Pubdate: Thu, 10 Apr 2008
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun


VANCOUVER - British Columbia's self-styled Prince of Pot, Marc Emery,
and two colleagues will face an extradition hearing in B.C. Supreme
Court starting later this year over American drug-trafficking and
money-laundering charges.

At a hearing to set dates Wednesday before Associate Chief Justice
Patrick Dohm, lawyers said they expect the proceedings will take a
week from Dec. 1 through 5, and another week in February.

The three Canadians were arrested in August 2005 at the request of the
U.S. because of Emery's locally based seed-selling business and
strident pro-marijuana activism.

The extradition hearing had been delayed while plea-bargain talks were
held. But a tentative deal between the 50-year-old Emery and American
prosecutors was denied last month by Ottawa.

As a result, the extradition hearing must proceed.

Emery says the Conservative government refused to go along with a
proposal that would have seen him spend five years behind bars and his
friends, co-accused Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams, go free.

Though he and his associates had not ventured south of the border,
Emery was the target of federal U.S. anti-drug crusaders because of
his decade-long campaign to end the criminal prohibition against
cannabis in North America.

U.S. prosecutors have offered Williams and Rainey jail sentences in
the three-to-five-month range and probation in exchange for guilty

Both are mulling it over.

Rainey, who suffers from Crohn's disease, was Emery's long-time
right-hand man but has since become one of the country's leading
medical marijuana advocates.

Emery has flouted the law for years and run in federal, provincial and
civic elections promoting his pro-cannabis platform.

He has championed legal marijuana at parliamentary hearings, on
national television, at celebrity conferences, in his own magazine,
Cannabis Culture, and on his own Internet channel, Pot TV.

 From 1998 until his arrest, Emery even paid provincial and federal
taxes totalling nearly $600,000 as a "marijuana seed vendor."

The last time he was convicted in Canada of selling cannabis seeds,
back in 1998, he was fined $2,000.

The three will be back in court April 23 for a hearing on altering
bail conditions. 
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