Canadians of many stripes are coming together in condemning the recent arrest of Marc Emery, Canada's self proclaimed "Prince of Pot" and others associated with him as a result of American issued warrants.
The case as we have all read in papers and blogs from coast to coast is one of the American drug war using the Canadian police to bring one of America's most feared individuals to an American court. Canada is a sovereign nation and Emery should therefore face his charges in a Canadian court if he is seen to be breaking laws. As far as I am aware, it is not illegal to sell marijuana seeds in Canada.
There lies the problem. Marc Emery is a tireless crusader for the legal use of pot. He is in our faces, sometimes he inspires the libertarian in us, other times he pisses us off. He has led national and provincial political actions to force the issue onto the political agenda in this country, dragging many along kicking and screaming.
The United States has been trying to influence Canadian drug policy and enforcement for years. That effort has been losing significant ground since the mid 1990's as Canadian groups have moved toward harm reduction models in treating addictions issues and acceptance of medicinal and recreational marijuana use grows.
Today's court hearing in Vancouver involving Marc Emery will set the stage for the next battle in the war on drugs. Will the BC Court hold Emery in custody while the American Drug Czar attempts to extradite Emery to face charges in the United States? I suspect they will release Emery today.
This will lead to a a two or three year legal battle in which Emery will spend a fortune to protect not only himself from extradition to the United States, but also Canadian sovereignty. To allow the Americans to reach out and grab a Canadian citizen in this fashion is an acceptance of American law in Canada.
In 2002, 45.3 percent of the 1,538,813 total arrests for drug abuse violations were for marijuana -- a total of 697,082. Of those, 613,986 people were arrested for marijuana possession alone. This is a slight decrease from 2000, when a total of 734,497 Americans were arrested for marijuana offenses, of which 646,042 were for possession alone. - Drug Sense.org
"Propose for a moment that apples were illegal in the United States. (Which, if Carrie Nation hadhadd her way they would have been - apples lead to cider which leads to apple jack.) Propose further that an evil doer in Canada shipped apple seeds to America. Now propose that the Americans wanted to extradite the evil doer to face 20 years to life in prison. Do you think it would be a good idea for the Canadian government to help?"
Oddly enough, Emery, who is charged with exporting marijuana seeds to the United States from Canada appears to have broken no Canadian law. One wonders if the Canadian law enforcement branches secretly supported the move by the Americans to do this, considering if the case went to a Canadian Court the results would be much less agreeable to those supporting the failed "War on Drugs".
Pot possession laws in Canada are virtually unenforceablele. I doubt very much that there is a Canadian alive that does not use or know someone that uses pot. The recent efforts to decriminalize popossession though a step in the right direction, actually don't go far enough. Courts in most parts of Canada are not willing to send someone to jail for having a few joints. They are not willing to fine you either.
Not long ago, June 11, Vancouver mayor Larry Campbell attended the annual meeting of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and said among other things in support of legalization of marijuana ...
"Taxes levied on marijuana sales could add to the resources for treatment. Remember, the B.C. marijuana trade is estimated at $6 billion annually — larger than construction or forestry"
"The conclusion is pretty clear: legal, regulated sale of marijuana may actually produce less consumption..." ~ from Lameville blog.
Along with Emery, Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek and Greg Williams, face U.S. charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, distribute seeds and engage in money laundering.
We hope to have more on this and the court bail hearing later today.
Helpful Links in BC ...
The Little Grow Shop
BC Marijuana Party
Marc Emery seed store
Tags: Marijuana, Drugs, Politics, News, Current Affairs, Culture, Weed, POT, Hemp, Canada, USA, Marc Emery, legalize it