Then came the DEA.
Emery figured something was up when a strange young woman pestered him to buy 10 pounds of pot. He refused. She bought some seeds at his store, asked for tips about how to hide them to go to the States, and left.
Eight days later, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and Vancouver police tromped into his store, ordered the customers out, taped paper over the windows and began hauling out computers and files. Emery, on the other side of Canada to speak near Halifax at the Atlantic Hemp Festival, was grabbed by six plainclothes policemen as he left a restaurant.
Emery is “one of the attorney general’s most wanted international drug trafficking targets,” the DEA in Washington crowed on July 29, 2005, announcing an extradition request for Emery and two employees. Emery’s bust, the DEA said, was “a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade but also to the marijuana legalization movement.”
And he thought trying to change the law was legal, Emery muses.
So did lots of other Canadians, it turned out. Emery’s arrest for extradition on U.S. “drug kingpin” charges, carrying a minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison, outraged many in Canada. They resented the long reach of America’s law and what they saw as the United States’ fevered preoccupation with pot.
“They need to leave our country alone,” complained a letter to the editor in the London (Ontario) Free Press. “If we wanted to prosecute Emery we would, but it is not worth our time and money.”
“Marc’s business was known to police and every level of government,” intoned a columnist in the Vancouver Province. To arrest him now “is petty and dishonest.”
Additionally, Steve Kubby is back in jail — this time for going to Canada to try to stay alive. In both cases, Canada is tested with having the cajones to be a sovereign county. In Kubby’s case, they already failed. With Emery, the verdict is still out — but not hopeful at this moment.
The obvious question is whether domestic U.S. law should dictate the actions of those who live abroad. According to INS, the answer is “yes”. Check out this story from the Philippines:
Many Filipinos consulted with me regarding the same problem: their visa was denied by the US Embassy because they admitted to the doctors at St. Luke’s that they had, years ago, smoked marijuana or used some other drug. At their visa interview, they are shocked to find that their visa is being refused, with the annotation “you have admitted to committing acts which constitute a controlled substance violation – no waiver.”
In one case, a 29-year-old nurse had been recruited for a job in a US hospital. During visa processing, she was asked a very routine question: “Have you smoked marijuana or taken any controlled substance?” The nurse said that she had “tasted” marijuana once during a party when she was 18 years old. It was just a harmless “try”, done out of curiosity. Her visa was denied, and she was banned for life.
Another person was a middle-aged man, said he tried marijuana two or three times when he was a teenager. His visa application was likewise denied. This man, who was petitioned by his US citizen parents, had waited for more than 10 years for his priority date to be current. But now he was being told he would never go to the US.
None of these people had ever been charged with, or convicted of, any drug-related crime. They merely admitted that they tried or tasted marijuana or other drug during their younger days.
While we’re doing what we can on this side, Pax Americana will continue to be the order of the day until enough of you tell our leaders just where to shove it.