Urge President Obama to Free Marc Emery sign now

We, the undersigned petitioners, urge that President Barack Obama of the United States issue a pardon for Marc Emery, of Vancouver, Canada, whom the Bush administration sought to prosecute because of his political activism.

Mr. Emery is undergoing extradition to the US from his native Canada, having been charged with selling seeds for growing cannabis over the internet to people ordering from his website in Canada. Mr. Emery is expected to be sentenced to a prison term of five years as part of a plea arrangement. By the time this petition is read, Mr. Emery may already be serving a sentence in a US Federal prison.

Mr. Emery freely admits to the charges against him, and it is a matter of public record that Mr. Emery has donated essentially all profits from this business to the political cause of furthering reform of marijuana laws in Canada, in the United States, and across the world.

The evidence is overwhelming that Mr. Emery's extradition to the US, which was begun under your predecessor George W. Bush, was motivated purely by political purposes. This petition is not about marijuana, not is it about drug policy in general. Many signatories to this petition may support maintaining marijuana's illegal status, while many may oppose this, and many may have no strong opinion about this issue at all. However, the signatories are united in the conviction that governments should not use law enforcement apparatuses as a mechanism for suppressing political speech that they dislike.

The Drug Enforcement Agency issued a written statement on the day of Mr. Emery's arrest in Canada, that his arrest would deal a blow to the marijuana legalization movement. This is due to the fact that Mr. Emery channeled profits from his business to the cause of reforming marijuana laws. This is a direct admission of an improper basis for the prosecution of Mr. Emery. While individuals in the United States DEA may dislike Mr. Emery's political ideas, it is nonetheless legal to promote ideas regarding changing laws, and inappropriate for a prosecution to be motivated by disdain for the political ideas supported by the target of prosecution.

Numerous other pieces of evidence demonstrate that Mr. Emery's prosecution was politically motivated. Vancouver launched its investigation of Mr. Emery's business at the behest of the United States within days of Mr. Emery heckling the former US Drug Czar John Walters during Mr. Walter's visit to Vancouver to discuss drug policy.

There are many suppliers of marijuana seeds operating in Canada which have sold far more seeds and made far more money than Mr. Emery, but which have never been targeted for prosecution, either by the Canadian, or the American authorities. In Canada, no individual has ever gone to prison for selling cannabis seeds, and there have been only a handful of prosecutions for such an offense in Canada, ever, and these have resulted in sentences of only minor fines.

There was no evidence that authorities in Canada would have ever taken an interest in Mr. Emery's seed selling operations without the intervention of the United States. Mr. Emery operated his seed-selling business quite openly for many years, even sending copies of his seed catalog to every member of the Canadian parliament. Mr. Emery freely admitted the nature of his business on his tax returns and paid all applicable taxes to the Canadian government in full. Mr. Emery was a frequent contributor to political campaigns in Canada, such as those of the Canadian New Democratic Party, which currently holds 37 seats in the current 40th Canadian parliament, having obtained over 18\% of the popular vote in the most recent Canadian elections. Jack Layton, the head of this party, expressed his appreciation for Mr. Emery's support by visiting Mr. Emery's home to record an interview during which he voiced support for Mr. Emery's ideas regarding cannabis law reform.

Health Canada, the Canadian Federal Health department, even endorsed Mr. Emery's operations by referring legal Canadian medical marijuana patients to Mr. Emery, when such patients sought advice regarding where to obtain seeds with which to grow legal medical cannabis in Canada.

The evidence is overwhelming that Mr. Emery is undergoing criminal prosecution on political grounds, due to his flagrant (and entirely legal) political activity which offended the Bush administration of the United States.

Mr. Obama, we urge you to please help restore the United States' reputation as a defender of political freedom and individual liberties throughout the world, and end the persecution of this political activist and thought criminal, by issuing a pardon for Mr. Emery, or through other similar appropriate executive means.

This petition was spontaneously begun by persons unconnected with Mr. Emery, and represents a grassroots movement of persons concerned about the use of law enforcement apparatuses as a mechanism to suppress political ideas.

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Roxanne ParksBy:
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US President Barack Obama

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