Seeds of Conflict


Canadian marijuana activist Marc Emery has been arrested in Halifax based on U.S. charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana seeds, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, and conspiracy to engage in money laundering. Each of the marijuana charges, which stem from his online cannabis seed business (now shut down), carries a penalty of 10 years to life in prison. Emery's extradition will in effect impose U.S. drug policy on Canada, where the penalties for marijuana offenses are much less severe. Because many of his customers were Americans, the business he openly operated in Vancouver for 10 years could now be the basis for a life sentence.

U.S. authorities seem to have been especially irritated by Emery's fame and his vocal opposition to the war on drugs. "I am pleased to announce that he is out of business as of today," a DEA agent said at a press conference in Seattle on Friday. "His overblown arrogance and abuse of the rule of law will no longer be on display. Like other drugs, marijuana harms the innocents." Perhaps he was referring to supporters of the war on drugs who are naive enough to believe that busting a seed merchant will have a noticeable impact on marijuana consumption.

[Thanks to Mike Kerrigan for the link.]

Update: Paul Feine of the Institute for Humane Studies was on his way to Vancouver when Emery was arrested. Police also raided the Vancouver headquarters of the B.C Marijuana Party, which Emery headed. Paul writes that it "seems fair to assume that the DEA chose Emery as the target specifically because he is such an outspoken and influential spokesman for pot legalization. There are lots of other companies selling pot seeds in Vancouver and Amsterdam, for example. In other words, the activists in Vancouver consider him a political prisoner."