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Prince of Pot facing hard time in U.S.

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | News | October 5th, 2009

Despite rallies that took place across Canada, the U.S., and around the globe to protest Marc Emery's looming extradition to the United States, Emery, known as the “Prince of Pot,” lost the battle after turning himself in to U.S. authorities to serve his prison term.

“As expected, Marc Emery turned himself in on September 28 to the B.C. Supreme Court to begin his extradition to a U.S. federal prison. He will remain in custody and wait for our Minister of Justice, Rob Nicholson, to sign a surrender order,” said Joshua Dawson a Philosophy student at the University of Western Ontario. “This could happen anywhere within a week to a month.”

Emery was sentenced on September 28 after a court hearing ruled he was to spend the next five years behind bars for selling marijuana seeds to his American customers.

“There was nothing else that Emery could have done to avoid this extradition. It was either turn himself in to accept this plea bargain for a five year sentence, or face a trial that could have resulted in a life sentence with a $2-million fine.”

Dawson is also involved in legalization activism and was an avid organizer for London's Court House protest in support of Emery on September 19.

Dawson along with many other protesters outside the London Court House believes this case is a matter of Canadian sovereignty.

“The political motivations that lay behind Emery's extradition and because this ordeal is such a large threat to Canadian sovereignty, it was very important to me,” said Dawson. “I felt it was especially necessary for London to support Marc considering he grew up and began his activism here in London.”

The rally, according to Dawson drew a large crowd as people of all ages contributed their support by voicing their opinions and wanting to free Emery from serving time in a United States federal prison.

“I was glad to see such a spirited group show up for the protest and was surprised by the positive feedback we received throughout the day,” said Dawson. For many years, Emery operated his seed business openly and transparently to the public. He has paid close to $600,000 in income taxes alone to Revenue Canada from 1999 to 2005. Openly Emery has declared his profession as a “Marijuana Seed Vendor” again with transparency to the public.

Dawson along with other protesters was hopeful Emery was going to see a different outcome after his September 28 verdict was delivered.

“It is not right that (Emery) would be subject to a life sentence in a U.S. prison for selling marijuana seeds when we agree as a society that these actions would not warrant prosecution in Canada,” noted Dawson. “The Canadian government gladly accepted the taxes he paid knowing full well where the money was coming from, but when the United States comes knocking on our borders, the Canadian government opens the door up wide.”

Z. Jane Hadley assisted Dawson in the organization of the Emery rally and shares the same disbelief.

“(Emery) has been instrumental in making medical marijuana accessible to those who require it for treatment and has often covered the legal costs for medical users,” said Hadley. “I appreciate what (Emery) has done to fight the unfortunate stigma that society holds toward cannabis and cannabis users.

“It is the prohibition of marijuana that is harmful because it forces the drug trade to operate in a highly undependable black market that breeds violence, crime, prostitution, addiction, and a plethora of diseases that are transmitted between drug addicts.”

Emery's co-accused Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams will receive two years probation to be served in Canada as part of Emery's plea deal.

His wife, Jodie Emery will take over the cannabis business once her husband is in jail.

Emery is the publisher of Cannabis Culture Magazine and owns the Cannabis Culture store that sells everything from T-shirts to herbal merchandise.

He has run for political office under the Marijuana Party banner while taking part in protests across the country in his efforts to decriminalize pot.

He has also been arrested more than a dozen times in large part due to his marijuana activism and beliefs and spent three months in a Saskatoon Correction Centre.

“There are no victims in (Emery's) crime and there are more important issues for our society to be concerned with than to worry about those who use cannabis,” said Dawson.

If you would like to help free Emery you are advised to call the Minister of Justice and tell him to refuse the extradition order of Marc Emery or visit the following website:
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