Drug War

Prince of Pot to Be Extradited


Despite hopes that Canada's justice minister would block his extradition, Marc "Prince of Pot" Emery expects to be shipped off to the U.S. any day now to serve a five-year prison sentence for selling marijuana seeds to Americans through his online store based in Vancouver. The argument for preventing Emery's extradition was based on the huge disparity between the way his offense is treated in the U.S. and the way it is treated in Canada, where selling cannabis seeds is punished by a modest fine at most. There were also strong indications that Emery, one of many seed salesmen in Canada, had been singled out by American drug warriors because of his outspoken opposition to marijuana prohibition. Then-DEA Administrator Karen Tandy bragged that Emery's arrest was "a significant blow…to the marijuana legalization movement," which would "now have one less pot of money to rely on." Emery is still hoping he will be allowed to serve his sentence in Canada so he will be closer to his family.

More on the Emery case here.

[Thanks to Kent Cowan for the tip.]

NEXT: Obama Drug Policy: No Surprises, Lots of Alarms

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  1. I am accustomed to the US being wrong on so many issues, but Canadians should be ashamed for handing him over for actions committed in Canada. What, does Canada now regard itself as a province of the USA?

    1. Canada, America’s bitch.

      1. Can Canada be deferent to both the US and UK?

        1. You mean can the US and UK run a train on Canada? Why yes, I believe that is possible.

          1. does that explain why Canada just blows and sucks at the same time.

      2. But we’re on top!

    2. Especially if the US can convict him of a crime then make him serve it in a Canadian prison.

      Hey, lets lock-up all Canadians who break any of our laws! They can serve the time in their prisons, which saves us money AND makes our children safer!

  2. Then-DEA Administrator Karen Tandy bragged that Emery’s arrest was “a significant blow…to the marijuana legalization movement,”

    The DEA, being an executive agency, is there to enforce the laws. It is not there to interdict people who advocate changing the laws. Changing the laws is the provenance of Congress, not the DEA.

    1. Exactly what I was thinking. Tandy’s implication is that the WOD has been actively expanded to a War on Democratic Opponents of Current Law.

      WOD is dead. Long live WODOOCL..

      1. “democratic”, of course, only capitalized for the acronym… Oh, nevermind.

      2. That is *exactly* what I was thinking of. Troubling comment, really.

        1. This is only troubling if you are naive enough to not understand our government.

          If you at least have some half-baked 55% correct understanding of government then this is just more confirmation of your theory.

          1. This is only troubling if you are naive enough to not understand our government.

            I think even the most cynical of us can take issue when government employees stop pretending to uphold the Constitution.

            1. I think even the most cynical of us can take issue when government employees stop pretending to uphold the Constitution.

              Yup. I’m not saying my cynicism is fully developed yet, but this.

            2. If they all think the commerce clause justifies a DEA and NEA(as they do)…the constitution is 100% finished with it’s useful days…only the naive think otherwise.

              1. Hasn’t separation of powers held up better than commerce clause limitations?

    2. DEA Administrators and Drug Czars have a sorry history on politicking in support of new ceackdowns or just in keeping the status quo.

      It was either Tandy’s predecessor or a director of the ONDCP that went to Nevada to talk down that state’s legalization initiative.

      On any other issue this would be considered improper behavior on the part of an executive branch official.

    3. That sort of thing is absolutely awful and very common. No government organ outside of the legislature (and the executive (person, not branch) and courts to a lesser extent) should have anything to say about what laws there ought to or ought not to be.

  3. I’d hoped for at least a little bit of spine from America’s Hat.

  4. Fuck.

  5. If Canada hadn’t played ball, I imagine that investigation into the next failed terrorist bombing would have revealed links to al Qaeda in Canada.

  6. Pot posts are so fucking boring.

    1. Your comments, on the other hand, are consistently thrilling.

    2. Good thing this is a thread about drug policy, government interference in political speech and extradition and not a “pot post”, whatever that means.

      1. The big ol’ doobie in the picture says otherwise. It screams “OMFG we have to do another marijuana post or we can’t claim we’re libermatarians anymore and not conservative”.

        1. GAAAAAAAAAHHHHH pot posts make me angry too!! Must. . .shoot. . .corgi!

        2. *barf*

  7. Given her flagrant and admitted misconduct, what sort of punishment do you think Tandy will receive?

    1. Like you don’t know. Slim Charles will go all Cheese on her ass.

  8. America’s Hat has SHELTIE MOM embroidered on it.

  9. The claim that the US has any say over Emery’s behavior here is ludicrous. Say an American weapons seller shipped a rifle to a private Canadian customer — a rifle illegal to possess in the country.

