One of the news stories I expect to be following closely in 2008 is the case of Marc Emery, the Canadian marijuana seed seller who faces an upcoming extradition hearing to decide whether he should be sent to the United States to face trial. The effort to extradite him has been led out of the US Attorney’s office right here in Seattle (originally by John McKay, and then by his replacement Jeff Sullivan) and will re-commence in a courtroom in Vancouver, BC on January 21.
As we’ve seen with the Ed Rosenthal case in the Bay Area, prosecuting outspoken drug law reform advocates has been a very high priority for the Bush Administration’s Justice Department. In that particular case, even after the presiding judge urged US Attorney Scott Schools to drop the case, they continued with their futile prosecution attempt, even as it was clear that Rosenthal would never be punished and the number of white-collar crimes being investigated around the country plummeted.
The fact that Emery is Canadian (and that the DEA has openly admitted that he’s being targeted for his political views as well as his business) makes this case extremely important up north. What he does is technically not legal in Canada, but the Canadian government has long felt that it has more important things to do than to try to break up a multi-million dollar industry that isn’t hurting anyone.
Writing in the National Post, Ontario attorney Karen Selick expresses her opposition to the extradition attempt in an open letter to Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson:
Dear Mr. Nicholson: On Jan. 21, 2008 an extradition hearing will begin in Vancouver for Marc Emery, Canada’s pre-eminent activist for the legalization of marijuana. Marc has been charged in the U.S. with conspiring to manufacture and distribute marijuana, and conspiring to launder money. If convicted under U.S. law, he faces possible life imprisonment without parole.
Should Marc be extradited to the U.S.? The Canadian court will almost certainly say yes. It has little choice under the Extradition Act. Marc openly admits selling marijuana seeds over the internet to customers around the world, including the United States, for years. His conduct would have been grounds for criminal charges here, although Canadian authorities never chose to charge him. But that’s enough under the Act to make it mandatory for the judge to commit him for surrender to U.S. authorities.
That’s where you come in, Mr. Justice Minister. Once the court has ruled, the Extradition Act gives you discretion to refuse to surrender Marc if it “would be unjust or oppressive having regard to all the relevant circumstances.”
I’m obviously no expert on Canadian law, but if Selick is correct, there seems like a valid rationale for the Justice Minister to intervene. This could be one of the reasons why there was some discontent in the Western Washington US Attorney’s office over former DEA head Karen Tandy’s politicization of the case. Either way, Emery seems eager for a confrontation and feels destined to become a martyr.
I won’t copy and paste the remainder of Selick’s letter, but she makes one very important point. Emery has dutifully paid over half a million dollars in taxes from his business. He assisted the Canadian government when they needed to implement a medical marijuana program. But now they appear ready to turn their back on him solely because the United States can’t come to terms with the failure of our own marijuana prohibition (which we continue to try to impose on the rest of the world). How can the Canadian government profit and benefit from a man and his business for years, then allow for the United States to put him in jail for life without even a fight?
J. Kane'ala spews:
I hope Mr. Emery manages to stay out of jail. Our drug laws need to be revisited, possibly a drug damage-control policy instituted.
Jane Balough's Dog spews:
Hear hear. It’s just a little pot!!! I heard that one on a radio commercial and thought you donks would like it. hehe
How can the Canadian government profit and benefit from a man and his business for years, then allow for the United States to put him in jail for life without even a fight?
Lee that is a no brainer, his goverment needs the trade from the United States that benefits the Canadian goverment. They could care less about some small fish like Emery who’s input wouldn’t support one politician in office. Don’t mix the US failed drug policies with the case being presented by our goverment. When the US goverment starts issuing hunting licences to hunt drug traffickers you will see a decline in drugs being sold on our streets. Untill then you will see little progress. The risks are low the drugs will flow. The risks are high so goes the costs and the availability of the drugs drops. Now if you want marijuana legal get your Socialist Democrats to pass legislation now that they run the whole state. But you can kiss all federal funds goodbye, but you all would be willing to chip in for the losses.
