[Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s media advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up for NORML’s free e-zine here.]
Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has reportedly signed off on an order extraditing longtime Canadian marijuana activist and publisher Marc Emery to the United States, according to the Associated Press.
Emery’s attorney stated that he will be transferred to the US imminently.
United States law enforcement officials indicted Emery in August of 2005 for selling marijuana seeds to US customers.
Under a plea agreement, Emery faces up to five years in US prison. Under Canadian law, he would face no more than one month in jail (and probation), if convicted.
In a letter from MP (member of Parliament) Libby Davies sent this week to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, she criticized, “Your government took a rare and unnecessary step today, by extraditing a Canadian citizen to serve a prison sentence in America for actions that are not worthy of prosecution under Canadian laws.”
Marc Emery has long maintained that his prosecution was politically motivated. Upon issuing his indictment in 2005, former US DEA administrator Karen Tandy asserted that Emery’s arrest struck “a significant blow to the marijuana legalization movement. … Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.”
For nearly two decades, Emery operated a highly visible seed bank in Vancouver. Emery declared hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes to the Canadian government, and officials at Health Canada – which oversees the nation’s legal medicinal cannabis program – frequently advised patients to purchase his seeds. Virtually all profits from Emery’s business ventures were distributed among various national and international drug law reform organizations.