Renee Boje continues the fight extradition to the US on charges that she cultivated, possessed and conspired to distribute marijuana. The charges stem from a raid on Todd McCormick’s famous “Marijuana Mansion”, where McCormick was growing marijuana for genetic research to treat his medical condition.
McCormick and Boje believed that the grow was legal under proposition 2-15, a voter ballot initiative that made medical marijuana legal in California. The US Federal government prosecuted McCormick nonetheless, and continues to fight the War on Drugs in States that have passed similar ballot initiatives.
During the 3-day extradition hearing that began November 1, BC Supreme Court Judge Catliff refused to hear evidence that might keep Renee Boje in Canada.
Boje’s lawyer, John Conroy, wanted to bring evidence to question what the prosecution claimed is Ms Boje’s confession. The prosecution asserted that the confession pointed toward Boje being involved in a conspiracy to distribute the healing weed.
Boje’s lawyer, John Conroy, countered that Ms Boje should be granted a voire dire, a trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of evidence regarding her supposed “confession”. According to Boje, no such confession was ever made. Judge Catliff refused, overturning a precedent set in an earlier BC Supreme Court case made by Judge Wong.
Another issue addressed by Judge Catliff was whether or not the affidavit of Ms Boje, in which she states that she did not make an admission of guilt, would have bearing on the case.
“The affidavit of Ms Boje ?,” ruled Catliff, “I find is either inadmissible as constituting a defence or irrelevant to the issues I must deal with.”
Additionally, the judge declined to hear evidence that Todd McCormick was growing for medicinal purposes, calling it “irrelevant”, as well.
The judge also refused to adjourn the case to allow Ms Boje to call witnesses to address the political ramifications of the case. Conroy had argued that the Ms Boje’s charges were political in nature, as they are the result of a dispute between the state of California and the US Federal Government as to the legality of medical marijuana. Should Boje be extradited, the DEA would attempt to have her testify against Todd McCormick in a trial that could decide once and for all the issue of legal medical marijuana in the US.
“If I ever had to go back to the US I would still refuse to testify and would probably have to spend a considerable amount of time behind bars because of that,” affirms Boje.
The judge’s final ruling was a refusal to delay Ms Boje’s extradition hearing until after Todd McCormick’s trial. John Conroy had suggested that the court should wait until after McCormick’s trial to discover whether Boje was involved in criminal activity or not.
The case will be continued on December 15, when the judge will hear evidence brought by the prosecutor that the over 4,000 plants in McCormick’s mansion constitute possession for the purpose of trafficking on the part of Ms Boje. According to various renowned geneticists quoted by Conroy, the large number of plants was necessary for the kind of genetic research that McCormick was conducting.
Judge Catliff will also hear John Conroy’s final argument that the prosecution’s evidence cannot possibly support the charge that Boje was conspiring to distribute the healing herb. At best, says Conroy, the available evidence shows that Ms Boje was aiding and abetting the production of marijuana, but not in possession of it, and certainly not conspiring to produce.
Should the BC Supreme Court Hearing fail to relieve Ms Boje of her charges, the case will proceed to the Minister of Justice, Anne McLellan for her consideration on January 15, 2000. At that point in the proceedings, Conroy will be able to introduce any and all evidence that Judge Catliff refused to hear. The minister will then decide whether to sign the papers that would send Boje back to the US, or to let her stay in Canada.
“We have much more confidence in what might happen at the minister’s office,” said Boje, after the hearing.
The case may also proceed to the highest court of BC, the Court of Appeal, and from there to the Supreme Court of Canada, before the issue is decided conclusively.
Renee Boje asks all conciencious members of the cannabis community to write a letter to Anne McLellan asking her to let Ms Boje stay in Canada. Boje asks that the letters be sent to her lawyer, Mr Conroy, who will then send them on to the minister.
?John Conroy: 2459 Pauline St, Abbotsford, BC, CANADA, V2S 3S1
You can also help her tackle mounting legal expenses by buying one of her “Cannabis Certificates”. They can be acquired for a $25 donation to her legal defence fund. Each certificate is redeemable for 1/4 ounce of marijuana when cannabis is legal in Canada. To buy a certificate, send $25 and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to her address, below.