Source: The Coast Independent (Sunshine Coast, B.C.)
Pubdate: Mon, 15 Mar 1999
Contact:  (604) 886-4993
Mail:  292 Gower Point Road ,Gibsons, BC V0N 1V0
Author: Darah Hansen
Note: Our newshawk and webmaster has set up a website for this WOD victim
with more details, including information on her Legal Defense Fund at:


An American woman living on the Sunshine Coast says she fears she'll become
the next victim in her country's war on drugs if she's forced back south of
the border.

Twenty-nine-year-old Renee Boje, who is currently keeping a low profile on
the Sunshine Coast, is facing deportation to California where she's wanted
on several federal charges related to the cultivation of marijuana. But she
says she's an innocent pawn caught in a political game between the zero
tolerance federal Drug Enforcement Agency and California state where
medical pot use is legal, and she's asking for help to mount an expensive
legal campaign to win her refugee status in Canada.

"I am hoping that Canada will provide me a safe haven, as it did for the
conscientious objectors to the Vietnam War," she said in an interview.

Troubles began for the soft spoken woman in 1997 when she started work for
Todd McCormick, a well-known medical marijuana advocate in California. An
artist by trade, Boje said she was hired to do free-lance artwork for a
magazine McCormick was putting together to promote his cause.

In July of that year she was arrested along with McCormick and seven others
at the house in a DEA raid and charged with conspiracy to cultivate
marijuana, posession, and intent to distribute.

Boje strongly denies all the charges.

In October she says her lawyer told her the matters against her had been
dropped and she went travelling across Canada, ending up in Roberts Creek
last month. There she was again picked up in a pot bust at a house on Leek

"I was at the wrong place at the wrong time again," she said.

Though she wasn't charged criminally in the Roberts Creek case, police did
discover an outstanding warrant against her in California relating to the
1997 charges. She was taken into the custody of Canadian Immigration. She
has since been released on a $5000.00 bond and faces an extradition hearing
April 19.

So far, Boje has received support from friends and sympathizers on the
Sunshine Coast. The case has also been taken up by the B.C. Compassion Club
Society, a non-profit Vancouver group that supports the leglization of
marijuana for medicinal purposes. Club founder Hilary Black called Boje a
"handy pawn" in the U.S. federal government's bid to bust the likes of Todd
McCormick, whom they see as a kind of drug lord.

"It's because they're quite keen on Todd, that's why they want her so
badly," Black said.

The Compassion Club has provided Boje with two lawyers - one to deal with
her criminal matters, a second for immigration. And, they are planning some
fundraising events to cover the legal costs.
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MAP posted-by: Mike Gogulski