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B.C.'s "Prince of Pot" to be extradited to the U.S.
Posted by Cathy McLain
from Jeremy Hainsworth of The Associated Press
The lawyer for Canada's so-called Prince of Pot said Monday that his client has been ordered extradited to the United States.
Marc Emery has sold millions of marijuana seeds around the world by mail over the past decade, drawing the attention of U.S. drug officials, who want him extradited to Seattle.
Emery's lawyer, Kirk Tousaw, said Canada's Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson signed off on his extradition shortly after the marijuana advocate turned himself in on Monday to authorities.
The justice minister's spokeswoman, Carole Saindon, would not comment on the order or the timing of his surrender, saying only that Emery has the option of a court appeal of the order.
The department said Emery's extradition was sought on charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to engage in money laundering.
Emery reached a plea deal with U.S. prosecutors last year, agreeing to plead guilty to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana in return for a sentence of five years in prison.
The charges are in connection with his Vancouver, British Columbia-based seed-selling business.
Emery's wife, Jodie Emery, said she was appalled that the Canadian justice minister would order the extradition.
"It's the worst option. We didn't even entertain it as an option," she said. "I'm just stunned."
She accused Nicholson of wanting "to silence the most vocal opponent of the drug war."
Marc Emery has long maintained that the prosecution was politically motivated in the U.S. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has repeatedly denied that.
Emery has been out on bail since Nov. 17, when he was released from custody as the minister made the final decision in his case.
Keith Stroup, founder of the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws, said Emery has been open about his activities in Canada for years.
"The Canadian authorities have not seen fit to treat him as a criminal," Stroup said. "Why in the world they would want to send him to the United States, I don't understand."
Stroup said putting Emery in jail will galvanize the marijuana movement and turn him into "more of a hero and an icon."
Jodie Emery said supporters will begin lobbying to have Emery serve his time in a Canadian prison as others have been allowed to do.
It is not clear when Emery will be sent to the U.S. Tousaw said he expects it will happen within the week.