Find me a joke about the Cannabis community that borders on that kind of black humor. Go ahead, I'll wait.
Same challenge. Still waiting.
love wordplay. Some of my favorite jokes are the result of clever word
choice. Still nothing on the offensive Cannabis jokes? Well, then.
will find these kinds of jokes offensive. To be honest, they're some of
the tamest Jewish jokes that I know. It's called Gallows Humor, the art
of turning tragedy into hilarity, because the alternative to doing so
is to give in to despair and disgust. For an oppressed people to claim
the language used in their own dehumanization is a form of cultural
empowerment, and part of that includes the use of their own slurs and
We will return to that question shortly.
Coren may be, in Mr. Emery's words, a "loathsome" conservative TV host.
I certainly disagree with him on a great many points, find some of his
tactics and statements offensive, and would challenge the accuracy of
some of his information.
fact that he espouses these views on TV does not surprise me, because he
is, in fact, paid to say them on the air. What does surprise me is that
Jodie Emery would appear on a station her husband has subsequently
dubbed "Fox News North" unprepared for Conservative lines of questioning
regarding her Libertarian views.
appeared flustered as his questioning and tone became more derisive, and
as with any prominent activist figure, supporters jumped to her
defense. In this age of the Internet, many would call the deluge of
offensive responses that Mr. Coren received predictable, up to and
including the atrocious spelling. The Internet, being a bastion for free
speech and open celebration of our cause, allows an anonymity that
tends to lead to bold words that most wouldn't speak with their own
lips, face to face.
While Mr. Coren could be described as aggressive and patronizing, a quick browse through other clips featuring
Coren easily shows that his views are, in fact, traditionally
conservative (sometimes crossing into hard Right-Wing), and his typical
demeanor is far more confrontational than he had previously shown to
Mrs. Emery. I'm not a frequent purveyor of Canadian television, but from
everything I've seen of Mr. Coren, while I may disagree with his
political views, the man is certainly no Bill O'Reilly (in a good way).
also fair to assume that the Emerys don't have direct control over what
their fans say and do, especially on the Internet, and cannot
necessarily be directly blamed for unkind words and racial slurs flung
in response to an unflattering interview.
the circumstances of the messages he received, Mr. Coren found them
offensive. Mr. Coren issued a strongly-worded response, denouncing the
Emerys and legalization movement as trivial and fanatical, also making
reference to a previous remark that Mr. Emery made in 2004, when he
called then-Justice Minister Irwin Cotler a "Nazi Jew or Jewish Nazi" in
reference to Mr. Emery's prosecution, which he perceived as a betrayal
of social justice by a Jew.
Marc Emery decided
to use Mr. Coren's article as a jumping-off point to compare the
oppression and successes of the cannabis community to those of the
Jewish people. Although there are certainly some parallels between the
persecution experienced by both the Jews historically and cannabis users
in the last century, the comparison that Mr. Emery draws comes across
as both pandering and offensive.
Cannabis users have the option in many situations to forgo use and
clear chemical evidence from their bodies if the necessity arises, such
as to complete probation or find employment. Stashes can be ditched,
pipes and bongs can be destroyed or abandoned, and all indications of
involvement with the plant can be expunged with effort. Even when people
"go straight" out of necessity, many continue to maintain social ties
with their stoned brethren without penalty.
do not and have never had that ability. We cannot alter our heritage or
genetics, and no amount of effort can ever change who or what we are.
During various points in history, continuing to associate with a
suspected or known Jew was a torturous death sentence. The historic
oppression of my people and the attempted systemic elimination of our
bloodlines and culture from the face of the planet multiple times is
The Drug War is legally unjust
and morally despicable, but the Tribes of Israel were persecuted and
demonized for different reasons and to different extremes than users of
Cannabis. A stoner with '420' tattooed on his wrist, even one who has
served time, has experienced a different kind of discrimination and
dehumanization than a Jewish man with a series of numbers in his
forearm. An image of a pot leaf draws a different kind of reaction from
its detractors than the Star of David. I cannot think of a single
incident to memory in which a Cannabis user was beaten or killed in any
part of the country directly because of being identified as someone who
While Cannabis Prohibition is
grossly and intrinsically inhumane, the majority of arrests for Cannabis
are made because of choices made by the individual being arrested; the
Jews were hunted and killed simply for being Jewish*.
one subgroup of Cannabis users that has claim to a similar kind of
choicelessness as what the Jews have faced in their persecution are
certain categories of medical Cannabis patients. There are some within
the medical community that do not have another viable option of
treatment or symptom relief, much as a Jewish person during the Pogroms
had no way to abandon their Jewish blood in order to avoid targeting**.
