|Photo: Cannabis Culture|
|Marc Emery, the Prince of Pot, might not be seeing much more cannabis for awhile if a novel legal maneuver doesn’t work.|
Supporters of B.C. marijuana activist Marc Emery, the Prince of Pot, are trying an unconventional legal maneuver to stop his planned extradition to the United States — keeping him in Canada to face charges there first.
In a little-known quirk of Canadian law, individuals can swear criminal charges against another person or group. In recent years, such private prosecutions have been used by activist groups to take corporations to court.
Patrick Roberts, a resident of West Kootenay, B.C., used the tactic five years ago when he filed conspiracy charges against Emery, in relation to his mail order marijuana seed business.
Emery is currently in custody, awaiting extradition to the U.S. to face “drug trafficking” charges for mailing his cannabis seeds to American customers.
Roberts told CBC News he filed the charges privately to try to keep Emery in Canada and to protect Canadian sovereignty from the the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The case has made its way through the court system in the ensuing five years, but a decision earlier this week by the Canadian government to approve Emery’s extradition has put it back on the front burner.
Lawyer Gary Botting said he plans to argue Friday afternoon that Emery cannot be extradited to the U.S. while the Canadian charges are still outstanding.
“It undermines the sovereignty of Canada and the jurisdiction of the court,” Botting told CBC News.
Roberts said he believes Canada’s sovereignty is an issue if Emery is sent to the U.S. to face trial for something he did on Canadian soil.
“I think it’s people at the far right making arrangements at the level of the federal prosecution service, between us and the United States, to impose American law on Canada,” Roberts said.