Targeted by the DEA for his political activism and his efforts to fund marijuana legalization groups, our good friend Marc finally learned his fate this afternoon in a Seattle courtroom: a five year sentence for selling marijuana seeds, in accord with a plea deal arranged with US prosecutors.
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The sentencing was short; government prosecutor Todd Greenberg and Marc's attorney Richard Troberman made brief remarks before Marc himself was allowed to make a final statement to the court.
Judge Ricardo S. Martinez seemed sympathetic in handing the activist his sentence, but implied that his hands were largely tied by the conditions of the plea agreement. As the judge noted during the proceedings, delivering a shorter sentence would allow government prosecutors to pull out of the deal, leaving Marc vulnerable to a trial and longer punishment. Judge Martinez recommended that Marc be moved to the Federal Correctional Institution in Lompoc California, as per his wishes, and made an informal recommendation to the Justice Department that a Treaty Transfer be approved to send Marc back to Canada to serve his sentence.
A group of about 40 supporters held signs, shouted chants and sounded off to American and Canadian media about what they see as a disgraceful affront to justice and Canadian sovereignty - the imprisonment of a peaceful political activist and dedicated advocate and fundraiser for drug policy reform.
Marc's wife Jodie, a Green Party director-at-large and accomplished cannabis activist in her own right, condemned the treatment of her husband and other victims of the Drug War. Speaking with reporters after the sentencing Jodie said that today's sentencing provoked "a mix of emotions".
"Marc's deal has dragged on since 2005 and it's good to have it over with," she said, "but to face the 5-year sentence ahead...that's quite a long road to look down."