By Jodie Emery and Jeremiah Vandermeer, Cannabis Culture – Wednesday, January 6 2010
The fate of Marc Emery, known worldwide as the Prince of Pot, is in the hands of Canada’s Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.
The Justice Minister will decide to approve or refuse the extradition of Emery to the United States at any time after January 8, 2010.
Emery is a well-known Canadian businessman, activist, and leader of the BC Marijuana Party, who is facing extradition to the United States to face charges for selling marijuana seeds through the mail to Americans.
In late 2009, Emery signed a plea deal for a 5-year sentence in the US system.
“I was forced to take this plea deal for five years under great duress,” Emery told Cannabis Culture. “If I went to trial in the United States, I would have received a mandatory minimum sentences of 30 years up to life. I shouldn’t be going to prison at all for selling seeds to consenting adults, but five years is preferable to a life sentence.”
Emery, long-time publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine and director of Pot-TV, went into Canadian custody in September 2009 after an extradition hearing in the BC Supreme Court, and is currently free on bail awaiting the Justice Minister’s decision.
Marc’s wife, Jodie Emery, believes her husband should be dealt with in Canada and not the USA.
“Most Canadians agree that Marc should be dealt with in Canada’s justice system.” she said. “He operated openly in Vancouver, BC for over a decade, never went to the USA, and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in income taxes as a legitimate businessman.
“The Justice Minister has received thousands of phone calls, letters, post cards and petitions asking him to refuse the extradition. There is no reason my husband should suffer for five years in a foreign prison system, especially when he operated his seed business in Canada at all times.”
Emery’s lawyer, Kirk Tousaw, made an access to information and privacy (ATIP) request for Justice Department communications related to Emery’s arrest for extradition. After long delays, approximately 60 pages of a 6,000-page document were released with everything blacked out for various “national security” reasons and allegations of privilege.
“I think it’s disappointing that the Harper government, which promised to be accountable to the citizens of Canada, is hiding information,” Tousaw told Cannabis Culture. “The Canadian government was well aware of Mr. Emery’s activities and collected taxes on them, and now it won’t revel whether there was a preexisting agreement with the US to outsource the Canadian criminal justice system to the US DEA.”
Speculation abounds over the exact contents of the heavily redacted “Emery Papers”, but it is evident that a considerable amount of government time and resources were spent on the activist’s case.
“It involves correspondence with probably 30-40 different individuals,” Emery said, “and about 15 departments including the Solicitor General of BC, the Vancouver Police Dept., the Federal Justice Dept., the US Justice Dept., US DEA offices, prosecutors in Seattle, and so many different groups and entities. Millions and millions of dollars have clearly been spent on the case to prosecute me.”
“Unfortunately,” said Tousaw, “what was produced was so limited that we can’t really speculate as to what is hidden. There is literally nothing of any substance out of 6000 pages that has been disclosed to us. I can only imagine that it is material the Canadian government is embarrassed about and wants to hide.”
Libby Davies, Member of Parliament for Vancouver East, made an Order Paper request for similar documents, but was also refused any information.
“I just feel that the whole process was very bad,” Davies told Vancouver’s Georgia Straight. “And the Canadian government has never been clear about its involvement or what its interactions or discussions have been with the U.S. drug-enforcement officials.”
Davies voiced her opposition to Emery’s extradition in an October 2, 2009 letter to the Justice Minister:
Canadian law enforcement officials have for a decade ignored Mr. Emery’s well publicized activities. I have expressed to you on many occasions my vehement opposition to sending Mr. Emery or any Canadian to face harsh punishment in another country when we have agreed as a society that these actions are not worthy of prosecution in Canada. Yet, your government has refused to intervene on Mr. Emery’s behalf and he will now serve a five year prison term in the United States.
“Canadians are rightly concerned that I’m being sent away to be punished for something that hurt no one,” Emery said, “but a much greater political principle is at stake here.”
On the day of Emery’s arrest, the US Drug Enforcement Administration admitted their investigation was politically motivated, and that the activist’s extradition was designed to target the marijuana legalization community that Emery spearheaded for over a decade.
DEA Administrator Karen Tandy’s statement released on July 29, 2005:
Today’s DEA arrest of Marc Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine, and the founder of a marijuana legalization group — is a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement.
His marijuana trade and propagandist marijuana magazine have generated nearly $5 million a year in profits that bolstered his trafficking efforts, but those have gone up in smoke today.
Emery and his organization had been designated as one of the Attorney General’s most wanted international drug trafficking organizational targets — one of only 46 in the world and the only one from Canada.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery’s illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canda. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.
“My extradition highlights a growing threat to Canadian sovereignty,” Emery said. “Our country is looking more an more like an arm of the American Empire rather than an independent autonomous state.”