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Marijuana activists pledge to take protest to more Tory offices

Marijuana activists are planning to occupy the constituency office of a Conservative member of Parliament on Friday as they step up their response to a call from "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery to hound Tory MPs "endlessly and unmercifully."

Mr. Emery was taken into custody Monday for extradition to the United States on drug charges. He predicted Canadians would be "very, very angry" if he were sent to serve time in a U.S. prison.

The next day, activists took over the offices of Heritage Minister James Moore in their first show of support for the marijuana-seeds merchant.

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"The Conservative Party has declared a culture war on our community," states an unsigned mass e-mail urging activists to join the occupation on Friday of a second Conservative member's constituency office. Organizers did not reveal the target. "The Free Marc campaign has opted to take the fight into the Conservatives' offices," it said.

"We're quite upset," organizer Jacob Hunter said in an interview. "We've been playing nice for a long time with phone calls and e-mails. It is time to up the ante - and this is exactly what this is."

He added, "We're encouraging people across Canada to do it. We're also going to go to [Prime Minister's]Stephen Harper's riding. We're going to go to [Justice Minister]Rob Nicholson's riding. We are definitely going to keep doing this."

Mr. Nicholson announced this week that the federal government would not stop Mr. Emery's extradition to the United States to face criminal charges of allegedly selling about three million marijuana seeds to U.S. customers.

Mr. Emery has said he expects to serve five years in prison after pleading guilty but hopes to be transferred back to Canada to serve his time. The Canadian government has not indicated any support for an application to transfer him back to Canada.

A Free Marc website offers 75 suggestions to help Mr. Emery and calls for a worldwide protest on May 22. A video, posted on YouTube and showing Tuesday's occupation of Mr. Moore's office, has been put together as a guide to occupying a federal minister's constituency office.

No one was arrested during Tuesday's protest at Mr. Moore's office, Constable Bill Kim of the Port Moody Police Department said in an interview. Port Moody is a Vancouver suburb. "They were making a symbolic gesture. They wanted to voice their displeasure, and they have a right to protest … in a peaceful manner."

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Matt Deacon, a spokesman for Mr. Moore's office, said the minister was not going to comment on the incident.

Mr. Hunter, 28, has a Health Canada licence to use marijuana for medical purposes. He is shown on the YouTube video rolling a marijuana cigarette in Mr. Moore's office, sitting at Mr. Moore's desk.

Mr. Hunter said in an interview he has a genetic condition that caused his knee joint to break apart eight months ago. He is legally authorized to carry 150 grams at any time, he said.

Mr. Emery is being held in a detention centre in the Vancouver area, pending his transfer to the U.S.

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