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Keep the guns ... we'll keep the weed

 
 
ehBeth
 
Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2005 10:03 pm
an interesting editorial from a paper I've been surprised to find myself agreeing with lately

Quote:
Guns and drugs

On July 29, the US war on drugs came north of the border when the RCMP arrested entrepreneur and political activist Marc Emery at the request of the US Department of Justice. Emery -- leader of the BC Marijuana Party, publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine and owner of a store that sells pot paraphernalia and marijuana seeds from a storefront and over the internet -- now faces extradition to the United States where he could get life in prison if he's convicted on charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana seeds and conspiracy to money launder.

It's worth noting, while our cops are doing the bidding of the American reefer patrol, that what Emery is accused of doing isn't, in any real sense, against the law in Canada. He's been selling pot seeds here for more than a decade without a second glance from our cops, and his lawyer points out that Health Canada has referred patients who require medical marijuana to his website to purchase seeds. Our titular law against selling seeds is a technicality waiting to be struck down, sitting unenforced on the books since 1969.

Yet the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) takes a sterner view of Emery's dealings, calling him a major cross-border "drug lord." Last year, they ran a sting operation, getting Emery to sell them thousands of dollars worth of seeds and (gasp!) soliciting advice about how to turn them into pot plants. This evidence could lock him up for a long time if they can get him into an American courtroom.

And while some authorities in the US have insisted that Emery's persecution is criminal rather than political, the candid comments of DEA Czar Karen Tandy, quoted in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, show that they're aiming higher than just cutting off the supply of seeds.

"Today's arrest of Mark (sic) Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine and the founder of a marijuana legalization group, is a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the US and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement," Tandy says.

"Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery's illicit profits are known to have been channelled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on."

So now it's up to Canadian extradition courts and Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler to determine whether they want to send Emery to the States to be jailed for running his mostly legal and mostly harmless business in Canada. And to decide if, in so doing, they want to join the American drive to shut down the legalization movement as an arm of the ever-more-fruitless war on drugs.

Meanwhile, a very different kind of war is being waged on the streets of Toronto. Seven people have been killed in more than 20 shootings in the last two weeks in what police characterize as a gang war. It kind of takes the shine off Statistics Canada's report last month that Toronto has the lowest crime rate of any large city in the country and that levels of crime in all categories in Toronto have continued to drop consistently for the past decade.

And there's no consolation in the old saw that these are just bad people taking care of each other and thereby making our cops' jobs easier when innocent bystanders are being caught in the crossfire, including a four-year-old boy and, apparently, two murdered clubgoers just a few blocks from the eye office on Monday morning.

What does the one news item have to do with the other? Well, it seems the combatants turning our city into a battleground are getting their weaponry from south of the border. According to Toronto Police, half of all guns used in crimes in Toronto come from the US, and "most" of the 2,470 illegal guns seized in Toronto this year have been smuggled here from the States. This prompted Mayor David Miller to begin pleading with Paul Martin to do something at the border to stem the flow of firearms into the hands of Canadian criminals.

Of course, in the US, buying and selling guns is not only legal but qualifies in some places as a constitutionally endorsed national pastime. Still, if there's one thing the Emery case is showing us, it's that good buddy nations like us and them don't let little things like local laws get in the way of some extradition. So maybe Canadian cops should run a sting operation on gun shops in border states and have the Americans send all those guys up here so we can apply Canadian laws about gun possession and sales to them.

Or maybe, recognizing that neither country has any business reaching across the border to apply its own mores to people obeying the law in their own jurisdictions, we should take a different approach. We could, Americans and Canadians alike, realize that we've got a problem at our border. They get more Canadian drugs than they'd like and we get more American guns than we'd like. (We tend to think our concern is greater, since their exports kill Canadians while our exports just give Americans the munchies, but who are we to say?)

And then both sides could work together to stop the smuggling both ways. No?




Everybody's got border issues.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


In the meantime, pass the cheesies. eye
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2005 10:06 pm
This is reprehensible. I'm so sorry the RCMP caved in to the DEA's demands.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2005 10:08 pm
Life in prison?
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2005 10:09 pm
Given the Arar case, it wasn't very smart of them. More negative publicity.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2005 10:15 pm
quite the guy ... nyt link

Quote:
He also claims to have paid nearly $600,000 in taxes from the proceeds of his seeds, noting openly on his tax returns that he worked as a vendor of marijuana seeds.

Mr. Emery describes himself as "a responsible libertarian, not a hedonist," who extols the virtues of capitalism, low taxes, small government and the right of citizens to bear arms.

He said he grew up a social democrat, influenced by his father, who was active in trade union work. But he said his life changed in 1979 when he began reading the works of Ayn Rand, who championed individual freedom and capitalism.

"The right to be free, the right to own the fruits of your mind and effort now all made sense," he recalled.


how much more American can he be?
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2005 10:17 pm
Capitalism, low taxes, small government, and the right of citizens to bear arms. Sounds okay to me.
0 Replies
 
goodfielder
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2005 04:40 am
Merry Andrew wrote:
This is reprehensible. I'm so sorry the RCMP caved in to the DEA's demands.


The US authorities probably requested an extradition warrant for conspiracy or some such offence that terminates in the US jurisdiction. If so then the RCMP or any other agency had no choice but to execute the warrant.

I still think it's a crock though.
0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2005 05:50 am
I completely agree with the article.

I can't imagine Canada turning him over.
0 Replies
 
pngirouard
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2005 10:46 am
I think this piece is quite to the point:

A sovereignty issue?

Quote:
Most Canadians want their government to reject efforts by U.S. authorities to have marijuana-seed seller Marc Emery extradited for a crime that is not prosecuted in Canada, a new poll found.

The poll conducted by The Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail and CTV found that 58 per cent of Canadians oppose the extradition of Mr. Emery.

The results suggest that Canadians do not view the Emery case as a simple matter of surrendering a criminal to the United States. "It has become almost a sovereignty issue," said Allan Gregg, chairman of The Strategic Counsel.
He noted that another section of the same poll showed that Canadians favour giving the U.S. any information it wants about Canadians suspected of terrorism, but do not want to surrender someone accused of breaking the law by selling illegal substances in the U.S.

In Canada, selling marijuana seeds is technically illegal, but no case has been prosecuted for decades. In the United States, the maximum sentence Mr. Emery faces is life in prison.

Federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler must approve his extradition to the United States.

In fact, marijuana-legalization advocates say that support for the British Columbia defendant has been gathering, because many Canadians view it as a question of asserting Canada's right to choose how laws are enforced within its own borders.

The poll has a sample size of 1,000 and is considered to have a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20050815/POLLMARIJUANA15/TPNational/Canada

The war on drugs in America has never curved down consumption. It has just filled up prisons, diverted funds for those addicted and basically brought no results. One would think we could have learned from the Prohibition era? Apparently not.
0 Replies
 
goodfielder
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2005 07:27 pm
Good point. If he was accused of murder it wouldn't rate a footnote.

I don't understand the attitude of lawmakers and law enforcers in the US when it comes to marijuana.
0 Replies
 
Montana
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2005 07:40 pm
Yeah, I can't believe they make such a big deal about pot!
0 Replies
 
 

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