FEBRUARY 26, 1999
U.S. WOMAN OF CONSCIENCE
SEEKS REFUGEE STATUS IN CANADA
U.S. citizen Renee Danielle Boje, 29, has made a rare application in Vancouver for refugee status, stating she fears for her life, or at least cruel and unusual punishment, if she is extradited to the United States to face charges that would be considered minor offenses in Canada.
In July of 1997, Boje was working as a freelance artist at the Bel Air, California home of cancer patient and medicinal marijuana advocate Todd McCormick. She was arrested by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency with a very small amount of marijuana following a roadside search, and was charged with conspiracy to cultivate, possession of, and intent to distribute marijuana. One hour later, McCormick's home was raided by the D.E.A. and McCormick and 7 other individuals were arrested and charged as well.
Boje strongly denies these allegations. The marijuana in her possession was grown under license and was legal under Proposition 215 of California State Law. To her knowledge, the charges were dropped in October 1997.
While in Canada as a tourist, Boje was arrested at the site of a medicinal marijuana garden in Gibsons on February 15. While in custody, a routine RCMP check revealed that the U.S. charges had been reinstated without her knowledge. Boje was brought over to Immigration with an order to be removed from Canada. Upon arriving, Boje made a refugee claim, stating that she feared for her life if she was sent back to the United States. Boje was not charged with anything in connection with the medicianl marijuana garden in Canada and was released on $5000.00 bail, which was paid with the money set aside for her lawyer's retainer fee.
The following day, just minutes before her Refugee Inquiry hearing in Vancouver, she was arrested outside the courtroom by RCMP Special Agents and rushed to the Supreme Court in Vancouver with an order for fast track extradition back to the United States. The matter was pushed over to April 19, 1999 and Renee was released on $5000.00 sureity.
Boje is an attractive woman who was strip-searched an astounding 15 times when she was in custody for 72 hours at the Federal Corrections Facility for Women in downtown Los Angeles. Two of the searches were done in the presence of male officers who made lewd and threatening remarks.
Boje's real fear is the extreme severity of current U.S. federal penalties for marijuana offenses. If convicted, of just one of the charges, she could spend a minimum of 10 years in a Federal Penitentiary. In Canada, punishment for a similar offense would result in a fine and/or a minimal jail term.
Boje has been traveling since May 1998, spending much of that time in Canada. In September of 1998 she spent a few weeks in New York, returning to Canada on October 2, 1998. She has been visiting in the Gibsons, B.C. area since. According to court information provided to Boje, the U.S. charges had been reinstated in June of 1998, three months before her visit to New York.
Boje's refugee status hearing is set for April 19, 1999 in Vancouver. A legal defense fund is being established, and there is a growing community of Canadians committed to keeping Boje in Canada until the charges against her in the U.S. have been dropped, or until the marijuana laws in the U.S. reflect the reality of the times and the medicinal benefits of this healing herb.
"Canada should be a safe haven for people of conscience in the medicinal marijuana issue, much like it provided sanctuary for opponents of the Vietnam War," said Boje.
For further information contact: Renee Boje at email@example.com
If you would like to speak with Renee, please include your phone # when writing to the above address.
Or, write to;The Renee Danielle Boje Defense Fund
P.O. Box 35
Gibsons, British Columbia
Canada V0N 1V0
From: "renee boje" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 22:36:16 PDT
If I am successful, Canada becomes Swiss in the War on Drugs.
Right up front I will tell you that this letter is a plea for help. I wish I did not have to rely on the compassion of others but if you read on you will know why I must.
I am a 29 year old woman who is facing 20 years to life in a U.S. Federal prison, to me it is a death sentence. I have never harmed any one, or knowingly any thing in my life. If I am guilty it is of being too trusting and under estimating the power and determination of some very dark forces in my government.
My trouble started from my desire to help people. I was working under the protection of Proposition 215 which states that patients with a prescription of a doctors recommendation, may cultivate or use marijuana medicinally. The world is finally remembering how beneficial this herb was. We were at a location that was doing research under license from the State of California. The findings have recently been published in a book on the medicinal effects and proper dosage of a variety of strains of marijuana.
