Canada's 'Prince of Pot' returns home after 5 years in U.S. jail

TORONTO/VANCOUVER August 12 Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:29pm EDT

TORONTO/VANCOUVER August 12 (Reuters) - A Canadian man jailed for five years in a U.S. federal prison for shipping marijuana seeds across the border returned to his homeland on Tuesday, as laws regulating the drug in both countries have slowly been relaxed.

Marc Emery, Canada's self-proclaimed "Prince of Pot," crossed the border from Detroit, Michigan to Windsor, Ontario, and soon after addressed television cameras and supporters with his wife Jodie Emery by his side.

He said he expected to resume his activism for cannabis policy reform and would support Jodie's political campaign to run for the Liberals in Vancouver East as well as embark on a speaking tour that includes visits to Spain and Ireland.

"After five years of prison you can't scare me," he said.

The leader of the federal opposition Liberals, Justin Trudeau, has promised to back legalization of marijuana if his party wins the 2015 federal election.

Emery, who ran a successful mail-order marijuana seed business from Vancouver, was first arrested in Canada in 2005 and later extradited to the United States, where he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana.

A U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency statement in 2005 hailed Emery's arrest as a blow to the "marijuana legalization movement" and cited his financial support of pro-pot groups in Canada and the United States.

But since the entrepreneur and activist was jailed in 2010, both Colorado and Washington State have legalized recreational marijuana and 23 states now allow medical marijuana.

Marijuana use remains illegal in Canada, with the exception of medical marijuana.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Julie Gordon; editing by G Crosse)

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