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U.S. Busts Canadian In Canada For Pot

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According to reports published by Canadian press today, the well-known Vancouver marijuana activist Marc Emery and two associates have been arrested at the request of the American Drug Enforcement Agency(D.E.A.). The warrant for his arrest was issued under something called the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act.

Marc Emery, Gregory Keith Williams, and Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek have all been charged with conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, to distribute marijuana seeds, and money-laundering. The warrant calls for their extradition to the States to face these charges.

If the trio are found guilty they could face from ten years to life in jail. Why Vancouver police waited for the U.S. to take action against the trio is slightly unclear. When asked, the spokesperson said that they had known about Emery’s operation for a while, but that they had been acting on U.S. information and investigations take time.

Judging by the vindictive nature of the American attorney general’s statement, it seems like the U.S. justice system wants to get their hands on them. The obvious reason for this is that Canada has nowhere near the punitive laws or attitude against marijuana that currently exists at the federal levels of government in America.

The D.E.A. has already given Emery a catchy nickname for the popular press and C.N.N. In the warrant sworn out by the judge they had referred to him as the “Prince of Pot.” They are setting him up to be some sort of drug King Pin – a sort of Canadian version of the Columbian cocaine cartels.

But Marc Emery’s crime in their eyes goes far beyond what he sells from his store, “The Toker’s Bowl” in downtown Vancouver. He is the head of the British Columbia Marijuana Party, which pushes for the decriminalization of possession and cultivation of the drug.

With Canada flirting with decriminalization of simple possession after already legalizing medical marijuana, Emery must be seen in their eyes as a key force in the upcoming debates on the matter. They probably hope that by removing him from the picture it will take a while for another outspoken advocate to rise up in his place.

But arresting a person is one thing, getting him extradited is another. According to the laws of Canada, we will not allow a person to be sent to stand trial if they face punishment that is significantly crueller than what they would face here.

In this case we are dealing with the request for Canadian citizens to be tried in a country whose attitude and penalties for the crime in question are significantly more draconian than ours. The charges in of themselves, save the money laundering charge, are relatively insignificant. They are not being charged with shipping thousands of pounds of the drug across the border, or even directly cultivating it on their own.

They have been selling seeds. Nothing more. Any of you out there who have tried growing your own will know that it is fraught with difficulties, and your chances for success and quality of return are significantly long. Even growing your own vegetables is not something everyone can do, so the process of growing a tropical plant in a temperate climate is fraught with difficulties.

The idea that this is a crime equal to that of actually cultivating and selling of the final product is ludicrous, and the D.E.A. zeal for an arrest and trial speaks of a vendetta against the individuals. In fact this was made obvious by their spokesperson’s comment about “his (Emery’s) overwhelming arrogance and abuse of the law (which) will no longer be tolerated”

What is even more interesting about this case is the fact that Emery has been running his operation since 1994 without any harassment or arrests by the Vancouver police force. It’s only now that the D.E.A. has become involved that any action has been taken. In Canada, nothing that he has done is considered important enough to warrant jail time, or wasting police resources on.

What’s next? Will they start issuing warrants to arrest the people running needle exchanges and demanding their extradition? Charge them with conspiracy to promote the use of intravenous drugs?

From the way the American officials were talking, these people sound like hardened criminals who are a threat to the very fabric of society. Get a grip. It’s not like they’ve killed anyone or pose any sort of serious threat to American safety. With all the supposed terrorists that Canada is harbouring, why use these people to make use of their ability to seek someone’s arrest?

The only thing I can think of is that they are trying to pressure Canadian officials not to relax marijuana laws any further. In their eyes we are probably a bunch of spineless liberals without the guts to do what’s needed in the “war on drugs”. (How come everything is a “war”?) I’ll be very surprised if Stephen Harper, head of the Canadian Conservative Party, a group of social conservatives, doesn’t come out with an anti-pot statement in the near future.

There have been no reports about the substance of what Steven Harper and George Bush talked about in their recent meeting, but I’ve got to wonder why Bush would bother meeting with the leader of the opposition party in Canada. Maybe he was only expressing his condolences on their failure to bring down the sitting government, or preventing the legalization of same-sex marriage.

