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Beef Farmers Offered Pot Kits


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Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Author: Sorcha McGinnis, Calgary Herald 
Published: Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Copyright: 2004 Calgary Herald
Contact: [email protected]

He's an unlikely ally for Alberta beef producers whose businesses have gone to pot, but Marc Emery wants ranchers to know they have plenty of "buds" in B.C. 

Emery, a.k.a. the Prince of Pot, president of the B.C. Marijuana Party -- and a firm vegetarian -- is offering free grow-op starter kits to anyone who has cattle on their property and wants to make a little extra green as the mad cow crisis continues. 

"If you've got a ranch or farm and you're not making any money, we'll give you the equipment to get started," said Emery, from his Vancouver home. "This will be much more profitable than what they've done previously." 

The total retail value of the kit, which includes a 1,000-watt light bulb, soil, nutrients, seeds and a grow manual, is $600 to $800, but Emery says a single pound of marijuana can earn its grower $2,000, with a harvest once every two months.

The twice mayoral candidate in Canada's cannabis capital will even make house calls to install the equipment, and promises to help on the marketing end.

"If you've got good pot, you can sell it fast," said Emery. 

Alberta ranchers laughed when they heard about the strange offer. 

"It sounds like a joke, but we need a few things to laugh about right now," said Brian Edge, a veterinarian who also operates a ranch near Cochrane. 

Edge says he isn't looking to get into a new racket. "Most farmers are still honest and hard working and don't think that way."

Brad Calvert, a third-generation rancher from Brooks, couldn't imagine why anybody would risk their homes and reputations for a shed full of the illicit weed. 

"I don't think a rancher would have the marketing skills or the connections to make a go in that business," said Calvert. "We don't need that kind of help. We're a pretty reputable bunch."

The ranchers' thoughts were echoed by those of the Alberta Beef Producers. 

"The politics in the beef industry are difficult enough without getting into the marijuana industry," said producer spokesman Ron Glaser. 

He said as they wait for the U.S. to open its border to Canadian livestock that has been banned since last spring, ranchers have found innovative -- and legitimate -- ways to keep their operations afloat. Glaser's heard of families who have branded food or other product lines, opened restaurants and B&Bs, or pursued opportunities in the province's movie industry. 

With the exception of a Manitoba farmer who has shown some interest, Emery said nobody has asked for a rush delivery on the kit. 

As the publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine, producer of Pot-TV, and one of the world's biggest dealers in marijuana seeds, Emery also admits the offer is helping him achieve his political objectives. 

Staff Sgt. Birnie Smith, commander of the Calgary RCMP drug section, doesn't expect he'll be forced to bust any ranchers, but says if he was required to, those breaking the law would be treated the same as their urban counterparts. 

"We would treat it like any other offence," he said. 

Emery may have few takers, but it appears the trade won't be going up in smoke anytime soon. 

Forbes, a U.S. business magazine, recently noted Canada's marijuana industry "has emerged as Canada's most valuable agricultural product -- bigger than wheat, cattle or timber." 

Note: B.C. vegetarian promises profit.

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