The Coastal Post - November 1999

Canada & American Marijuana McCarthyism

Submitted By Paul Wolf

Renee Boje, a 29-year-old American woman seeking sanctuary in Canada as a political refugee, asks Canada not to be intimidated by the heavy-handed and misguided efforts of the United States to blacklist Canada.

"My Federal criminal charges in California are an example of the draconian measures employed by the United States criminal justice system in regard to existing drug laws." she said.

Renee was arrested at a medical marijuana garden in Bel Air, California, that conducted research and was to provide cannabis to the many thousands of severely ill people with doctor's prescriptions under the voter-passed Proposition 215 medical marijuana legislation.

"Despite our presumed legal protection from prosecution, myself and eight others were arrested and charged as co-conspirators with crimes that could net us life in prison." she added.

Two of those charged, Todd McCormick, who suffers from bone cancer and has two prescriptions for medical marijuana, and Peter McWilliams, severely ill with both cancer and AIDS, have both written books about the results of their research.

"I'm asking Canada to show courage in the face of America's menacing and relentless attacks against those seeking to legalize medical marijuana." Canada is moving to a rational approach on the issue of marijuana. The United States is clinging to unfounded fears from the past that have been proven time and time again to be misguided and damaging to many people."

Amnesty International claims in a recent report that Renee would have an 85% chance of being sexually and physically abused in an American prison. This point was illustrated when, while being detained in Los Angeles, she was strip searched 15 times in 72 hours while receiving lewd and threatening remarks from the male guards.

"Canada's Health Minister, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and police chiefs across the country know from first-hand experience that marijuana is a harmless herb, unlike dangerous and addictive drugs like heroin and crack cocaine."

Health Canada recently initiated a program of clinical testing of the medicinal qualities of marijuana. The U.S. Institute of Medicine recently issued a report demonstrating the medical efficacy of marijuana. Both Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine, two of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, have editorialized in favor of medical marijuana, and called for changes in U.S. policy. The opponents of medical marijuana are lawmakers in Washington, and various enforcement agencies, who sense a threat to their $18 billion a year drug war bureaucracy.

"My case comes at a critical time for the United States. I think they're afraid I have enough evidence to justify my being granted refugee status. I will prove in court the brutality of the war on drugs, and of the U.S. prison system, especially with regard to women. To threaten political activists, who put their lives on the line to defend the sick and dying, with life imprisonment, is unbelievably cruel. Canada should not participate in it."

From a safe house in British Columbia, Renee fights for her life and the right of millions of people now and in the future to have safe access to this remarkable healing herb.

Please see the following web sites for further information and background:
http://www.thecompassionclub.org/renee
http://www.hightimes.com/ht/new/9908/rbfreevid.html
http://www.fairlaw.org/renee/EMERGENCY.htm

For further information contact: Maury Mason, The Renee Boje Legal Defense Fund, (604) 886-3153
E-mail: [email protected]

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