But I can’t get over the feeling that the matters of substance and mutual interest they were discussing have a lot to do with George issuing orders to his subordinate in the war against social justice. Briefing him on what things he needs to concentrate on in the upcoming year that are near and dear to George’s heart. Steven has proven himself a more than willing puppet, oops, ally in the past. If George wants to promote his zero tolerance on drugs in Canada he’s got to make sure that his sycophants know what to say.

Fortunately this will be a matter for our courts to decide, and no matter what either Mr. Harper, Mr. Bush or the D.E.A. want if they find the extradition request violates the spirit of our laws it will be turned down. We are still after all a sovereign nation and have the right to have laws that are different from other countries.

The three accused individuals were carrying their crimes out in Canada, are Canadian citizens and therefore should be subject to the laws of Canada. If they were ever foolish enough to enter the United States than the Americans could have their go at them, like any other individual indicted by a grand jury who lives outside of their borders.

If Canadian authorities did not think Mr Emery and his associates worthy of their time and effort, then I can not see how anybody can justify them being extradited to the United States to stand trial. I admit stranger things have happened, but in this case there is little or no evidence to warrant this action.

One final note. I wonder that the D.E.A. has not gone after Amazon for conspiracy to cultivate. The number of books they sell offering tips and hints is astounding.
edited:NB, JH

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About Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of two books commissioned by Ulysses Press, "What Will Happen In Eragon IV?" (2009) and "The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion". Aside from Blogcritics his work has appeared around the world in publications like the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and the multilingual web site Qantara.de. He has been writing for Blogcritics.org since 2005 and has published around 1900 articles at the site.
  • That’s some scary stuff. Sounds like a purely politically motivated arrest. How can Canada go along with it? I thought they were at least marginally more sensible on drugs than the US Drug Warriors.


  • I don’t think there was any choise in the matter due to the nature of that weird agreement. It sounds like either American or Canadian law enforcement officials can apply to have someone arrested in the other country.

    Like I said, it all depends on how strictly our courts adhere to our laws. There is no way these people should be extradited.

    I agree it has to be politicaly motivated on the part of the American government… trying to interfere in the activities of a another nation. I guess we should be grateful that’s the extent of the interferance for now.


  • I can’t imagine what kind of interference would take place that could be worse than this.

    Isn’t what this ‘Prince of Pot’ was doing considerably less illegal in Canada than it is here in the US? That being the case, in what way is it just for him to be tried under US law when he’s not a US citizen and not even resident in the US at all.

    It’s outrageous.


  • Dennis

    Hopefully this will unite Canadians to stand up against the American DEA. Marijuana, and especially marijuana seeds is not something someone should do 10 or more years of prison time for!! The best thing that could happen would be for this bust to backfire on them. There should be more people like Marc Emery

  • Bob

    CTV did a survey on their web site on July 30th. Here is the question they asked and the final results of the survey:

    Should the sale of marijuana seeds be illegal?

    Yes 3526 votes (46 %)
    No 4102 votes (54 %)

    Total Votes: 7628

    Obviously the majority of Canadians have a different opinion on this matter compared to the DEA and their Canadian police agents.

    If you want to see the results for yourself, go to the web site (http://www.ctv.ca/) and vote in the today’s question poll. A screen will come up that contains the results of previous polls.

  • The pro-pot movement is well known for it’s lack of discipline and direction. Heck, they’re pot smokers, right?

    And here you show it again.

    In an article meant to draw sympathy for your plight, here you are bashing the Canadian Conservative Party for being “social conservatives” and “Bush suck-ups”

    This is one Canadian conservative who had some time for what you had to say. Not anymore.

    Until the pot movement learns to become mature and professional, I’m afraid you’ll always be loser outsiders. Oh well.

  • I don’t see the Amazon connection, unless you’ve got a good source for pot from the region, in which case, do tell.

    Nothing wrong with books, etc. methinks

    Go Hemp!

  • RJ

    Should the sale of marijuana seeds be illegal?

    Yes 3526 votes (46 %)
    No 4102 votes (54 %)

    Total Votes: 7628

    Obviously the majority of Canadians have a different opinion on this matter compared to the DEA and their Canadian police agents.