In this aspect of the comparison, Mr. Emery is correct. MMJ patients,
such as Peter McWilliams and Ralph Seeley, have suffered and died
directly because of Cannabis Prohibition and the legal orders dispensed
as a result, much in the same way the Jews have suffered and died
throughout history because of religious, cultural, and genetic
Beyond that, however, while the
Cannabis community has certainly experienced its share of
discrimination, sociopolitical oppression, and terrorization, the
persecution of the Jews was extrapolated to an unthinkable degree.
When a Cannabis prisoner walks to the showers, he knows there will be water coming out of the pipes. Pot
smokers have not been literally set on fire by an angry mob for their
use of the herb. Stoners have not been systematically rounded up and
shot simply for what flows through their veins.
a Cannabis user is sentenced in the civilized world, there has been a
trial and defense, and a clear length attached to that sentence.
Cannabis users have not been forced into cattle cars, left to starve and
die for weeks, and then ordered to throw their dead brethren out when
the train stops, leaving them unburied or in mass graves. When the
subject of Government propaganda against Cannabis is now brought up, it
is giggled at and mocked via films like Reefer Madness: The Musical
and other satirical media outlets; publish a cartoon in the mainstream media mocking the tales told about the Jews and blood libel
, and see how long you keep your job.
My people were tortured and experimented upon
the Holocaust. We were hunted like animals during the Pogroms that Mr.
Emery so helpfully speaks of. The Spanish Jews captured by the
Inquisition didn't have the option of taking a plea deal and spending
five years in a medium security prison; the most they could hope for was
a swift death, and then only if they betrayed their friends and loved
ones. For Mr. Emery to compare his own incarceration to the persecution
and imprisonment of the Jews throughout history is, to be as kind as Mr.
Coren was to Mrs. Emery in her first two appearances, disingenuous
is certainly true that both cultures have made numerous contributions
and achieved great benefits for society and civilized progress, but this
was never in question to begin with in the original dispute between the
Emerys and Michael Coren. Mr. Coren's stated views are that personal
Cannabis use should not be cause for incarceration, and there are more
important things in the world to be focused on besides Cannabis
activism. At no point, on his show or in his article, does he deride the
historic worldly accomplishments of members of the Cannabis community.
He doesn't even mention them.
Throughout all three
of Mrs. Emery's appearances on the show, Coren's lines of questioning
remain, in essence, the same; the difference with her third appearance
is that Coren appears to tire of Mrs. Emery's Libertarian talking points
(with all due respect to Mrs. Emery, she does hit every one of them in
each interview and says little else besides the customary pleasantries),
and begins to press her for deeper clarifications. He is looking for,
as he says, an argument. Regrettably, Mrs. Emery does not appear to be
expecting this amount of aggression from a conservative political TV
host who disagrees with her position.
In his subsequent article, Mr. Coren shows even more teeth in his repeatedly-stated opinion:
"This time I challenged her a little on drug legalization, and her answers were thin and predictable.
that I am especially opposed to looser drug laws and I really couldn't
care less about personal cannabis one way or the other.
It's the plight of the privileged, a bourgeois conceit, a perfect example of western narcissism and self-obsession...
Hunger matters, injustice matters, war matters, but this and you don't.
Yet we have the scenario of inverse significance.
for African poverty relief, for example -- who have every right to be
mad -- tend to be balanced and polite. Yet activists for irresponsible
drug-use -- who have no right to be mad at all -- are insulting
Not the nicest way to
put it, but no different in essence from his previous statements on the
subject. The difference is that now he has been confronted by grossly
uncivil response, and has stopped pulling his punches. Even in this,
though, Mr. Coren has not disparaged the historic successes of the
cannabis community or its effects on the progress of society. He has
simply repeated his belief that Cannabis legalization is not the most
pertinent social issue facing our planet.
tying these two groups together, Mr. Emery has attempted to twist Mr.
