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June 5, 2009 -- The Province (CN BC)

Marc Emery Will Serve Time On Pot Charge

Marijuana Activist To Give Up Extradition Fight To U.S. In Exchange For Guilty Plea

By Cheryl Chan

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

Marc Emery, Canada's most well-known pot activist, will serve time in an American prison after giving up on a four-year extradition battle on three drug-related charges.

Emery, nicknamed The Prince of Pot, said he will plead guilty to one charge of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana as part of a plea bargain with the U.S. District Attorney's Office in Washington state.

"My lawyer has been convincing me for the last four years that extradition will be the final outcome," said Emery yesterday at Cannabis Cafe, his bustling West Hastings store.

Emery, 51, said lawyer Ian Donaldson told him he's never seen the Canadian government refuse an American extradition request.

"He said, 'If you fight this and you're extradited, you'll face three charges -- two of which have mandatory minimums of 10 years.'"

An extradition hearing scheduled this week in B.C. Supreme Court was adjourned.

The drug charges stem from a joint U.S-Canadian investigation into Emery's Vancouver-based mail-order business, which was busted in 2005 for selling marijuana seeds to U.S. customers.

Emery was also charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to engage in money laundering, but those charges will be dropped in exchange for the guilty plea, which will be lodged at a Seattle courthouse this summer.

The U.S. is expected to push for a six-to eight-year sentence, said Emery, who plans to ask for a term of zero to five years and a transfer to a Canadian prison -- a move the Americans don't oppose, he said.

Emery's two co-accused, Michelle Rainey and Gregory Williams, pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and are expected to receive a two-year probationary term to be served in Canada.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Emery -- who it considers to be among the world's top 50 drug traffickers -- has sold millions of cannabis seeds to the U.S., which made up 75 per cent of his customer base.

Emery, who has run unsuccessfully in municipal, provincial and federal politics over the years, said he's being made a political scapegoat, pointing out that there are over a dozen seed sellers in B.C. and over 100 in Canada who aren't wanted by U.S. authorities.

"Nobody else has been sought out for extradition or punishment . . . except me because I'm political, mouthy and arrogant about it.

"I'm hoping it makes Canadians upset that Americans can come by and pluck out one of their country's leading activists for political purposes."

Emery said he's resigned himself to the idea of jail.

"I'm prepared to take what comes," he said.

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