January 8, 2006
'Prince of Pot' claims he's being investigated
By JEREMY HAINSWORTH
VANCOUVER (CP) - A Canadian pot activist wanted for extradition to the United States for allegedly selling marijuana seeds claims he is being investigated by Elections Canada for violations of third-party election advertising.
Marc Emery says elections investigators will visit him on Monday about pamphlets he made supporting NDP candidates in the current federal election and for posters his magazine, Cannabis Culture, made for the 2004 federal election.
"They say I might have to register Cannabis Culture as a third party registrant," Emery said in a posting on his website, www.cannabisculture.ca.
"And they want to know what (we) did in regard to that card we made in 2004!"
Making posters and pamphlets supporting a political party or its candidates can violate federal election laws if it's made by a group that isn't a registered as a third party. The amount such registered individuals or groups can spend on election advertising is also limited by the Elections Act.
Elections Canada can neither confirm nor deny that it is investigating anyone during an election campaign, said spokeswoman Susan Friend.
Emery told The Canadian Press he has just begun distributing pamphlets supporting the NDP's anti-marijuana-prohibition stance.
He doesn't think the investigation is linked to his ongoing extradition case.
"I don't regard it in any petty way," he said in an interview.
Emery said he had to get approval from B.C. Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm to become involved in the federal election.
"I have to be very careful about what I say," he said.
Emery is also the past leader of B.C. Marijuana Party. He ran for election in the 2001 B.C. provincial election.
Emery, Michelle Rainey-Fenkarek and Greg Keith Williams were arrested last July and his Vancouver pot paraphernalia store were raided following an 18-month investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Emery, dubbed the Prince of Pot by American media, is expected to return to B.C. Supreme Court next month to set a date for his extradition hearing.
A judge can only recommend whether someone should be extradited. The final decision rests with the federal justice minister.
More recently, the Crown's decided to stay three conspiracy charges filed against Emery by a private citizen.
Emery's lawyer, Kirk Tousaw, said that clears the way for Emery's possible extradition to the U.S. on drug charges.
The charges were aimed at blocking American efforts to extradite him by having Emery face charges in Canada.
Tousaw said the federal government had an opportunity to re-assert Canadian sovereignty over the issue, but refused to do so.
David McCann filed the charges last September, saying it would be hypocritical of Canada to participate in U.S. officials' efforts to prosecute Emery for activities condoned here for years.
Tousaw said the extradition wouldn't have gone ahead if Emery, Rainey-Fenkarek and Williams were prosecuted in Canada.