Thursday, September 08, 2005

Protest letter to the Canadian Ambassador in London: stop the cannabis extraditions

To the Canadian Ambassador, London.

Dear Sir,

We are writing to you regarding the attempt by the United States government to extradite three Canadian citizens, Marc Emery, Greg Williams, and Michelle Rainey, to the United States to face charges related to the sale of cannabis seeds by mail order.

If these extraditions go ahead the victims will face very serious penalties in the United States for what is a relatively minor infringement of the law in their own country. Amnesty International says many U.S. prisons are “inhuman”.

We believe this is an abuse of extradition treaties which are in place to bring serious criminals to justice for serious crimes. Extradition treaties should not be used by any country to push their domestic social policies or the laws that inforce them, on citizens of another nation.

In this case the American government is attempting to use extradition treaties to extend its very harsh and prohibitionist laws regarding the use and sale of cannabis in the United States to people living in Canada a nation that is developing a different, more human approach.

This is a direct attack on the independence and sovereignty of Canada, and a recent poll shows that 58% of the Canadian people are against these extraditions.

The people of Canada, and their government have largely rejected the theory that prohibition and harsh penalties is the way to deal with the use of cannabis, a recreational drug that is not addictive and has far less harmful effects than alcohol (with is addictive).

Canada has led the world in ending the unjustifiable ban on the medical use of cannabis.

However the United States government rejects science and continues to argue that cannabis has no nutritional or medical value. Many people believe the treatment of medical cannabis users in the United States amounts to a crime against humanity.

It is sad to see that the United States stands out in its failure to learn from the disastrous failure of cannabis prohibition as an effective social policy. Currently they have 600,000 people in prison for cannabis and prosecute about 700,000 people a year. It has been estimated that cannabis prohibition costs United States tax payers more that $10 Billion a year to enforce.

The United States has failed to accept that cannabis prohibition does not protect peoples health or safety in any way, and instead puts people, especially their young people in far more danger.

As citizens of Britain, a nation that has very close cultural and political ties to the United States, we are deeply concerned about this and especially at U.S. attempts to export their failed and ‘fundamentalist’ drug policies worldwide. We have friends and relatives in the United States and we know what is going on.

We believe that it is the policy of cannabis prohibition that creates a dangerous ‘gateway’ to the use of hard drugs, not the use of cannabis as the U.S. government continues to argue. Cannabis prohibition exposes people, most worryingly young people, to an unregulated and illegal market which often includes hard drugs. This market is dominated by criminals, when it should be run by buisness people operating under the law.

We therefore hope very much that your government will reject these unjustifiable extradition proceedings, and encourages the United States to seriously review its failed prohibitionist policies regarding the sale and use of cannabis, for the health of the American people and people everywhere.

Cannabis Education & Research Trust, London


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