Renee Boje, an artist who was arrested after a DEA raid on Todd McCormick’s marijuana research facility in California, is speaking at the International Conference On Penal Abolition (ICOPA) at Ryerson University, in Toronto this Friday, May 12, from 1:30 to 3:00 pm on the third floor of Jorgenson Hall, room A363. Afterwards, her lawyer, John Conroy, will address the conference.

Boje faces 10 years to life in an American prison at which guards are infamous for raping and prositituting female prisoners. She is currently fighting extradition to the US in a series of epic court battles that could set a precedent for medical marijuana patients.

So far, Canadian courts have refused Renee’s appeal for justice. Most recently, on February 9, 2000 a British Columbia Supreme Court crowded with supporters, some of whom wept openly while Justice Catliff ruled that she be surrendered to the US on all counts, including possession, production, conspiracy to possess, conspiracy to produce and conspiracy to traffic in marijuana.

The huge number of charges against Boje is a reflection of the political and precedent-setting nature of her case. She has become a political headache for US anti-pot forces. The DEA raid on McCormick’s operation was a message from the US federal government that they would not tolerate proposition 215, by which Californian voters made medical marijuana legal in their state. At the time of her arrest, police knew that Boje was not a player in the operation; they dropped all charges and released her. By the time it became apparent that they would need her to testify against McCormick, she was in Canada. They reinstated charges and invented new ones against her as a ploy to leverage her cooperation. Despite a possible ten years to life in prison, Boje has continually refused to cut a deal by testifying.

"The US government is denying the American people access to a healing herb which has been proven effective in treating a wide variety of illnesses, Boje said. As a result, millions of seriously ill people in America are suffering. Todd was conducting medical research on cannabis to alleviate some of this suffering. I would never agree to testify against a man that was doing something I believe in so strongly."

The next step is for Boje’s case to proceed to the Minister of Justice, Anne McLellan, before it goes on to the Appeal Court of British Columbia.

"If enough people send in letters of support to the minister before [the deadline]," said Renee, "I have faith that the minister will make a compassionate decision."

The deadline for letters of support has been extended for a final time to June 8, 2000. Letters of support for Renee Boje to the Minister of Justice, Anne McLellan, can be sent to Boje’s lawyer, John Conroy, at his address, below. You can meet Renee at the ICOPA from May 10 to the 13, during which time she will be present at a booth in the conference. Renee is presently struggling with legal and even living expenses. A small donation could make a big difference.

For more info about letters of support contact Renee Boje or visit her website: tel (604) 886-8634;;

Send letters for the Minister of Justice to Lawyer John Conroy: 2459 Pauline St, Abbotsford, BC, Canada V2S 3S1

Support Renee by buying one of her Cannabis Certificates. Send a $25 donation and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Renee Boje, PO Box 1557, Gibsons, BC, Canada, VON 1V0

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