London Free Press, Canada
VANCOUVER -- Pot crusader Marc Emery says all Canadians will be complicit if the United States succeeds in extraditing him to face drug charges south of the border.
Emery, 47, made the comment yesterday after a B.C. Supreme Court judge set Sept. 16 as the start of his extradition hearing that could net him life in prison if he is convicted on marijuana charges in the U.S.
The longtime pot activist and former London resident is accused of selling marijuana seeds to Americans through the Internet and the mail, conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and conspiracy to engage in money laundering.
Emery's co-accused, Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek and Gregory Keith Smith, were also in court yesterday.
The three were arrested July 29 after Vancouver police raided Emery's pot paraphernalia store after an 18-month investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Emery, who showed up in court with his fiancee and a few supporters, called the DEA "a Nazi-like military organization."
He said he has been selling marijuana seeds for 11 years, during which time Canadians have benefited from the $4 million he has given away to various organizations.
Jack Layton, leader of the federal NDP, also reaped the rewards of his popularity because Emery's Internet-based Pot-tv solicited support for the party from viewers, Emery said.
"Everybody took the money, from the income tax departments representing the province and the federal government," said Emery, leader of the B.C. Marijuana party.
"I've never received a written complaint or a phone call in 11 years and I have a listed phone number.
"So if I get taken away for the rest of my life to a United States prison, then every Canadian has let it happen because they have tacitly and complicitly condoned my behaviour."
He continued to vent against the DEA, calling it a well-armed beast.
"It's in the business of putting the marijuana culture away in prisons for a long time.
"As the leader of the marijuana people around the world, they have targeted me -- and when I go to the United States, if I am extradited, you will never see me alive in Canada again."
Emery's supporters have asked Justice Minister Irwin Cotler to step in, but Cotler has said the matter is now before the courts.
"He is selling out an exemplary Canadian citizen to appease their war on drugs," Emery said of Cotler.
Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm granted a request from lawyer John Conroy to have $15,000 of Rainey-Fenkarek's bail money returned so she could retain her own lawyer.
Conroy had asked Dohm to set a court date in September so Emery could continue a speaking tour across Canada.
While selling marijuana seeds is also illegal in Canada, no one has been arrested for years.