Three months later I was told the charges against me were dropped. I decided to come and experience the calm and safety of Canada for a while and take a break from the intensity of the US.
While visiting Canada and without my knowledge, the charges were reinstated and I was listed on a fugitive warrant. Recently a routine Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) check revealed my charges in the US were reinstated. I was immediately arrested and brought to jail where steps toward my extradition to the US were initiated. All my money and that of my friends was used to bail me out and there was $2,500 left over for my extradition lawyer. While outside the courtroom awaiting my hearing, two RCMP Special Agents arrested me and began fast track extradition proceedings. The $2,500 for my lawyer was spent on bail. I was told that the US government has spent over $250,000 to get me back. There is the fear of bounty hunters seeking the reward for my return to the US. They have been known to capture a person, put them in the back of a van and drive across the border.
My extradition hearing is coming up on June 10th at the Supreme Court in Vancouver. As it currently stands I will be facing the full force of the largest most powerful Government in the world - alone.
If I lose, not only will I be deprived of my freedom, but according to Amnesty International I can expect to be sexually and physically abused. While being detained in Los Angeles after my arrest, I was strip searched 15 times in 72 hours, some of which were in front of male guards who made threatening and degrading remarks. It is because of this that I am seeking protection through Canada's Refugee Board, if successful it will be the first time Canada has ever protected an American citizen from their own government.
Besides true justice, what I need the most is money for lawyers. Both my parents phones are monitored and they have been told that if they help me in any way, they will be charged with aiding and abetting a fugitive and face 10 years in prison.
I need time to wait out the inevitable changes in public awareness and US law as it pertains to marijuana. A recently announced White House study revealed that marijuana is not addictive, is not a gateway to cocaine or heroin and has powerful medicinal properties. This is just one of the sign posts that reveal that change is just down the road.
If you cannot or if you do not agree with my request, I would like to know why, so that I can change my approach. If you can help, good, let me know how.
Money + Lawyers + Expert Witnesses + Public Awareness + Political Pressure = Freedom
If you can contribute financially, please mail check or money order to the
Renee Boje Defense Fund,
P.O. Box 35
Gibsons, British Columbia
Canada V0N 1V0
If you cannot help with money, perhaps you can spend a bit of time and spread the word about me, either through e-mail, letters to politicians and media or word of mouth. Only the Canadian media and High Times magazine have covered my story. The American media does not seem to care or is nervous about bringing the story of me and others like me forward to the public.
Thank you so much for reading this letter and considering my situation.
Love and Peace
From: "renee boje" <email@example.com>
Subject: News Release
Date: Thu, 10 Jun 1999 00:15:48 PDT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 9, 1999
JUNE 10TH EXTRADITION HEARING FOR
MEDICAL MARIJUANA ADVOCATE
CROWN ATTORNEY PUSHING FOR EARLY TRIAL
Renee Boje, the 29 year old medical marijuana advocate facing 10 years to life in US Federal Penitentiary for growing marijuana for sick people, has a 10AM appointment in the Supreme Court in Vancouver. A date will be set for the trial that will determine if she will be sent back to the US to face up to life in prison or be allowed to stay in Canada.
Renee's lawyer, John Conroy and the Crown Attorney will be battling it out in BC Supreme Court Thursday. At issue is the timing of the extradition trial. Conroy needs at least five months to clear his schedule and arrange for expert witnesses from over the world to come to Vancouverto testify. The Crown Attorney is pressuring for a speedy trial date as early as July. See http://thecompassionclub.org/renee/ for background and further contacts.
Health Minister, Alan Rock announced today that Canada will begin clinical trials on the medicinal effects of Marijuana and permits have been issued to individuals to legally use marijuana for health reasons (see http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/archives/releases/99_46e.htm). "If Health Canada is beginning to see the benefits of this healing herb by moving towards it's legalization for medical reasons, why then is the Crown Attorney buckling under pressure from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to send me back as soon as possible. I need to delay my extradition long enough for the USA to achieve the same level of enlightenment on this issue as Canada." Said Renee from her safe house in British Columbia, Canada.
For further information call her lawyer, John Conroy at (604) 852-5151