|Marc Emery, the Prince of Pot, is now in custody in the United States.|
After a years-long battle to avoid extradition, marijuana activist and entrepreneur Marc Emery of Vancouver, B.C., the self-proclaimed “Prince of Pot,” is going to the United States. It’s not a trip that Emery wanted to take.
Emery, 52, was driven from a Vancouver jail to the Washington State border and was handed over to U.S. authorities, according to his wife, Jodie, reports The Canadian Press.
Jodie said her husband will be held in a detention center south of Seattle until appearing before a judge to plead guilty of selling millions of marijuana seeds to American customers, and begin his plea-bargained sentence of five years in a U.S. federal prison.
“My husband committed a crime punishable by only a $200 fine in Canda, yet this Conservative government is sending him to serve up to 25 years in U.S. jail,” Jodie Emery said Thursday morning.
His attorney, Richard Troberman, said Emery will plead guilty to one county of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana in exchange for the agreed-upon five-year sentence.
Emery appeared in U.S. District Court and agreed to remain in custody pending his 2 p.m. plea hearing on Monday, May 24.
A handful of protesters gathered outside the Seattle courthouse and remarked upon the irony of seeing Emery prosecuted in a city with a permissive attitude about marijuana.
“Seattle dos not necessarily support this action,” said Vivian McPeak, director of the city’s annual HempFest, probably the largest marijuana rally in the world. “They’re bringing this to our home town. It’s shameful.”
McPeak called Emery “a political prisoner of the United States’ drug war.”
Canada’s justice minister signed off on Emery’s extradition to the United States on May 10, reports Gene Johnson of The Associated Press.
Emery says he made $3 million a year before his arrest in 2005, when a grand jury in Seattle indicted him on marijuana conspiracy and money-laundering charges. He operated his mail-order seed business for about 10 years.
Shortly before the extradition, Jodie Emery accused Canadian authorities of aiding the American government in an attempt to “silence the most vocal opponent of the drug war,” reports Levin Pulkkinen of the Seattle P.I.
When he announced the charges against Emery five years ago, then-Drug Enforcement Administration head Karen Tandy almost admitted exactly that.
Tandy at the time called the move against Emery “a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement.”
“Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery’s illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canda,” Tandy said in 2005. “Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.”
“If that’s not a political motivation, I don’t know what is,” McPeak said. “It’s an embarrassment to our home town.”
McPeak said Emery’s arrest has done nothing to stop the mail order marijuana seed industry. Anyone seeking cannabis seeds can still get them from a number of merchants online.
Supporters are now organizing a 2 p.m. Saturday, May 22, rally at the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in the 1000 block of 2nd Avenue in Seattle.
Emery is well known for thumbing his nose at authorities. When a policeman investigating him in the 1990s remarked at a news conference that Emery’s seeds grew well, the activist used the statement as a product endorsement.
Emery’s Canadian lawyer, Kirk Tousaw, said he planned to ask U.S. authorities to let his client serve the sentence in a Canadian jail under treaty agreements.
“It’s a dark day for Canada,” Tousaw said. “Now the fight begins to bring him home.”