Emery has often sent her money so she could afford to buy marijuana to ease the pain brought on by by 28 years of living with multiple sclerosis.
- Shame on Canada, pot protestors say
Trio of Canadians violate U.S. law by selling seeds
Surprise arrests authorized by B.C. Supreme Court
Canada should be ashamed for arresting a prominent Canadian marijuana
rights activist on charges of violating American drug laws, marijuana
advocates said here yesterday after demonstrating against the arrest.
B.C. Marijuana Party leader Marc Emery, who sells marijuana seeds over
the Internet, was arrested by RCMP in Nova Scotia Friday on a warrant
issued by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Although selling marijuana seeds is legal in Canada, it's a violation of
"Ottawa should be ashamed ... for selling off Canadians to keep good
relations with Uncle Sam," Jessica Aulthouse said yesterday outside the
U.S. Consulate General on University Ave., where 30 people gathered to
protest the arrest of Emery and two of his colleagues.
"I want the Canadian government to make decisions based on what people
here want and not what foreign heads want," said Aulthouse, who
travelled to Toronto from Niagara Region.
The surprise arrests were authorized by the B.C. Supreme Court under the
Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act.
The three now face extradition and, if convicted, punitive sentences
ranging from 10 years to life in prison.
Emery, 47, Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek, 34, financial agent for the party
and Greg Williams, 50, an employee of Pot-TV, all face U.S. charges of
conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, distribute seeds and engage in
The arrests came after the trio was indicted by a U.S. federal grand
jury in May following an 18-month investigation by American police into
the sale of marijuana seeds on the Internet and by mail.
At a similar pro-Emery rally in Vancouver Saturday, some 200, including
visiting Americans, protested the arrests.
Canadian officials have a long history of trying to dethrone Emery,
who's been dubbed the Canadian Prince of Pot because he's among the
world's biggest dealers in marijuana seeds. While he's been convicted of
various drug-related charges since 1994, when he opened a store in
Vancouver that now sells marijuana paraphernalia, he's only ever been
sentenced once. Last year, he was slapped with three months in jail for
passing a joint at a pot rally in Saskatoon.
Emery has long insisted on selling seeds because they don't contain
enough THC, the mood-altering ingredient in marijuana, to qualify as a
banned substance. But since he stopped selling them over the counter and
started selling them in cyberspace, Canadian authorities have for the
most part left him alone.
Currently, his seed-selling business is booming, Rod Benson, the special
agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, told
reporters in Seattle on Friday. It sells about $3 million worth of seeds
each year, mostly to the U.S.
`I see this as part and parcel of a very great push by the U.S ... to
invade us with their will'
Connie Fogal, Canadian Action Party
Unlike here, authorities south of the border believe that selling
marijuana seeds is the same as selling marijuana.
Rainey-Fenkarek and Williams were arrested in Vancouver. As city police
were raiding his pot paraphernalia store, Emery was arrested in
Lawrencetown, N.S., where he'd been scheduled to speak at a music
festival that raises money for the group Maritimers Unite for Medical
Rainey-Fenkarek was released on $25,000 bail Friday, but both Williams
and Emery spent the weekend in custody. Both men are to appear in a
Vancouver court today for a bail hearing.
Calls to Justice Minister Irwin Cotler's office yesterday were not
returned. However, many have called the arrests a flagrant display of
"The ability (for Americans) to come into our country and ask for our
help to take (Emery) away so they can punish him for their kinds of laws
is immoral, " said Connie Fogal, leader of the Canadian Action Party,
which promotes Canadian nationalism.
"It's not just their approach to marijuana. I see this as part and
parcel of a very great push by the U.S., not to just exercise its clout,
but to invade us with their will. They don't have to use guns, tanks and
missiles, because they've got political wimps here who bow down to
them," said Fogal, who's also a lawyer in Vancouver.
Her comments were loudly echoed yesterday by protestors outside the U.S.
consulate on University Ave.
"Today's a big day, not just for the marijuana movement but for all
Canadians," said Alison Myrden, sitting in a wheelchair and holding a
sign that read, "Marc Emery Saved my Life," as she took drags from a
"Marc is a legitimate businessman, he's always been above board," said
She added that Emery has often sent her money so she could afford to buy
marijuana to ease the pain brought on by by 28 years of living with
Protest organizer Matt Mernagh, a medicinal user of marijuana, called
Emery's arrest a "gross insult to Canadian sovereignty."
But "it's an excellent opportunity to get rid of someone who's a pain in
their ass — they can't get him in Canada so they'll send him to the
U.S.," Mernagh said.
"The government has washed their hands of this."
with files from Canadian Press