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Worldwide protest against War on Drugs

6 September 2005

Press Release: NORML New Zealand Inc,

Smokeout America: Worldwide protest this Saturday against the US and it's War on Drugs

Marijuana law reform activists around the world will protest this Saturday 10th September against the US Government's moves to extradite Canadian Marijuana Party leader Marc Emery, and are seeking an assurance from the New Zealand Government that it would not export our local pot growers to languish in American jails.

"Emery, a Canadian citizen, was arrested in Canada at the behest of the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He is under threat of extradition and could potentially be sentenced to death or life imprisonment if convicted in an American court," said NORML spokesperson Chris Fowlie.

Emery is a high profile advocate for ending the War on Drugs and legalising cannabis. He is the leader of the BC Marijuana Party, and operated a mail order cannabis seed business in Vancouver, using the profits to support marijuana law challenges, medical marijuana patients, rehab programs, political campaigns and anti-drug war educational programs.

He has made several financial contributions to New Zealand's Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and NORML's annual J Day events, and also founded Cannabis Culture magazine - distributed throughout New Zealand - and online television channel www.Pot-TV.net

But American drug warriors will go to great lengths to silence dissent.

DEA administrator Karen Tandy has admitted that the actions against Emery have been taken to stop him funding cannabis legalisation campaigns.

"If the DEA is prepared to thwart legitimate political activities by a Canadian citizen, it could also be prepared to harass New Zealand activists in the same way," said Mr Fowlie.

"NORML is seeking an assurance from Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff that the New Zealand government would not agree to extradite any New Zealand marijuana activists to the United States."

Pressure is also mounting on the Canadian Government to not allow the extradition of Mr Emery, as the potential penalty he faces is out of all proportion to the seriousness of his alleged crimes. "Canada has a long history of sheltering US "refugees" from slavery, prohibition and the draft," said Mr Fowlie.

This Saturday, September 10, there will be worldwide demonstrations at American and Canadian embassies and consulates in support of Marc Emery.

In Auckland the event will take place at 12 noon at the Canadian consulate, 48 Emily Place. It is being co-ordinated by NORML (National Organisation for Reform of Marijuana Laws). Demonstrations will also be held in Christchurch in the Cashell St Mall.

ENDS

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