On February 9, the courtroom and hallway crowded with supporters as Renee Boje appeared in British Columbia’s Supreme Court to hear Judge Catliff’s ruling. She was arrested in California while doing art at Todd McCormick’s medical grow operation when it was raided on July 29, 1997 and has been fighting extradition back to the US to face related charges (see CC#24, Boje offers to turn herself in).
Renee Boje’s case has become a political headache for US anti-pot forces. The DEA raid on McCormick’s operation was a message from the US federal government that they would not tolerate proposition 215, by which Californian voters made medical marijuana legal in their state. At the time of her arrest, police knew that Boje was not a player in the operation; they dropped all charges and released her. By the time it became apparent that they would need her to testify against McCormick, she was in Canada. They reinstated charges against her to leverage her cooperation. Despite a possible ten years to life in prison, Boje refused to cut a deal by testifying.
“The US government is denying the American people access to a healing herb which has been proven effective in treating a wide variety of illnesses,” Boje told Cannabis Culture. “As a result, millions of seriously ill people in America are suffering. Todd was conducting medical research on cannabis to alleviate some of this suffering. I would never agree to testify against a man that was doing something I believe in so strongly.”
The courtroom was stunned when Judge Catliff ruled that Renee Boje be surrendered on all counts, including possession, production, conspiracy to possess, conspiracy to produce and conspiracy to traffic in marijuana. Some wept openly as the Bailiff escorted Boje from the witness stand to a jail cell. Boje’s lawyer, John Conroy, appealed the ruling immediately and had Boje out on bail later that day.
The next step is for Boje’s case to proceed to the Minister of Justice, Anne McLellan, before it goes on to the Appeal Court of British Columbia.
“If enough people send in letters of support to the minister before [the deadline],” said Renee, “I have faith that the minister will make a compassionate decision.”
The deadline for letters of support has been extended to April 17, and may be extended after that for an additional 45 days. Letters of support for Renee Boje to the Minister of Justice, Anne McLellan, can be sent to Boje’s lawyer, John Conroy, at his address, below. Renee Boje is struggling with legal and even living expenses. A small donation could make a big difference.
? For more info about letters of support contact Renee Boje: tel (604) 885-2433; email: [email protected]; website: www.reneeboje.com
? Send letters for the Minister of Justice to Lawyer John Conroy: 2459 Pauline St, Abbotsford, BC, Canada V2S 3S1
? Support Renee by buying one of her Cannabis Certificates. Send a $25 donation and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Renee Boje, PO Box 1557, Gibsons, BC, Canada, VON 1V0