Marc Emery, the self-described “Prince of Pot,” says he is willing to stop fighting his extradition to the United States on charges of selling pot seeds to Americans and plead guilty on a drug charge even though it could mean up to eight years in a U.S. jail.
Mr. Emery says his Vancouver lawyer persuaded him that he could not win a fight against extradition that began after his 2005 arrest on charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana seeds and marijuana and conspiracy to engage in money laundering.
Mr. Emery, 51, said his lawyer told him he had never seen the Canadian government refuse a U.S extradition request.
“The [federal] Conservative government under this Prime Minister is not going to start with you,” Mr. Emery said in an interview
yesterday, quoting his lawyer, Ian Donaldson.
“Literally, my lawyer refused to [proceed] because he said there’s no hope to it. He said it would just be a waste of a week or two weeks of court time for a result he cannot anticipate will be a positive one.”
He also noted that his wife, Jodie, preferred any option that would reduce his jail time.
“She would feel more comfortable knowing I was going to be back in two or three or four years than perhaps never, or 10 to 15, 20 years.”
Mr. Emery operates the Cannabis Culture marijuana paraphernalia store and the leader of the B.C. Marijuana Party.
He said there have been talks with U.S assistant district attorney Todd Greenberg, in Seattle, about pleading guilty to a count of marijuana distribution.
The prosecutor would seek five to eight years in prison, while Mr. Emery’s lawyer would seek none to five years.
“We’re hoping to present that to the judge and have him consider a much lesser jail-time sentence than the district attorney is proposing, but ultimately one has to concede the likelihood of jail is definitely there and the likelihood of some substantial amount of jail is there,” Mr. Emery said.
He is expecting to enter a plea next month, and to be sentenced in either late August or early September.
Mr. Emery’s two co-accused have already been convicted on the same charges he faces and are to be sentenced in July. The prosecution and defence have made a joint recommendation of two years probation.
A spokesperson for the United States Attorney’s Office in the Western district of Washington, said she was well aware of Mr. Emery’s case, but declined to comment.
“Mr. Emery can say whatever he wants to say. We don’t discuss [plea] negotiations,” Emily Langlie said from Seattle.
Mr. Emery said he coping with the inevitability of a serious jail term by considering various projects to help pass the time, including work on his memoirs, learning Spanish and French, and rallying his supporters to advocate for his transfer back to a Canadian jail.
“When you’re in jail, let me assure you, you miss everything about the real world. The food is bad in jail. It’s mediocre. The company is iffy at best and the cleanliness factor is not great,” said Mr. Emery, who says he has been jailed in eight provinces for civil disobedience.
“The pillows are very uncomfortable. The lights are always on and glaring. You have no privacy of any kind. You miss everything. The key thing is not to think about it. Even when you are there, don’t think about it. If you think about the things that you miss, life goes very slowly and torturously.”
Mr. Emery has never been jailed in the United States, but spent 62 days in a Saskatoon jail for trafficking after passing a joint at a marijuana rally.
This is Mr. Emery’s second bid at striking a deal. An earlier effort in 2008 fell apart, he said, when Canada refused to abide by U.S. terms.
By IAN BAILEY