There’s a massive cloud of cannabis confusion hovering around Marc Emery’s extradition case now that the deal between the Prince of Pot and U.S. prosecutors has hit the skids.
Under the now-defunct arrangement, Emery’s two co-accused, Greg Williams and Michelle Rainey, would have gone free while he served five years in Canada on U.S. charges of shipping marijuana seeds stateside. Now, as Emery heads to another round of extradition hearings April 9, his lawyers will be armed with a new and startling precedent. On March 7, the BC Court of Appeal upheld West Coast seed breeder Dan Kostantin’s 30-day sentence for shipping seeds to the U.S. The Crown had sought 15 to 18 months, a bid quashed by the court in a unanimous decision. Now Emery’s lawyers will argue it would be cruel and unusual punishment to extradite the pot activist to a U.S. justice system that could mete out a 30-year sentence. And that raises the question many in the anti-prohibition movement have been asking for some time: Why hasn’t the Crown charged Emery here? Are prosecutors afraid a homegrown judge would rule too leniently? Many weed activists think so – thus their stranger-than-fiction move to charge Emery under Canuck law themselves. “I believe the three are guilty of the offences in Canada, and if the police won’t charge them a private citizen should,” says BC anti-prohibitionist Paddy Roberts. That’s exactly what he did. But his case hit a roadblock when federal lawyers instructed a provincial Crown to stay the exact same charges that Emery, Williams and Rainey face extradition for. Some observers say prosecuting the trio here would mean the U.S. would forfeit its chance to get at them, and that Emery would likely cop only 15 to 18 months here compared to decades south of the border. Roberts has hired lawyer Jason Gratl, president of the BC Civil Liberties Association, who will argue April 11 in the province’s Court of Appeal that the feds overstepped their jurisdiction. Gratl declined comment on his client’s case. Fear of sharing Emery’s fate is fading fast amongst seed banks and breeders relieved by the March 7 ruling. There’s widespread feeling that the Prince’s charges are deeply political and not much of a problem for under-the-reefer-radar seed entrepreneurs. Much to the cops’, Crown’s and Conservatives’ chagrin, seed selling stateside via the Net is making a huge comeback. “If it weren’t for the States, you wouldn’t make money,” says Kostantin. email@example.com