    Well, it wasn’t a scientific poll, was it? So it’s meaningless.

    Just sayin’…

  • Two things. Marc Emery was charged with conspiracy to cultivate marijuana, would not selling books expalining how to grow it be considered the part of that conspiracy. For the longest time the sale of any paraphanalia associated with marijuana was considered naughty. It was more a joke than anything else to show how ridiculous the charges are.

    For the poor conservative whose feelings I’ve hurt, I do not smoke pot, I have not smoked pot in over 12 years. My mind is not lazy and I’m not asleep. You tell me why everything Steven Harper says echo’s George Bush?
    As you may not remember, the people who ran Mike Harris’s campaigns in Ontario were imported from the Uninted States, and the expresseion Common Sence Revolution was lifted straight from a Gubenarial campaign in New Jersy.
    From the time of Brian Mulroney the Conservative Party of Canada, no matter what name it has gone by, has slavishly followed in the footsteps of the current Conservative President of the United States.
    If I’m wrong this time about Harper and marijuana, then that’s fine, I don’t mind admitting to a mistake, but tell me when was the last time a sitting President me with the leader of the opposition party in Canada? It’s just a little strange, don’t you think?


  • cc

    The store is called the BC Marijuana Party Bookstore.

    The Toker’s Bowl is something else — an annual event held in Vancouver (see tokersbowl.com… presumably this year’s will have been the last).

    Neither the DEA nor CNN dubbed him Prince of Pot — it’s a moniker he invented to promote his business in the 90s and which the media has rather blithely adopted ever since.

    And his store certainly HAS had trouble from the VPD since ’94, even forcing him to give it up for a few years, when he moved to Vancouver Island in the late 90s.

    Lastly, the target is the seedbank (as opposed to his magazine or bookstore), and his in particular, because it’s so much more than a seedbank — it’s the cash engine he uses to fund other ventures, with the ‘Party’ (one with no conventions or nomination meetings, and a slate comprised mainly of reluctant employees) as a paper-thin cover.

    Our town routinely attracts cocky, under-educated, self-promoting charlatans whom the media fall in love with for a time and then do 180 when (gasp) they turn out to be crooks (think Bill Vander Zalm of Pot) — this is what’s in store as the details come out and he’s seen for what he is: a parasite with a fake political party and an agenda that does more harm than good to the movement.

    Always pays to dig deeper before sharing your ‘opinion’ but thanks anyway.

  • You may not have noticed the according to the Canadian Press at the beginning of the post, or followed the link to the story in the post from which I gathered all the information.

    None of this came off the top of my head, all the factual information was taken from a “legit. news report” and quotes from the D.E.A. including them naming him Prince of Pot in their application for a warrent.

    I’m sorry if the newspapers are wrong and you are right but you were not around to consult when I read the news. Forgive me, next time I’ll contact you first to make sure anything I read in the paper is accurate.

  • CanadianInAlabama

    As a Canadian living in Alabama, I am constantly amazed by the US laws and attitudes. When I first moved here, I went to wear my “Legalize Now” T-shirt, basic black and covered in a green marijuana leaf motif. My fiance explained that I would be arrested here on a paraphenalia charge. She went on to explain that simply having rolling papers without tobacco on your person would be a paraphenalia charge. I have read about a person in Northern Alabama arrested for smelling like marijuana – and it took not one, but two appeals in court to get the charges tossed. Likewise, a Jr. High female was charged with contravening a schools drug policy when she took Midol for her monthly cramps. Seems she took it without permission of the school, where a zero tolerance policy was in effect. Last I heard she was supposed to serve time at an alternative school – a nice term for boot camp. I don’t know if she did or not, but the school acted as if their hands were tied.

    As I said, I am constantly amazed by the lunacy.

