CANNABIS CULTURE – The United States Department of Justice has refused imprisoned political activist Marc Emery’s transfer back to Canada, meaning he will likely spend the majority of his five-year sentence in a US federal prison.
In a phone call placed this afternoon from a prisoner transfer center in Oklahoma, Marc informed his wife and fellow activist Jodie Emery that he received a letter from the Canadian consulate with news the US government would not approve his treaty transfer back to Canada due to “the seriousness of the offence” and “law enforcement concerns”. View the rejection notice PDF file here.
If the US and Canadian governments had approved the transfer, Marc would have been moved to a Canadian prison, closer to his friends and family, and would have been eligible for parole almost immediately upon his return. Twenty-three current and previously-elected representatives from every level of government in Canada had signed a letter to the Department of Justice asking for Marc to be transferred to Canada. View that official letter in PDF file format here.
“I’m really stunned and greatly saddened,” Jodie told Cannabis Culture. “It looks like the DEA and the US government want their pound of flesh, and they want Marc to suffer down there as a non-violent, peaceful political party leader imprisoned for his activism. This is devastating.”
Known as the Prince of Pot in Canada, cannabis activist Marc Emery was extradited to the US by the Conservative government on May 10, 2010 after a five year court battle. In 2005, his marijuana seed shop, Marc Emery Direct Seeds, was raided and shut down in a joint effort by Canadian and US authorities.
Marc, who was founder of the BC Marijuana Party and Cannabis Culture Magazine, was arrested for shipping pot seeds in the mail to the US, though the DEA admitted in its own press release that the activist’s arrest was a political act, stating:
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 Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.
“This refusal is a terrible affront to the sovereignty of Canada,” said Emery’s Canadian counsel, Kirk Tousaw. “Marc is a target of political persecution that appears to have transcended his conviction and now infects the treaty transfer process. He qualifies under every relevant factor and should have been allowed to serve out his jail term in Canada, close to his wife Jodie and in the country in which all of his activity took place. We call upon Prime Minister Harper and the leaders of the Liberal Party and NDP to stand up for this Canadian hero and demand his immediate repatriation.”
According to Tousaw, Marc has the right to re-apply for another transfer in two years time. In the meantime, his wife and supporters vowed to exhaust every option to secure his swift return to Canada.
“Marc has never harmed anyone and has devoted his life to fighting oppression,” Jodie said. “He’s been punished for speaking out for the rights of tens of millions of cannabis consumers here and in the US and it’s truly frightening. Canadians who feel Marc has been treated unfairly with an unjust five-year US prison sentence for seeds should punish the Conservatives in the federal election on May 2nd for extraditing Marc in the first place.”
The circumstances surrounding Marc’s learning of the refusal are also peculiar.
“It is impermissible under the professional conduct rules in the District of Columbia for lawyers to communicate directly with a represented person, or cause others to communicate with a represented person, without going through their lawyer,” Tousaw said. “Here, neither I nor [Emery’s US lawyer] Ms. Royce were told of the US refusal. Instead, the US apparently told the Canadian Consulate first and it was the Consulate that informed Marc. This is very unusual and should not have happened. It makes me wonder whether the US and Canada are engaged in ongoing dialogue about Marc and lends support to the belief that politics are still influencing the process.”
Go to FreeMarc.ca to find out more about Marc Emery and how to help bring him home.
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