September 30, 2009 – Just over four years ago, former U.S. DEA administrator Karen Tandy announced to the world that her agency had struck “a significant blow … to the marijuana legalization movement” by indicting Canada’s so-called ‘Prince of Pot,’ Marc Emery.
For nearly two decades Emery operated a successful marijuana seed bank operation in Vancouver, British Columbia — a venture which he used to directly fund cannabis law reform efforts around the globe, including the magazine Cannabis Culture, the internet site Pot TV, and the founding of the British Columbia Marijuana Party.
Emery’s seed business was hardly a secret. For many years, Emery mailed copies of his seed catalogue to Canadian politicians. A Canadian court convicted him in 1998 and sentenced him to a $2,000 fine. Undeterred, Emery continued to sell seeds — and pay federal taxes on his profits — up until his arrest. Canadian authorities were happy to accept his tax money, and officials at Health Canada, which oversees Canada’s legal medical marijuana program, often recommended that patients contact Emery for grow advice. Nevertheless, when the Feds came calling, the Canadian authorities were swift to throw Marc Emery to the wolves.
Even though Emery’s alleged crimes would have warranted, at most, a month in jail in his home country, Canadian authorities yesterday placed Marc into custody so that he can be extradited to the United States. Once here, he faces up to five years in prison for pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana (more than 100 plants) in violation of 21 USC 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B).
But lets not kid ourselves. Marc Emery was hardly a high level target because he sold marijuana seeds to the U.S. — a simple google search will yield dozens of listings of competitors that presently engage in similar activities. No, it wasn’t so much what Marc did (”There isn’t a single victim in my case, no one who can stand up and say, ‘I was hurt by Marc Emery.’ No one,” he told the Vancouver Sun) as it was what he did with his money that aroused the ire of U.S. anti-drug officials.
And we have Karen Tandy’s own words to prove it.
By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director @ September 29, 2009. Source.