Last week two employees of Marc Emery's Vancouver-based cannabis seed business finalized a deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle that allows them to avoid prison. Michelle Rainey and Gregory Williams, who were indicted four yours ago, will each serve two years of probation in Canada. Their former boss, a libertarian political activist and drug reform financier known as Canada's Prince of Pot, has been fighting extradition to the United States but is now expected to plead guilty. He says prosecutors have agreed to recommend a prison sentence of five years, compared to the 20 years or more he could have gotten. Because many of his customers were Americans, Emery was charged with conspiracy to cultivate marijuana in the U.S.; in Canada, by contrast, his seed business operated openly for more than a decade along with hundreds of similar operations, attracting little interest from the government, which happily accepted the tax revenue it generated.
The Seattle Times notes that Emery and his supporters "accused the Justice Department of indicting him and his employees for political reasons," an allegation that "federal prosecutors have vehemently denied." Last week a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office insisted that "we went after [Emery] for his criminal activities, not for his political views." Yet when Emery was arrested in 2005, Karen Tandy, then head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, crowed that the U.S. government had dealt "a significant blow" against "the marijuana legalization movement," bragging that "drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on."
Previous Reason coverage of the Emery case here.
[Thanks to Michelle Rainey for the tip.]