US Marijuana Party

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Activist previously escaped ire of city police

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Activist previously escaped ire of city police

Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun

The long arm of Uncle Sam reached out and nabbed the Prince of Pot in Halifax Friday in an outrageous infringement of Canadian sovereignty.

Marc Emery, who runs the B.C. Marijuana Party, is one of about 40 brokers of marijuana seeds based in B.C. -- a $3-million-a-year business he has operated for more than a decade.

If it's illegal, what have the Vancouver police and the RCMP being doing -- waiting for the U.S. cavalry?

What happened Friday, in my opinion, was a last gasp of the U.S. federal government's jihad on dope.

I listened to U.S. attorneys talk about Emery as some kind of Mafia don and I had to suppress my laughter.

Last year, Emery was in jail for nearly three months in Saskatchewan for passing a joint.

He is more than available for police in this country to prosecute -- what's this nonsense about inviting the Americans to charge him?

Emery has long confided to me that he didn't travel abroad because in many countries the U.S. government carried too much weight. Two former seed kings were arrested in Spain and Australia and extradited to America, he said, to face long prison terms, and he didn't want to be a third.

He believed Canada was not a banana republic.

Police here ignored Emery because in this country the controversial marijuana laws are under debate and the federal government has a bill in the wings to change the criminal statutes on pot.

The City of Vancouver, for instance, also is about to discuss the latest plank in its progressive drug policy, which would urge the federal government to legalize marijuana and end the prohibition.

But in America, the Bush administration remains convinced that marijuana is worse than heroin.

Emboldened by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that it's okay to charge medical patients using pot to alleviate chemotherapy's nausea and other ailments, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has carried out a series of high-profile raids across the continent.

The heavy-handed action occurred despite laws in 10 states that would protect patients from prosecution.

I can only see the move against Emery and his colleagues as part of a strike-while-the-iron-is-hot strategy by the feds.

Not surprising to me, the judge behind the authorization to conduct Friday's raid on Emery's headquarters was B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm.

He's the equivalent of the black-hooded tax collector in the Hagar comic and you'll find his name associated with the raid on former premier Glen Clark's home as well as the more recent invasion of the B.C. legislature.

Emery, Gregory Williams and Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek were named in indictments handed down by the Seattle grand jury in May because their company sells about 80 per cent of its seeds to U.S. customers.

They face life imprisonment if convicted in the U.S. of charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana seeds and conspiracy to engage in money laundering.

That's no idle threat. U.S. conspiracy laws are so broad that Canadian comedian Tommy Chong was imprisoned for nearly a year because he sold glass pipes that could be used to smoke marijuana.

Williams was arrested at the store on Hastings Street Friday while Rainey-Fenkarek was arrested Thursday night at her home. She has since been released on bail.

I was at her wedding only a few weeks ago and I can't imagine how she is feeling -- she suffers from Crohn's disease and smokes marijuana to relieve its symptoms.

That Canada is allowing it's law enforcement agencies and its legal system to be used in this way is wrong.

If Emery and the others have been breaking the law, it's our problem -- not Washington's.

Hopefully, our judges will toss the extradition request.




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