Renee Boje Fights Extradition

Pubdate: Thu, 10 Feb 2000Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: The Vancouver Sun 2000
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An American woman living on the Sunshine Coast was ordered extradited to the United States Wednesday to face charges in connection with growing marijuana, but she is vowing to fight the order all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Renee Danielle Boje, 30, was released on bail after an uncontested continuance of her previously posted $5,000 bond. She can remain in Canada during what could be a lengthy appeal process lasting several months.

Her lawyer, John Conroy, said it could be “quite some considerable time” before Boje would be sent back to California.

He said the next phase of the judiciary system is a review of her situation by Justice Minister Anne McClellan.

If the review is unfavourable to Boje, she can then appeal McClellan’s ruling through a judicial review, which would be heard in conjunction with the appeal she filed Wednesday at the B.C. Court of Appeal.

Once those avenues are exhausted, Boje would have to take her case to the Supreme Court of Canada to avoid charges of drug manufacturing, distribution and conspiracy that carry a minimum 10-year prison sentence.

Boje still has a refugee claim pending because she believes she is the victim of political persecution by U.S. federal authorities who do not recognize rights that Californians voted themselves in a state-wide 1996 referendum that allows marijuana to be grown for certain medical conditions.

Wearing a long blue dress and a white blouse, Boje’s first reaction upon leaving the B.C. Supreme Courthouse to address reporters was to say: “I’m free.”

Boje, who now resides in Robert’s Creek, a small community just outside Gibsons said she hopes the public will support her efforts to remain in the country.

“It’s now up to the people of Canada to show their support by sending letters to the minister,” said Boje outside the courthouse. “I feel inspired to go on with this and set a precedent case.”

Boje’s friend Maury Mason, at whose home she has been staying for the past year, said he was not surprised by the judge’s decision Wednesday.

However, “we did hope somewhere along the line that someone could show some logical compassion,” he said.

Boje was arrested in July 1997 along with several other medical-marijuana advocates after U.S. federal authorities discovered thousands of marijuana plants growing at the Bel-Air mansion of cancer patient Todd McCormick. Police claimed to have observed her and another woman watering the pot plants one day.

Boje came to Canada in 1998 on advice from a lawyer after the U.S. charges were briefly withdrawn. A further arrest by the RCMP in connection with a marijuana-grow operation in Sechelt resulted in U.S. authorities filing for her extradition.