Poll Shows Canadians Split Over Extradition of ‘Prince of Pot’

Marc Emery at 'The Worldwide Rally For The Prince of Pot' on September 19, 2009 - where 130 cities around the world held protests to call for Marc's freedom. (Photo by Jeremiah Vandermeer)Marc Emery at ‘The Worldwide Rally For The Prince of Pot’ on September 19, 2009 – where 130 cities around the world held protests to call for Marc’s freedom. (Photo by Jeremiah Vandermeer)Canadians are divided on the extradition of Marc Emery to the U.S. to face five years imprisonment for selling marijuana seeds.

In an online survey of a representative national sample of Canadians, 46 per cent of respondents agree with extraditing Emery, while 48 per cent disagree.

Surprisingly, 52 per cent of respondents believe Emery and other Canadians should be extradited even if the punishment they face abroad is more severe than the punishment meted out in Canada for the same crime. On this question there are sizable majorities in Alberta (58 per cent), British Columbia (56 per cent) and Quebec (54 per cent). Still, 41 per cent disagree.

But many believe the five-year sentence for manufacturing marijuana that Emery faces is too harsh. Forty-five per cent (including 53 per cent of British Columbians), take that view. One-third (33 per cent) think the sentence is correct, and 16 per cent deem it too lenient.

The B.C. Court of Appeal said last year that the appropriate sentence for someone like Emery convicted of selling marijuana seeds by mail was a month or two in jail, and a year’s probation.

In the questions designed to gauge awareness of four high-profile court cases involving extradition, a surprising 44 per cent of respondents stated that they did not know who Emery was.

Ronald Allen Smith — the Red Deer, Alta. native now on death row in Montana for slaying two people — had an even lower level of name recognition, with 56 per cent not knowing who he is.

Only 13 per cent of Canadians, by comparison, did not know of Omar Khadr, the Canadian held at the Guantanamo Bay on terrorism charges.

Just 11 per cent say they do not know of Roman Polanski, the film director who pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in 1978 and who was detained last month in Switzerland on an outstanding warrant.

About two in five (44 per cent) would only send Canadians to face trial and jail time in a foreign country that does not have a corrupt justice system.

Angus Reid Strategies conducted the online survey from Oct. 1 to Oct. 2 among 1,286 randomly selected Canadian adults who are panelists for the company.

The margin of error — which measures sampling variability — is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The breakdowns for B.C. are based on a sample of 407 respondents, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

The pollsters oversampled in order to get a much better take on the issue than the standard survey would allow.

The results were statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada.

Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

Emery was indicted four years ago by a U.S. federal grand jury on charges of money laundering and distributing marijuana seeds.

He has agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge — of manufacturing marijuana — in a Seattle court in exchange for a five-year prison term.

The self-styled Prince of Pot is in custody awaiting the expiration of a 30-day appeal period after which the federal justice minister is expected to sign the removal order to transfer him to the U.S.

– Article from The Vancouver Sun.

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