    The man responsible for having broken Canadian law would be the dude who bought the gun. The Canadian government would not demand that we present for imprisonment a man who was running a perfectly legal business in the states.

    If the DEA wants to spend the rest of their days tracking down people who ordered seeds from Emery, they have the right to do that. Of course this was never about pot seeds, as Tandy’s press release made painfully clear right from the start.

    1. The Canadian government would not demand that we present for imprisonment a man who was running a perfectly legal business in the states.

      And if they did, we’d tell them to suck it. After we stopped laughing our asses off of course.

      Grats Canada, you really are a bunch of pussies. (No offense to Felines or Vaginas)

      1. I’m not so sure our Federal law enforcement would refuse to hand an American over. I’ve only the nature of our Federal law enforcement to back that up.

        1. Our Federal law enforcement would almost certainly refuse to hand an American over for shipping a firearm to Canada.

          On the other hand our Federal law enforcement would most certainly prosecute said American right here to the fullest extent of the law for illegal export of a firearm.

          The Canadians would likely be perfectly happy with that as the penalties for most infractions a much more severe in the USA than they are in Canada.

      2. If you knew the gun was illegal, and as a professional arms dealer you should, shipping to Canada would make you guilty too. Maybe I have the facts of the case wrong, but I’m guessing he was shipping seeds to the US, or at least they say he was. That’s were US jurisdiction got involved.

        1. If you knew the gun was illegal, and as a professional arms dealer you should, shipping to Canada would make you guilty too.

          Right, under American law. They wouldn’t haul your ass off to Canada and prosecute you according to Canadian law.

          He did ship seeds to the states; at worst that should be some sort of violation of Canadian export law. The people who broke US law were the people buying the seeds on our soil.

          (It’s worth noting too that the Canadian government collected tax revenue from Emery’s seed business every year, and even directed patients in the government’s MMJ program to Emery’s site. Sounds like government approval to me.)

    2. The Canadian government would not demand that we present for imprisonment a man who was running a perfectly legal business in the states.

      And neither did the United States demand Canada present for imprisonment a man who was running a perfectly legal business in Canada.

      If Mr. Emery’s actions were legal under Canadian law, the extradition treaty would not allow his extradition. Indeed, if Canadian law did not provide that his actions could be punished with a sentence in excess of a year in prison, Mr. Emery could not be extradited.

      Canada, obviously, does not actually enforce its law. But that non-enforcement doesn’t actually make Mr. Emery’s business legal.

  10. Makes me want to go out and buy some seeds.

  11. On the legal issue of whether he should be extradited, I’m not so sold. The only reason not to extradite him is the severity of the sentence might be considered unconscionable to Canadian magistrates.

    The real issue here is selective enforcement. The DEA has expended large amounts of time and money persecuting Marc Emery when there are hundreds of others committing the same crime.

    Why pick on Marc? Because he was an activist using the proceeds of his business to fund what was an effective and expanding “legalize” campaign. Everybody else is just in it for the money.

    1. The same reason they picked on Tommy Chong. People have been selling bongs for years. No one ever went to prison over it. They are conducting a political war against legalization proponents. It is just fucking sickening.

      1. Yeah, between Karen Tandy and Mary Beth Buchanan, they’ve got a nice little war against ideas going.

    2. The only reason not to extradite him is the severity of the sentence

      What about the fact that the man never stepped foot inside the US? Aren’t the American “criminals” in this transaction the people on US soil who bought the seeds?

      1. Both have violated U.S. law. Though it is somewhat uncommon to seek extradition under such circumstances.

        Did the U.S. seek extradition for the internet gambling guys. Or did we just wait for them to set foot on U.S. soil?

  12. When Karen Tandy dies, how long will I have to wait in line to piss on her grave?

    1. Depends if she dies the same week as Mary Beth Buchanan. That might split the crowds a bit.

    2. Is that protected under the First Amendment?

      1. If you cross state lines to do it, claim it’s legal under the Commerce Clause.

  13. I’m still trying to figure out how the US has jurisdiction over a foreign national who never sets foot on US soil.

    Which, by the way, is equally a problem with trying foreign terrorists as criminals.

    If you think that is all just hunky-dory, then I suppose you would have no problem with Germany exercising jurisdiction over Americans who violate its anti-Nazi laws. Or Saudi Arabia exercising jurisdiction over Americans who violate its proscriptions on defaming Islam.

    1. Hmm. You mean RC that you could use international law to punish conduct which is otherwise protected by the Constitution? That is an interesting idea you have. And don’t forget using US courts to enforce big judgments obtained under foreign libel and slander laws to silence undesirables.

