Pubdate: Wed, 03 Nov 1999
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: The Vancouver Sun 1999
Contact:  200 Granville Street, Ste.#1, Vancouver BC V6C 3N3
Fax: (604) 605-2323
Author: Dene Moore
Cited: Renee Boje
MAP's: Articles On Renee Boje


The extradition hearing of an American woman seeking refugee status to
avoid drug charges in the United States has been adjourned until next
month. Renee Boje will return to court Dec. 15.

Boje's lawyer, John Conroy, argued the U.S. authorities did not have enough
of a case to seek extradition. Conroy wanted to say more in court, but
Justice Michael Catliff ruled Wednesday his arguments were either
inadmissable or irrelevant to the extradition case. Crown counsel Chris
Greenwood will call an expert witness and final submissions will be made in

Boje, 30, faces charges of conspiracy to manufacture and possess marijuana
for the purposes of distribution.

She was arrested in 1997 outside the Bel Air mansion of Todd McCormick,
where police said she and another woman were seen watering and moving some
of the 4,000 pot plants being cultivated there.

The charges against Boje were initially dropped but she came to Canada on
the advice of her American lawyer, who expected them to be reinstated.

They were and Boje faces a minimum 10-year sentence in the U.S.

Boje has not admitted handling the plants.

Her supporters say even if she did, McCormick was entitled to grow
marijuana under a California law allowing pot possession and cultivation
for medical use.

McCormick, who has cancer, had two doctors' prescriptions for medical

His trial is slated to begin Nov. 16.

The U.S. government does not recognize the state law and continues to
pursue people growing pot for medical purposes, according to Conroy.

He has argued that Boje is caught up in a political issue.

Boje has claimed refugee status in Canada, saying she is a pawn in the U.S.
government's war on drugs.

Conroy said outside court that should the case against McCormick be
dismissed or dealt with quickly, the extradition may not continue.

"I would like to think they would be reasonable," he said.

There are also several levels of appeal left, Conroy said.

"Maybe the minister can make a good decision," Boje said, referring to a
ministerial review she is entitled to under Canadian extradition law.

Boje was arrested in Canada last February when RCMP busted a
medical-marijuana grow operation in a house where she was staying in
Sechelt, B.C.

When the arrest came to the attention of U.S. authorities, they filed for
her extradition.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake