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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.

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  • BILLSfan
    Shame on Canada, pot protestors say Trio of Canadians violate U.S. law by selling seeds Surprise arrests authorized by B.C. Supreme Court
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2005
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      Shame on Canada, pot protestors say
      Trio of Canadians violate U.S. law by selling seeds
      Surprise arrests authorized by B.C. Supreme Court
      http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1122933010515&call_page=TS_News&call_pageid=968332188492&call_pagepath=News/News&pubid=968163964505&StarSource=email
      ISABEL TEOTONIO
      STAFF REPORTER

      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
      U.S. law.

      "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
      money laundering.

      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
      Marijuana.

      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
      American bullying.

      "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
      marijuana joint.

      "Marc is a legitimate businessman, he's always been above board," said
      Myrden.

      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
      multiple sclerosis.

      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
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