Russia bans several Canadian cannabis activists from entering the country

| Staff

Russia has banned a handful of Canadian cannabis activists from the country, along with a long list of Canadian politicians and former politicians, judges, military leaders, bankers, business executives, journalists, and others. 

In a list that was updated as recently as June 3, 2022, Marc and Jodie Emery, along with Dana Larsen, Donald McPherson, and Blair Longley are all mentioned as individuals banned from Russia. The list includes 658 individuals as of press time. 

“Turns out I’ve been banned from entering Russia, along with 657 other Canadians,” wrote Dana Larsen on Twitter. “Strange to be on a list that includes Justin Trudeau, Stephen Harper and John Horgan.”

“Turns out I’m one of the Canadian citizens who have been banned from Russia…?!,” tweeted Jodie Emery. “This is pretty wild to see!”

Marc Emery, utilizing his usual hyperbolic aplomb, compared Canada to Russia, saying both countries are “dictatorships”. 

In March, Russia then sanctioned hundreds of MPs and other Canadians including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly and Defence Minister Anita Anand, in retaliation for supporting Ukraine. 

Just a few weeks later the list had grown to include hundreds of other Canadians, including the four well-known Canadian weed advocates. 

Jodie and Marc Emery are known for Marc’s activism and the Cannabis Culture brand that operated a bong shop in Vancouver for many years, as well as selling cannabis seeds, magazines, and other products. The couple also briefly managed a handful of cannabis dispensaries in the lead-up to legalization. Marc spent several years in a US prison after running afoul of US authorities by flouting US drug laws. He often refers to himself as the Prince of Pot.

Dana Larsen has operated a cannabis dispensary in downtown Vancouver for well over ten years and has been a fixture in the city and country’s cannabis legalization scene. He also currently operates a psilocybin dispensary. 

Blair Longley became the head of the Marijuana Party of Canada in 2004 and has long worked within the party in different capacities.

Donald McPherson is the Executive Director of the NGO Canadian Drug Policy Coalition and has worked as a drug activist for decades in Canada. Since 2020, he has also been the chair of the Amsterdam based International Drug Policy Consortium.

The reason for the inclusion of any of these cannabis advocates on a list of Canadians banned from Russia is anyone’s guess. While it could be connected to being involved with the Marijuana Party, McPherson was never connected to that party, or a politician of any kind. Many people on the list have no connection to politics, but Russia has always opposed cannabis legalization, arguing it was a breach of international treaty obligations.

“We expect Canada’s partners in the G-7 to respond to its ‘high-handedness’ because this alliance has repeatedly declared its adherence to the domination of international law in relations between states,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote in an official statement.

“Evidently, the “drug liberalisation” carried out by the Canadian authorities will become a serious obstacle on the way to the strategic goal set by the world community – building a drug-free society,” it concluded.