Pot activist Emery infected with MRSA

B.C.'s 'Prince of Pot' contracted a hard-to-treat and potential deadly form of staph infection while serving a five-year-sentence in the U.S. federal prison system.
Marijuana activist Marc Emery is serving a five-year-prison sentence in the U.S.

Imprisoned Canadian marijuana activist Marc Emery has three years to go before a possible early release from the U.S. federal prison system, if he can make it that long.

The B.C. pot advocate is serving five years in jail  for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana through his mail-order cannabis seed business, but was recently handed another sentence.

MRSA infections have become a big problem in recent years in some care homes, hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. (CBC)

Emery was recently diagnosed with an antibiotic-resistant infection called MRSA, according to his wife, Jodie Emery.

"He had a boil right above his rear end, and they tested it and that's what came back positive for MRSA," she said.

MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and is a form of staph bacterium that can cause infections which are extremely difficult to treat with most antibiotics, even those that work on regular staph infections. MRSA has become a big problem in recent years in some care homes, hospitals, and prisons in the U.S.

Jodie Emery (CBC)

Jodie Emery is now gravely concerned for the future health of her husband.

"If you have surgery, it's really risky. So from this point on, when Marc comes home and if he ever needs surgery, the chances of infection that could lead to fatal consequences are real," she said.

One of Emery's former cellmates has since died from post-surgical complications involving an infection.

"[He] had an amputation of his leg and he just died of complications, so that terrifies me to think that Marc was there at the same time and it could be the same sort of strain."

No time to waste

In April, Emery was moved to a jail outside of Jackson, Miss. His request to be moved to a Canadian prison was rejected.

He's eligible to ask again in April 2013, but Emery isn't wasting the time he has to serve in the U.S., his wife said.

He finished high school through Grade 12 equivalency exams, and has prison officials asking him to teach business classes to other inmates.

"He's been offered to teach a small business course so he's trying to draft up the plans so he can teach them that," Jodie Emery said.

"He was learning Spanish but he's kind of lost the time to put in towards that but he took a drug education course. He's required to do that and he said he aced the class."

Emery has also become somewhat of a celebrity among fellow inmates.

"They saw him on TV, with Tommy Chong wearing the 'Free Marc' shirt on CNN so one of the prison bands wrote a song called the Prince of Pot after seeing Tommy Chong wearing his shirt," Jodie Emery said.

Emery could return to Canada at the earliest July 9, 2014.

With files from the CBC's Belle Puri