Coren's own claim to offense against him by telling him that the
suffering and successes of the Jewish people are the same as the
suffering and successes of the Cannabis community. Mr. Emery attempts to
delegitimize Coren's right to be outraged by claiming kinship, and
through that attempts to justify his questionable "Jewish Nazi or Nazi
Jew" analogy that he made regarding former justice minister Cotler in
this regard, you have to ask yourself, as I did in September 2004 while
serving a three-month prison sentence in a Prairie gulag a thousand
miles from home, what do you call a Jewish human rights activist who, as
Justice Minister, betrays the principles of decent humanity for
arbitrary punishment and power? Do you call him a Nazi Jew or a Jewish
Nazi? To me, there is no doubt about his capability and capacity for
evil as a government agent; the only question is the appropriate
terminology to describe his perfidious deal with evil."
Point of fact, the Yiddish word for "betrayer", a Jew who sells out his own people, is "Moser
attached article offers some context of how vulgar its use is
considered within the Jewish community. It's a loaded and offensive slur
among many Jews, referring to one who sells out his own people for
In my opinion, Mr. Emery
intended to chide Mr. Cotler for what he felt was a betrayal because,
given his Jewish heritage, Mr. Emery felt that, in his position as
Minister of Justice (a Government position that also serves at the
Canadian Attorney General) he should have been a champion of the
cannabis cause. Whatever Mr. Emery's personal opinion on the matter,
this expectation was, in and of itself, presumptive, and his subsequent
comment distinctly offensive.
I would hesitate
to accuse Mr. Emery of outright anti-semitism, because Mr. Emery is
clearly knowledgeable about the history and hardships of our people, but
assuming that the heritage of the Jewish people will automatically
translate into empathy from its members for Mr. Emery's own cause is, at
the very least, unintentionally such. Being a Jew does not in and of
itself make a person in favor of drug legalization, or any specific
political platform. The view of cannabis prisoners as victims is not
shared universally. Just as not all Jews support the actions of those in
Israel against the Palestinians, Mr. Emery had no right to assume that
Mr. Cotler would support him simply because Mr. Cotler is Jewish.
back to the Holocaust jokes at the beginning of the article: even if
it's a Jewish person telling them, the claim to Judaism does not negate
anyone else's right to find them tasteless and offensive. So, too, with
culturally-loaded terminology like "Moser," or in Mr. Emery's case,
"Nazi Jew or Jewish Nazi." When Mr. Emery claims kinship with the Jews
via his own prosecution and incarceration, he feels that he is justified
in making his comparison of Mr. Cotler, even as he fails to understand
exactly how culturally offensive the reference he's making is to those
of Cotler's heritage.
With all due respect, Mr.
Emery has not experienced accusations of murdering a guy who lived
2,000 years before his birth, to give one minor example of the inherent
discrimination that Jews often face simply by waking up in the morning.
Mr. Cotler's record on human rights speaks for itself.
Emery's poorly-chosen words sparked controversy, and now Mr. Emery
further offends with this defense of his terminology. What's worse, he
doesn't appear to see anything wrong with his offense because of his own
experiences being persecuted for repeatedly violating Canadian and
international laws. When called to task for the words of his supporters
and confronted with his own questionable language, Mr. Emery takes
modern injustice and claims it to be the same experience as historic
xenophobia and repeated attempts of genocide.
wish Marc Emery a safe completion of his prison sentence and happy
return to his home country once it has concluded. I wish he and Jodie
the best and happiest lives together once his sentence is complete. I
hope that Mr. Emery continues with his activist work once his time has
been served, and help finally bring full legalization out of the dreams
of stoners and into bright reality.
sincerely hope that Mr. Emery never has to experience the same kind of
hatred and persecution that the Jewish people have gone through.
have not forgotten about those who lose homes, finances, and property
because of the actions of a loved one or housemate in the Drug War.
These victims of Prohibition are examples of a place where Mr. Emery's
analogy fits, in that innocent people suffer and are made destitute
because of draconian and unjust laws. This does not change the
of Jewish history will rightly point out that some Jews and Jewish
families successfully avoided persecution during the Pogroms and
Holocaust by converting to Christianity and/or taking on false names.
These folks still lived in fear that their past lives would be uncovered
and they would be incarcerated and put to death without Due Process.
Those who abandon smoking marijuana or using other substances are often
lauded and praised as having "turned their lives around" when such a
change is uncovered.