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  1. Mr. Giraffe
    Marc Emery agrees to five years in Canadian prison

    Ian Mulgrew
    Vancouver Sun

    Monday, January 14, 2008


    CREDIT:
    Ian Mulgrew
    VANCOUVER - Marc Emery, Vancouver's self-styled Prince of Pot, has tentatively agreed to a five-year prison term in a plea bargain over U.S. money laundering and marijuana seed-selling charges.

    Facing an extradition hearing Jan. 21 and the all-but-certain prospect of delivery to American authorities, Emery has cut a deal with U.S. prosecutors to serve his sentence in Canada. He also hopes it will save his two co-accused - Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams, who were his lieutenants for so much of the past decade.

    The three were arrested in August 2005 at the request of the United States and charged even though none had ventured south of the border. Since then, they have been awaiting the extradition hearing. With the proceedings about to begin, Emery says his lawyer brokered the best deal possible.

    If accepted by the courts in both countries, Emery said he will serve the full term and not be eligible for Canada's lenient get-out-of-jail-early rules.

    "I'm going to do more time than many violent, repeat offenders," he complained. "There isn't a single victim in my case, no one who can stand up and say, 'I was hurt by Marc Emery.' No one."

    He's right. Whatever else you may think of Emery - and he grates on many people, what is happening here is a travesty of justice. Emery's case mocks our independence as a country. Prosecutors in Canada have not enforced the law against selling pot seeds and all you need do is walk along Hastings Street between Homer and Cambie for proof.

    There are numerous stores selling seeds and products for producing cannabis. Around the corner, you'll find more seed stores. You'll find the same shops in Toronto and in other major Canadian cities.

    The last time Emery was convicted in Canada of selling pot seeds, back in 1998, he was given a $2,000 fine. Emery has flouted the law for more than a decade and every year he sends his seed catalogue to politicians of every stripe.

    He has run in federal, provincial and civic elections promoting his pro-cannabis platform. He has championed legal marijuana at parliamentary hearings, on national television, at celebrity conferences, in his own magazine, Cannabis Culture, and on his own Internet channel, Pot TV.

    Health Canada even recommended medical marijuana patients buy their seeds from Emery. From 1998 until his arrest, Emery even paid provincial and federal taxes as a "marijuana seed vendor" totalling nearly $600,000.

    He is being hounded because of his success. The political landscape has changed dramatically as a result of Emery's politicking for cannabis. Emery challenged a law he disagrees with using exactly the non-violent, democratic processes we urge our children to embrace and of which we are so proud.

    But along the way he has angered the anti-drug law-enforcement community - the same gang that insists we must continue an expensive War on Drugs that has failed miserably for more than a quarter century and does more harm than good.

    Canadian police grew so frustrated that neither prosecutors nor the courts would lock up Emery and throw away the key, they urged their U.S. counterparts to do the dirty work. And that's what's wrong.

    Emery is being handed over to a foreign government for an activity we are loath to prosecute because we don't think it's a major problem. His two associates were charged only as a way of blackmailing him into copping a plea.

    It's a scandal.

    Emery is being made a scapegoat for an anti-cannabis criminal law that is a monumental failure. In spite of all our pricey efforts during the last 40 years, and all the demonization of marijuana, there is more pot on our streets, more people smoking dope and more damage being done to our communities as a result of the prohibition.

    There is a better way and every study from the 1970s Le Dain Commission onward has urged change and legalization.

    Regardless of what you think of Emery, he should not be facing an unconscionably long jail term for a victimless, non-violent crime that generates a shrug in his own country. Emery is facing more jail time than corporate criminals who defrauded widows and orphans and longer incarceration than violent offenders who have left their victims dead or in wheelchairs.

    And while he has long seemed to court martyrdom, Emery is by no means sanguine about what is happening. He is angry at local lawyers for failing to come up with a viable defence.

    "They had two years and $90,000 and they came up with nothing," he fumed. "John Conroy called me up and said 'take the deal - Michelle will die in jail. Michelle will die in jail!' What can I say to that?"