      Gee it almost makes me think that people have ulterior motives in appealing to international law as binding precedent in US law.

    2. The US-Canada extradition treaty only allows extradition to the US as long as the action is punishable by more than a year in prison under Canadian law.

      So, mutatis mutandis, since the US doesn’t have an anti-Nazi law or a proscription on defaming Islam, Americans could not be extradited to Germany or Saudi Arabia to face punishment for violating those laws.

      1. What Canadian law was Emery charged with that carries a prison sentence of over a year? Considering that the most draconian sentence for selling seeds in Canada consisted of a couple hundred dollar fines, and that the government accepted and even encouraged Emery’s business, I’m not sure how it’s clear that his violation of Canadian law was sufficient to warrant extradition.

        1. Just because Canadian judges were lenient with Mr. Emery and only gave him a small fine doesn’t change the fact that Canadian law would have allowed them to send him to prison for years for selling pot seeds.

          Mr. Emery’s selling of pot seeds is, under Canadian law, a serious crime. Just because Canadian judges choose not to punish Mr. Emery like a serious criminal doesn’t change the fact that the Canadian Parliament has left the law on the books.

          1. Mr. Emery’s selling of pot seeds is, under Canadian law, a serious crime

            Do we have actual documentation of this? Does anybody know the actual wording of the Canadian law under which Emery was charged?

    3. You must be thinking critically then. I take it you didn’t go to an Ivy league school. If you did, how the hell did you get by the vetting process?

  14. You’re all guilty of something, and when Uncle fed finds out he will tout your arrest as a significant blow against lawless libertarianism.

  15. Kim Jong Il is an ugly, little shit. There, how long before the US extradites me to North Korea for insulting dear leader?

    1. See, the US doesn’t have a law against insulting Dear Leader, so a (hypothetical) extradition treaty with North Korea wouldn’t allow extradition in your case.

      Canada, on the other hand, has a law, passed by the Canadian Parliament and never repealed, that provides that Mr. Emery has committed a crime punishable by more than a year in prison. Therefore, the US-Canada extradition treaty provides that he can be extradited.

      1. What law are we talking about? With what crime was Emery charged?

        1. See, the words “punishable” and “punished” are not synonyms. While selling pot seeds in Canada is punished with “a modest fine at most”, it’s punishable with years in prison.

          1. Right. OK. So what law was Emery charged with that is punishable with years in prison?

      2. The “crime” of selling marijuana seeds in Canada will land you, at most, a $200 fine. In the States, you can face up to life imprisonment. Way out of proportion.

        1. It will land you at most a $200 fine simply because the judges have decided they will not punish it with more. The statute still provides that it can be punished with multi-year prison sentences.

          1. What does the law actually state? No one has ever been punished by more than a fine for selling seeds in Canada.

            1. Exactly, that’s my question too. I’d like to actually see that he was charged with a crime in Canada that carried an official sentence of over a year.

              What was the charge? I’m not playing dumb, it’s just that if this is the central sticking point it would be good to actually figure this out.

              1. Under Canada’s “Controlled Drugs and Substances Act”, 1996, cannabis is a Schedule II drug, with the explicit exceptions of non-viable seeds, and stalks without (among other things) seeds. Thus, viable seeds are included in the definition of cannabis.

                That act provides for a sentence of up to life imprisonment for trafficking in a Schedule II drug, up to life imprisonment for exporting or possessing for purposes of exporting a Schedule II drug, up to seven years in prison for producing cannabis, and up
                to five years for simple possession of a Schedule II drug.

                1. OK cool, thanks.

  16. The US-Canada extradition treaty only allows extradition to the US as long as the action is punishable by more than a year in prison under Canadian law.

    You missed my point, DRM. I wasn’t talking about extradition. I was talking about whether the US has any jurisdiction at all over Marc Emery, and questioning whether there was any principled way of extending US jurisdiction to Emery that doesn’t equally expose Americans to criminal prosecution by any country on Earth.

    1. You are only exposed insofar as you visit the country or the US is willing to extradite you. If you say bad things about Allah and then visit Saudi Arabia, they could probably nab you like we did the guys who ran the internet gambling site. And there would be nothing the US could do about it.

      But that really isn’t much of a threat since the US is very unlikely to ever enter into an extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia. But what if Canada or the UK come knocking the US door wanting someone for violating their hate speech laws?

      1. Editorial from the Ottawa Citizen is pretty typical of how this is being taken by the Canadian media:

        http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/Just another casualty criminal drugs/3015889/story.html

        Even the National Post, the most conservative paper in Canada, has come out strongly against the extradition.