Thomas Trainwinder spews:
Goldy, check out Senators Murray and Cantwell ratings: http://www.surveyusa.com/clien.....fe3d5015a9
And Gov. Gregoire: http://www.surveyusa.com/clien.....1434c09eda
The following may be a little off-topic:
I’ve been doing some research and was wondering if anyone has heard the rumor about a top agent for the DEA who orchestrated the smuggling of drugs from Cuba to America during the late ’80s?
According to a source in Key West FL., several civilians were killed during one of the shipments; probably the last one, I’d guess..
Supposedly, a fictionalized book may be coming out soon exposing all.
Wondering if anyone might’ve heard about this, or had any information on whether there is anything to this story?
Clay Bennett Is A Piece Of Shit spews:
I sleep better at night, being comforted by the wise use of the prosecutorial dollar here.
Mr. Trainwinder: interesting breakdowns by age & stuff. Republicans are going to be slaughtered this time in large part (besides Bush stench, of course) because of the near total abandonment of that party by the young folks. So–I discount a bunch of the disapproval stuff from that crowd on the tables.
Irv Kupcinet spews:
“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations…. The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” James Madison
Irv Kupcinet spews:
Republicans will never rest until they have enslaved themselves and everyone else.
My Goldy Itches spews:
Damn I’ve got the munchies!
Don Joe spews:
Help yourself to some brownies…
2 Ah…what great wisdom regarding substance consumption, from a creature that eats its own poop.
Broadway Joe spews:
In the time it takes you to read this sentence, tobacco and alcohol have killed more Americans than marijuana has in the entirety of American history.
The only reason marijuana is illegal while alcohol and tobacco are not is simple: corporate protection. Generations’ worth of Congresses and Presidential administrations of both parties believed the utter lies perpetuated by the tobacco and alcohol industries, especially the riotously (albeit unintentionally) funny propaganda films ‘Reefer Madness’ and ‘Marihuana’. Not to mention all the money spent by those industries to pay of Congressmen of both parties, not to mention money spent controlling the spin. Many of the generation that still controls government actually believe the films to be accurate and completely true!
Kinda sad, isn’t it?
Federalie 1 spews:
It is painfully obvious that this site is made up, in large part, of liberal democrats and libertarians who favor legalization of drugs. Suit yourselves as long as you keep all the pot-heads and other misfits up north with you. As a member of law enforcement I could never side with your views, nor would I want to. They are as foreign to my upbringing as cornbread and buttermilk probably is to yours. I see daily what drugs are doing to this country. MY COUNTRY. If the Canadians want to let this dope peddler run free that is their choice. However, if he is selling pot or pot seeds to people down here in my state, dope that might end up in the hands of my children or someone who decides to use it then drive around under the influence until he hits and kills one of MY family members, then the SOB has gotta go!
You folks want him free? Keep him in your neighborhood. If he comes down to mine he is going to jail and I hope I get to be the one who puts the cuffs on his sorry behind.
BTW… Anyone who uses dope, pot or other, down here can look forward to the same southern hospitality. Y’all come, y’hear!
Dr Sumach spews:
I am a Canadian working for many years in drug policy. Selling marijuana seeds is clearly a crime in Canada and has been for many years before marc Emery began selling cannabis seeds. Mr Emery has been arrested and convicted for selling fertile, high THC strain marijuana seed in Canada in the past. Since these arrests and convictions, he stepped up his vending activities considerably, focusing his marketing on the US market because penalties are somewhat milder in canada than they are in the USA for this offence / Mr Emery alsobecame a busy money launderer from all his US mail order sales.
The DEA worked with the RCMP to arrest Emery and shut down his operation. Canada and the US have lomg standing extradion treaty, and this allows for co- operative police work to thwart an ongoing crime organization that impacts on both nations.
Mr Emery has been arrested & convicted for marijuana selling activities in Canada many times over the last decade. He has served time in jail for these activities,: for his most recent offence he was sentenced to six months in a Canadian jail.
By his own admission, he is not going to stop his activities in marijuana commerce, and remains committed to his platform of
” Overgrowing the Government” of Canada, the USA and all and any other nation he sells his seeds to.
As for being a political figure, Mr Emery has never been elected to any political position, nor has he been appointed to any political position in
Canada in his whole life. He has run for mayor of his home city of Vancouver three times but always finished in last place. Emery may have political ambitions, but he can not be considered in any way, a political figure.