VANCOUVER - Pot crusader Marc Emery said Thursday that all Canadians will be complicit if the United States succeeds in having him extradited to face drug charges in that country.
Emery, 47, made the comment after a B.C. Supreme Court judge set Sept. 16 as the date for the start of an extradition hearing that could net him life in prison if he is convicted on marijuana charges in the U.S.
The longtime pot activist is accused of selling marijuana seeds to Americans through the Internet and the mail, conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and conspiracy to engage in money laundering.
Emery's co-accused, Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek and Gregory Keith Smith, were also in court Thursday.
The three were arrested July 29 after Vancouver police raided Emery's pot paraphernalia store following an 18-month investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Emery, who showed up in court with his fiancee and a few supporters, called the DEA "a Nazi-like military organization."
He said he has been selling his marijuana seeds for 11 years, during which time Canadians have benefited from the $4 million he's given away to various organizations.
Jack Layton, leader of the federal NDP, also reaped the rewards of his popularity because Emery's Internet based Pot-TV solicited support for the party from viewers, Emery said.
"Everybody took the money, from the income tax departments representing the province and the federal government," said Emery, leader of the B.C. Marijuana party.
"I've never received a written complaint or a phone call in 11 years and I h ave a listed phone number.
"So if I get taken away for the rest of my life to a United States prison then every Canadian has let it happen because they have tacitly and complicity condoned my behaviour."
He continued to vent against the DEA, calling it a well-armed beast.
"It's in the business of putting the marijuana culture away in prisons for a long time. As the leader of the marijuana people around the world, they have targeted me and when I go to the United States, if I am extradited, you will never see me alive in Canada again."
Emery's supporters have asked Justice Minister Irwin Cotler to step in, but he has said the matter is now before the courts.
"He is selling out an exemplary Canadian citizen to appease [the U.S.] war on drugs," Emery said of Cotler.
Associate chief Justice Patrick Dohm granted a request from lawyer John Conroy to have $15,000 of Rainey-Fenkarek's bail money returned so she could retain her own lawyer.
Conroy had asked Dohm to set a court date in September so Emery could continue a speaking tour across Canada. While selling marijuana seeds is also illegal in Canada, no one has been arrested for years.
Emery, who last year spent three months in a Saskatoon jail for passing a joint at a pot rally in 2004, said he doesn't regret selling pot seeds to Americans and doesn't really fear spending life in prison.
His worst fear is that marijuana won't be legalized in his lifetime.
"That's the only fear," he said, adding that people in the marijuana culture are peaceful and honest.
"We're total victims and to think that it would go on for longer than my lifetime is just a horrifyingly sad thought."
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