British Columbia

Legal trick won't halt Emery's extradition

Supporters of B.C. marijuana activist Marc Emery failed in their last-ditch attempt Friday to stop his extradition to the U.S.

Supporters of B.C. marijuana activist Marc Emery failed in their last-ditch attempt Friday to stop his extradition to the U.S. They wanted a British Columbia court to order that he face Canadian charges first.

It is a quirk of the Canadian justice system that individuals can swear criminal charges against another person or group. In recent years, such private prosecutions have been used by activist groups to take corporations to court when government regulators are reluctant to lay charges.

But a bid by West Kootenay, B.C., resident Patrick Roberts to lay charges privately against Emery on Friday was dismissed by a B.C. Court of Appeal judge.

Had the tactic worked, Emery, 52, would have had to remain in Canada — possibly for years — to face the charges before being sent to the U.S.

Sometimes called "The Prince of Pot," Emery has been an outspoken proponent of marijuana legalization for decades. He's run unsuccessfully for mayor of Vancouver three times, and competed for federal and provincial office, all on a pro-cannabis platform.

He is also the publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine and the founder of the internet program, Pot TV.

Emery remains in custody, awaiting extradition to the U.S. to face drug trafficking charges for allegedly sending his marijuana seeds through the mail to customers south of the border.

A decision this week by the federal government to approve Emery's extradition has moved it forward and he is expected to be extradited within two weeks.

In a plea agreement, he faces five years in a U.S. prison, but hopes eventually to serve that time in the Canadian correctional system.