries to swear a charge against himself for
doing so. Police decline his offer but warn him he could be charged for
not having a vendor's permit if he tries to sell the publication on the
Emery loses his 2 Live Crew appeal. Emery is put on 12 months probation.
Emery leaves London for India.
Christopher Doty's documentary Marc Emery: Messing Up the System
Returns to London briefly to announce plans to open a guest home in Sumatra.
The venture financially ruins Emery and he winds up broke in Vancouver
within months - where he begins his pot empire.
Attends Cannibas Conference at London Convention Centre.
Return to London to celebrate the 25th anniversary of City Lights bookshop.
Lights up a joint outside London Police headquarters as part of a nation-wide
Producer Christopher Doty and author Jason Rip begin work on an original
play, Citizen Marc: The Adventures of Marc Emery
here for information on Citizen Marc
Click here for the Citizen Marc poster