A Sovereignty Issue: Canadians Oppose Marc Emery Extradition

August 2005: Most Canadians want their government to reject efforts by U.S. authorities to have marijuana-seed seller Marc Emery extradited for a crime that is not prosecuted in Canada, a new poll found. The poll conducted by The Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail and CTV found that 58 per cent of Canadians oppose the extradition of Mr. Emery.
The results suggest that Canadians do not view the Emery case as a simple matter of surrendering a criminal to the United States. “It has become almost a sovereignty issue,” said Allan Gregg, chairman of The Strategic Counsel. He noted that another section of the same poll showed that Canadians favour giving the U.S. any information it wants about Canadians suspected of terrorism, but do not want to surrender someone accused of breaking the law by selling illegal substances in the U.S.

In Canada, selling marijuana seeds is technically illegal, but no case has been prosecuted for decades. In the United States, the maximum sentence Mr. Emery faces is life in prison. Federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler [edit: now Rob Nicholson] must approve his extradition to the United States. In fact, marijuana-legalization advocates say that support for the British Columbia defendant has been gathering, because many Canadians view it as a question of asserting Canada’s right to choose how laws are enforced within its own borders.

The poll has a sample size of 1,000 and is considered to have a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

– Article by Campbell Clark, the Globe and Mail
August 15, 2005

Canadians Reject Extradition in Marijuana Case: Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many adults in Canada believe Marc Emery should not face trial in the United States, according to a poll by The Strategic Counsel released by CTV and the Globe and Mail. 58 per cent of respondents oppose the extradition of the Canadian citizen on drug charges.

On Jul. 29, Emery was arrested in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities on charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and distribute marijuana seeds, and money laundering. Emery — who is currently free on bail — faces extradition to the U.S. If convicted, he could be sentenced to at least 10 years in jail.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) claims that Emery sold marijuana seeds over the Internet to American customers. The DEA also alleges that Emery’s business is worth $2.5 million U.S. a year.

In November 2004, the Canadian federal government re-introduced a controversial bill that seeks “alternate penalty frameworks” for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. If the bill passes, any person caught with 15 grams of the drug or less would face fines instead of criminal charges.

In July 2002, Canada became the first nation in the world to regulate the consumption of cannabis for medical reasons. In the 2004 federal election, the Marijuana party — which seeks the outright legalization of the substance — received 0.3 per cent of the popular vote.

Polling Data

You may be aware that a Canadian was recently arrested in Canada at the request of U.S. police on the charge of illegally exporting marijuana seeds to the U.S. via the internet. While this is a crime in the U.S., Canadian police are not currently enforcing similar laws on marijuana. Do you strongly support, support, oppose or strongly oppose this Canadian to be extradited to the United States?

Strongly support: 13%

Support: 23%

Oppose: 30%

Strongly oppose: 28%

Not sure: 6%

(Source: The Strategic Counsel / CTV / The Globe and Mail
Methodology: Interviews to 1,000 Canadian adults, conducted from Aug. 3 to Aug. 7, 2005. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.)

– Article from Angus Reid Global Monitor
August 20, 2005