    Rainey, who has a medical exemption to smoke marijuana, has Crohn's disease. Incarceration in the U.S. would deprive her of her medicine, and she fears it could lead to her death.

    "It's an ugly situation but Marc expects miracles," Kirk Tousaw, one of the lawyers involved, told me. "There aren't any here."

    He's right. Our extradition law puts Canadian citizens at the mercy of foreign governments and judges can't do much about it. Emery is being forced to accept a deal because not only are two of his friends in jeopardy if he doesn't, but also to go south for an unfair trial would mean serving as much as 20 years in prison, perhaps more.

    One of his friends, for example, was handed a 30-year sentence for growing 200 plants. This is wrong.

    If Emery has been breaking the law and must be jailed, our justice department should charge him and prosecute him in Canada. It's time for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to step in and say, sorry, Uncle Sam, not today - not ever.

    imulgrew@png.canwest.com

    © Vancouver Sun

Comments

  1. doppey
    Fuckin Right!!!!!!!
  2. chemlove
    It's a sad day when a man who doesn't hurt anyone serves more time then someone who is violent criminal.

    I'm so tired of hearing about all these abusive people getting months or even worse probation then repeating and coming back

    This is one of the saddest days he has business doing 5 years!
  3. Mr. Giraffe
    Um... I take it you are pleased that Emery is going to prison.

    Please elaborate.
  4. old hippie 56
    Rather take the five years in a Canadian prison than twenty or more in a US federal pen. Still, it is sad for doing time for selling seeds.
  5. Metomni
    Sad news indeed.:thumbsdown:
  6. asaru969
    what a...SAD...SAD...SAD world we live in...Marc Emery has been a hero of mine for more than a decade...keep your head up man...yet another disgusting display of governmental abuse...makes me sick
  7. fnord
    GGRRrrrrr..... i dont know if i should be happy or pissed? i think ill go with both,How long after his release do you think it'll take him to be arrested again?
  8. Mr. Giraffe
    UPDATE: The Emery camp says the earlier news story was released without their permission (not that a journo ever needs permission) but they say the details are still under negotiation and that the report was wrong in terms of the details. Here's what Marc's partner Jodie said over on the cannabis culture forums:

    Ugh. This is all way to early, by the way... No deal has been made, no agreement reached. It's all still in negotiations! Canada and the USA have to agree to it -- and we don't know if they have!

    Also, like Michelle wrote, their release was not written in to the deal and must be negotiated too [the release of Emery's two co-accused, Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams].

    I don't feel well. Ian Mulgrew reported on this without our permission! He didn't even include the right details. The media has been here non-stop today, of course, so I guess the facts will get out there...
  9. Mr. Giraffe
    Monday, January 14, 2008

    Plea deal for Prince of Pot means jail time for marijuana activist in the U.S.

    Terri Theodore,
    THE CANADIAN PRESS


    VANCOUVER - Canada's so-called prince of pot is planning for prison after reaching a plea bargain with U.S. officials over his Internet sales of marijuana seeds.

    But Marc Emery remains defiant, despite the prospect of serving a five-year-jail term and has no regrets over his pot-promoting antics through the years. "I'm really pleased and proud of what I've done," Emery said of his legacy. "I wish I could have done more to piss the U.S. government off actually."

    Emery, 50, said Monday that U.S. prosecutors made the offer to his lawyer for a 10-year-prison term that would mean he would have to spend at least five years in prison, most of it in Canada.

    The agreement also spares his co-accused Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams from doing jail time.

    Emery said that's especially important for Rainey, who smokes marijuana to control symptoms of Crohn's disease, a painful digestive-tract disorder.

    It was one of the reasons he considered the offer.

    "Well, what if something did happen in jail to her?" said Emery. "You know I would always be responsible."

    In July 2005, Emery was arrested in Halifax on an extradition request from the United States.

    A U.S. federal grand jury had indicted the self-proclaimed "prince of pot" on charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana seeds, conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to engage in money laundering.

    The charges related to his sale of marijuana seeds to U.S. customers over the Internet.

