Pubdate: Thu, 03 Apr 2008
Source: NOW Magazine (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 NOW Communications Inc.
Author: Matt Mernagh
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)



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

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.
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MAP posted-by: Steve Heath