Renee Boje Denied Refugee Status

August 24, 2006
Rene Boje Legal Battle Finally Resolved

Ottawa, Ontario: The appeal of American expatriate Renee Boje was denied yesterday by Canadian Justice Minister Irving Colter, who has ordered Boje to turn herself in to federal authorities to face extradition to the United States. Boje had been free on bail in Canada while she appealed a February 2000 British Columbia Supreme Court decision ruling that she be extradited to the United States to face marijuana conspiracy charges for her alleged role in 1997 California marijuana case involving over 1,000 marijuana plants.

Boje, along with her Canadian husband and Canadian-born two-year-old son, is expected to turn herself in to authorities later today. Boje’s lawyer will request that she remain in Canada and free on bail while they challenge the Justice Minister’s decision. If indicted federally in the United States, Boje could face a mandatory sentence of up to ten years in prison.

In his decision, Colter wrote: “The conduct alleged against Ms. Boje is that she was tending and watering some of the 4,116 marijuana plants being grown in a private, rented mansion in Bel Air, California. I am not satisfied that this conduct can be viewed as an expression of political opinion.”

He added, “In my view, neither Ms. Boje’s belief that her actions were legal [under California’s medical marijuana law,] nor the possible conflict between state and federal legislation in the United States of America raise a basis to refuse surrender on the facts of this case.” Colter concluded, “I am not persuaded by the length of the sentence that Ms. Boje may serve if convicted nor the conditions under which she may serve it would amount to cruel and unusual punishment such that they would shock the Canadian conscience and compel me to refuse her surrender.”

Boje filed for refugee status in Canada in 1998 after US federal agents raided the home of cancer survivor and medical cannabis patient Todd McCormick, with whom Boje had a working relationship. McCormick served four years in federal prison for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana.

Boje has been living in Canada, where she owns her own business, for the past eight years.

To read the text of the decision, visit:

To listen to an interview with Renee, visit: