B.C. marijuana activist Marc Emery could be sent to the United States to face drug trafficking charges early next year. Emery is accused, along with Greg Williams and Michelle Rainey, of distributing millions of dollars worth of marijuana seeds in the U.S. American authorities have been seeking their extradition since 2005.
After a hearing in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday, the extradition process will be back in court in December and lawyers suggested another set of hearings in February.
The extradition had been on hold while Emery negotiated plea arrangements with U.S. prosecutors. Emery had struck a deal that would have seen him convicted on both sides of the border and sentenced to five years, but Canadian authorities turned it down at the end of March. Under the deal Emery would have served a few months in jail in the U.S. and the balance of his sentence in Canada. Rainey and Williams would have been spared jail time.
In the meantime Emery said he’ll continue to expand his hemp business on Vancouver’s West Hastings Street. “By the time they extradite me, maybe the whole block will be named after me,” he said. “The Marc Emery Hempire.”
– Article from CBC.ca, Thursday April 10th, 2008
Emery extradition case starts late ’08
The Vancouver Sun
April 10th, 2008
VANCOUVER – British Columbia’s self-styled Prince of Pot, Marc Emery, and two colleagues will face an extradition hearing in B.C. Supreme Court starting later this year over American drug-trafficking and money-laundering charges. At a hearing to set dates Wednesday before Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm, lawyers said they expect the proceedings will take a week from Dec. 1 through 5, and another week in February.
The three Canadians were arrested in August 2005 at the request of the U.S. because of Emery’s locally based seed-selling business and strident pro-marijuana activism. The extradition hearing had been delayed while plea-bargain talks were held. But a tentative deal between the 50-year-old Emery and American prosecutors was denied last month by Ottawa. As a result, the extradition hearing must proceed.
Emery says the Conservative government refused to go along with a proposal that would have seen him spend five years behind bars and his friends, co-accused Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams, go free. Though he and his associates had not ventured south of the border, Emery was the target of federal U.S. anti-drug crusaders because of his decade-long campaign to end the criminal prohibition against cannabis in North America.
U.S. prosecutors have offered Williams and Rainey jail sentences in the three-to-five-month range and probation in exchange for guilty pleas. Both are mulling it over. Rainey, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, was Emery’s long-time right-hand man but has since become one of the country’s leading medical marijuana advocates.
Emery has flouted the law for years and run in federal, provincial and civic elections promoting his pro-cannabis platform. He has championed legal marijuana at parliamentary hearings, on national television, at celebrity conferences, in his own magazine, Cannabis Culture, and on his own Internet channel, Pot TV. From 1998 until his arrest, Emery even paid provincial and federal taxes totalling nearly $600,000 as a “marijuana seed vendor.” The last time he was convicted in Canada of selling cannabis seeds, back in 1998, he was fined $2,000.
The three will be back in court April 23 for a hearing on altering bail conditions.