    Emery still has trouble recognizing what he did wrong.

    "There's no victim in my case," he said. "There's nobody who's claiming I hurt them ... so you're talking hundreds of thousands of happy customers."

    For almost 15 years, Emery has been an outspoken advocate of the cannabis culture, even creating a magazine and forming the B.C. Marijuana Party.

    Three years ago, he travelled across the country lighting up giant joints at pro-marijuana rallies in front of police stations in his quest to legalize pot.

    He spent two months in a Saskatoon jail after he was arrested passing around a marijuana cigarette at a pro-pot rally.

    "I'm a victim of political advocacy," he said Monday.

    Alan Young, a professor at Osgood Hall Law School at York University, said extradition requests from the United States are very difficult to fight and the plea gives Emery some certainty.

    "It looked a bit hopeless," Young said. "That's not to say a great fight could not have been mounted."

    Young, who has known and worked with Emery since 1990, said on that level he's relieved that Emery knows the sentence he will face.

    But on a political level the sentence is a travesty, he said.

    "I think it's remarkable that I could cripple someone and put them in hospital ... and get less time that Marc will serve," Young said.

    "It's grossly disproportionate by Canadian standards. But, unfortunately, by American standards, it may appear to be a kiss."

    Emery said he's always been open about his actions, lobbying and meeting politicians such as Sen. Larry Campbell and New Democrat Leader Jack Layton and even filing income tax on his seed sales.

    "Nobody ever treated me like a drug dealer in this country," he stated.

    That wasn't the case in the U.S. after his arrest in 2005.

    "The tentacles of the Marc Emery criminal enterprise reached out across North America to include all 50 states and Canada," Rodney Benson of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency told reporters in Seattle.

    The plea agreement still needs the approval of the Canadian Department of Justice, which Emery believes won't oppose it.

    "Because it spares the Conservative party government ... with a looming election, this awkward decision of whether to extradite me," he said.

    "In a sense, it takes the heat off the government too, which I'm really disappointed by because one of the great things about having a crisis is something politically good might come of it."

    Alain Charette, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, said the plea is a negotiation between other parties and doesn't yet involve the department.

    He noted in all such extradition decisions, the minister is left with the final decision.

    Emily Langlie, public affairs officer for the U.S. Attorney's office in Seattle, said it was not appropriate for officials there to comment on the plea agreement.

    The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration did not respond to a request for an interview.
  10. jkolt89
    it's crazy how true this is. There's no way he should be in jail longer violent crime offenders.
  11. AntiAimer
    Crimes Against Humanity - 1
    Society - 0
  12. MrG
    Argh! That just leaves me fuming. Come on you canucks organise a damn protest in the streets over this.

    It is just one man this time but who knows what could happen next once this precedent is set. You have to stand up to this bullshit.

    As the Manic's once sang: "If you tolerate this, then your children will be next".

    Damn straight.
  13. Motorhead
    Since his arrest in August '05 by the DEA in Halifax and up until very recently, Emery has consistently stated that he was going through with the extradition process and was going out in a blaze of glory in a US court room.

    I don't think he copped out-more like he came to his senses. If there were not other parties involved he might have actually gone through with it, but ultimately-considering Michelle Raineys health, his own and Greg Williams age, and his young wife-it was the right decision. He had no legal chance in the courtroom, only a bigger platform for what would have been a very brief moment in time.

    Still, a 10 year sentence with 5 in prison is a big kick in the balls for a guy fifty years of age. His website, magazine, and cause will continue no doubt, carried on by his disciples and his young wife Jodie. I wonder if she will remain true during his incarceration.............
  14. Mr. Giraffe
    This about sums it up. His whole claim to fame was that he was guilty of the charges - the more the merrier, so to speak. A courtroom is not a debating parlour, and the law would have been pretty cut and dried - he broke US law, Canada has a pretty one-sided extradition treaty with the US (we all do, Canada, don't feel hurt), so he was never going to beat the rap. Horrible, decision to have to make all the same; it's like admitting that there's no such thing as justice.
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