        1. That is Obama’s new “smart diplomacy” for you.

        2. Yet the Canadian Parliament seems to be fine with it. They could have solved the problem quite easily by amending their own laws to actually legalize the sale of (viable) seeds, instead of leaving it punishable by life imprisonment.

      2. ? Marc Emery is a Canadian citizen who never set foot in the USA.

        ? Marc Emery operated his seed business in Canada at all times, with no American branches or employees.

        ? Marc Emery declared his income from marijuana seed sales on his income tax, and paid over $580,000 to the Federal and Provincial governments from 1999 to 2005.

        ? Marc Emery is the leader of the British Columbia Marijuana Party, a registered political party that has regularly participated in elections.

        ? Marc Emery has never been arrested or convicted of manufacturing or distributing marijuana in Canada, as he only sold seeds.

        ? Marc Emery gave away all of the profits from his seed business to drug law reform lobbyists, political parties, global protests and rallies, court litigation, medical marijuana initiatives, drug rehabilitation clinics, and other legitimate legal activities and organizations.

        ? Marc Emery helped found the United States Marijuana Party, state-level political parties, and international political parties in countries such as Israel and New Zealand.

        ? Marc Emery has been known as a book seller and activist in Canada for 30 years, fighting against censorship laws and other social issues long before he became a drug law reform activist.

        ? Marc Emery has been a media figure for 20 years with regards to marijuana and drug law reform. He is very well-known to Canadian, American and international news media organizations.

        ? Marc Emery operated his business in full transparency and honesty since its inception in 1994, even sending his marijuana seed catalogue inside his magazine “Cannabis Culture” to each Member of Parliament in Canada every two months for years.

  17. Under the Liberals, they were going to liberalize the marijuana laws, but were stopped in their tracks by threats from the US government. In my view, they should have plowed ahead regardless, Canada too can inflict its own pain.

  18. To be clear, I think it’s unjust to punish Mr. Emery. But that’s entirely because what he does shouldn’t be a crime in either country, not that there’s any special brand of injustice associated with the extradition itself.

  19. My husband Marc Emery has been an advocate for liberty and freedom since he was 17 years old. His activism and political motivations, above and beyond cannabis, are all documented in the documentary “The Principle of Pot” by lawyer and libertarian Paul McKeever (available on http://www.youtube.com/PaulMcKeever ).

    I encourage people to discover more about Marc’s history of activism, and you will discover the real reason he is considered a threat to the United States and Canadian governments.

    Go to http://www.NoExtradition.net for more information about Marc’s case.

    1. Hi Jodie, I’m sure you know that the lion’s share of us Reason readers strongly support your husband’s advocacy and despise our DEA for turning him into a political prisoner. Marc has been an advocate not only for rational drug policy, but for freedom of speech, privatization of failing government services, and empowerment of the individual.

      I’ll second Jodie’s recommendation for the documentary by Paul McKeever — it makes it plainly clear that Marc Emery is not just some dude who wants to smoke his bong. Both the US and Canadian governments feel threatened by a man who so consistently opposes efforts by the state to control the choices and personal activities of ordinary citizens. Bravo to Marc, and to you Jodie for all your hard work for the cause.

  20. “The argument for preventing Emery’s extradition was based on the huge disparity between the way his offense is treated in the U.S. and the way it is treated in Canada, where selling cannabis seeds is punished by a modest fine at most.”

    This illustrates the need for repeal of dumb laws, and not just their selective enforcement by “good-guy” administrations of the hour. A key principle of extradition is that a jurisdiction won’t respect “offenses” that it doesn’t itself declare as illegal. But if two jurisdictions technically criminalize a particular act, even when one tends to ignore its own law and let scofflaws off with a slap on the wrist, then it is all the harder to avoid honoring any extradition request or treaty with the other jurisdiction, which may deal much more harshly with offenders, as we are seeing now.

    Administrators, judges, and law enforcement can all mitigate the worst possible consequences of dumb laws, but the right thing to do is dump them outright, the sooner the better.

    1. What James said.

  21. Yes, the Canadian government should be fucking embarrassed at their actions. That they could extradite him for a crime punishable by a fine in CA is shameful. I wonder if they have bad breath from all that goo they’re gurgling after their having fellating the US government.

    I have various pictures of the pot rally that was held on the day of his arrest. You can see them at http://www.madlibertarianguy.net


  22. This while terrorists are parking car bombs in Times Square.

    Government employees = pieces of shit.

  23. i love this man

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