  • doctore

    I doubt that George Bush spoke to Steven Harper on any issue of substance during Harpers attendance of conservative leaders in Washington. We would have heard from Harper already if it were so. Shirley the conservative leader is learning to keep his mouth shut on issues that are seen by Canadians to be none of America’s business. Missile defense, same sex marriage, and now Pot seeds.
    The arrest of Marc Emery is just another example of US foreign policy run amuck, as well as a huge embarrassment to the Vancouver Police Dept. Chief Graham must be squirming in his seat after listening to DEA authorities speaking about Emery’s smug arrogance. Having done nothing about seed sales for years and then being duped into action based on a purely political directive by a foreign agency puts the VPD in the worse possible light.
    When its all said and done the ceding of sovereignty to the great American bully is an issue that the conservative party will want not want to comment on

  • Michael Robert

    This is ridiculous. How much longer can the d.e.a.<--not worth the capitalization of the letters, go on making asinine statements with a straight face in regards to the severity of Mr. Emery's crimes? If Marijuana was so evil and bad both American and Canadian society would come to a stand still...Who is the d.e.a's next target? This reeks or interference of the worst kind...Imagine the uproar if the Canadian gov tried to extradite an American citizen...that hasn't committed a crime under American law? The furor would be astronomical

  • Let me suggest that Marc Emery’s real crime was humiliating the Walters during his visit to Vancouver in 2002. Perhaps this is really about a purely personal attack by John Walters. We know that the investigation against Emery started 18 months ago. so do the math. Marc confronted Walters at the end of 2002, leaving Walters a year to find some way to get even. Apparently, the DEA investigation started soon after that.

    In late November 2002 Walters paid a visit to Van. He was scheduled to
    speak at an expensive “luncheon”where
    Emery also bought tickets for a table and invited fellow activists like
    David Malmo-Levine and Chris Bennett to attend.

    With secret service agents at every entrance, Emery sat at his tableand politely booed America’s highest anti-drug official as he
    took the microphone. Emery, Bennett and Malmo-Levine called out “liar”, including other “commentary” while Walters spoke about America’s high rate of “marijuana addicts,” and how harm reduction policies would destroy the world.

    You’ll also might remember that last spring we had in BC some Texas cops who were practicing how to bust Canadian drug smugglers by pulling whoever and whatever over on the highway out of Vancouver. Yes! American cops busting Canadian citizens! And the only reason we know anything about that is the stunned cunts went and busted a Vancouver off-duty cop who went and made a fuss about it… and justifiably so. He just won a settlement against the cops, including, I believe, the RCMP who it turns out invited them up. And now they’re busting Canadian citizens at the direction of the DEA. I tell you, I don’t know what’n the hell is going on but I’m starting to wonder whether Canadian soveriegnty is already a thing of the past…that the PNAC crew isn’t further along in their plans than I had dared to imagine.


  • rachel

    The States think we are drug runners. Their rationalization is they still see pot in the same light as heroin or coke. Funny how Canadians get a lot of flak for weed, yet the Mexican border brings in all the hard shit. OMG, I’m so glad I live in Canada!

  • Then start worrying about Canadian sovereignty because the cops are selling us out and the politicians are staying mum. Be afraid. Be very afraid…..

  • A quote from D.E.A. administrator Karen Tandy, on the arrest of Canadian marijuana activist Marc Emery:

    “Today’s arrest of Mark (sic) Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine and the founder of a marijuana legalization group, is a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement.”

    “Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery’s illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.”

    Seattle Post Intelligencer

    An excellent article, gypsyman. I’m sorry I missed it when it was first posted.

  • What is it with Canada and pot anyway?

  • What is with Canada and pot is that Canada has been moving toward implementing a rational drug policy while the US is still living in the dark ages of prohibition and wondering why Americans still consume 25% of the world’s black market drugs when we only account for 5% of the world’s population.

  • Me…Jane


    To the Lab:

    Hmmmm…..I wonder if GWB is somehow, secretly, involved in this too….Fish Farming anyone?

  • I see that the CBC, CTV and others are reporting a huge increase in the number of injuries and deaths caused by guns. They also say they are mostly coming from US gun dealers. So I have a suggestion for our government.
    How about they ask the US to arrest and extradite those gun dealers who sold weapons to Canadians down there, or were in some way knowledgeable about the intended destination? Wouldn’t that be fair. “Emery for Armory”?

    So ask your local MP’s to request the RCMP to make this request of their southern counterparts, the ones who see death and destruction in pot seeds. I would hope that they finally get the hypocrisy of their actions.