Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ottawa rejected plea deal with U.S., Emery says

VANCOUVER - British Columbia's self-proclaimed "prince of pot" says Canada has rejected a plea bargain with U.S. authorities that would have meant five years in prison. Marc Emery is charged in the United States with selling seeds over the Internet.

He said yesterday he was willing to accept a five-year deal but Ottawa wasn't.

"I was willing to accept the deal that would put me in jail for five years on a 10-year sentence, mostly served in Canada," he said at a news conference in the Vapour Lounge, above the Vancouver headquarters where he sells marijuana paraphernalia.

Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams, his associates and co-accused, are also wanted in the U.S. Reports say they have been offered sentences in the three-to five-month range in exchange for guilty pleas.

"The Americans were receptive and all that was required was for this deal to go down was for the Conservative government to rubber stamp it . and they refused," Mr. Emery said.

Spokespersons for the U.S. and Canadian governments were not available for comment.

The U.S. government has been trying to extradite Mr. Emery on charges that he sold marijuana seeds over the Internet and sent them through the mail.

He says U.S. officials offered him a deal last fall that would involve him pleading guilty on both sides of the border while receiving a 10-year sentence that would have required him to serve five years behind bars.

Mr. Emery said Canadian authorities have known for years about his business. "The government is far from innocent in this situation."

He said he paid more than $500,000 in taxes between 1999 to 2005 "and I put on my income-tax declarations that I was a marijuana seed vendor.

He said he did not keep much of the "millions of dollars" he made selling seeds.

"The whole purpose of raising millions of dollars through the sale of seeds was to provide the cannabis legalization movement with the funding it needed and we contributed to politicians at all levels."

The extradition case against Mr. Emery was put over this month to April 9 at the request of his lawyer and a federal prosecutor representing the U.S. Justice Department.

Mr. Emery has been highly visible to Canadian authorities for years, holding publicized pot "smoke-ins" in a drive to get the drug legalized.

He once conducted a cross-Canada tour during which he smoked cartoon-sized joints in front of city police departments.

Newshawk: CMAP
Rate this article Votes: 0
Pubdate: Sat, 29 Mar 2008
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2008, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Greg Joyce, Canadian Press
Bookmark: (Emery, Marc)

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