Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jan 2016
Source: Northumberland News (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 by Metroland Printing, Publishing & Distributing, Ltd.
Author: Karen Longwell


Marijuana Party member Dana Larsen wishes politicians a 'Merry-Juana 
Christmas and Hempy New Year'

COBOURG -- A late Christmas present of medical-grade marijuana at the 
Cobourg office of Northumberland-Peterborough South MP Kim Rudd 
sparked a call to the police.

The MP, who also represents Orono and Newcastle in Durham Region, is 
the latest in a string of Liberal MPs to receive a package from Dana 
Larsen -- a founding member of the Marijuana Party. Mr. Larsen 
reportedly mailed each of the 184 federal Liberal MPs a gram of dried 
marijuana along with a copy of his new book Cannabis in Canada - The 
Illustrated History. Also receiving pot were two MPs in Durham, 
Ajax's Mark Holland and Whitby's Celina Caesar-Chavannes.

At the MP Rudd's Cobourg office, communications and community liaison 
staff member Jamie Simmons said the package came in the regular mail, 
a locked mailbox outside the new office on Elgin Street, on Jan. 7. 
The MP is currently in Ottawa, he said. He called Cobourg Police.

"It's still illegal," said Mr. Simmons.

Receiving it didn't come as a surprise as Mr. Larsen's mailings have 
been reported in the national media, said Mr. Simmons.

Cobourg Police Constable Khoby Langdon picked up the marijuana, 
letter and book on Friday morning. The marijuana will likely be 
destroyed and the other materials kept for evidence, said Const. Langdon.

At the moment, the act of mailing pot to people is illegal, said 
Durham police Sergeant Bill Calder. Cops in Durham haven't been 
notified about the packages, he said.

"On the face of it, it is technically trafficking," Sgt. Calder said.

But for police to proceed with charges, the material in the packages 
would have to be tested to confirm it contains THC, the active 
ingredient in pot.

Cops would also consult with the Crown attorney to determine whether 
or not there would be merit in pressing charges, Sgt. Calder said. It 
could be decided that pursuing the matter would do little more than 
generate publicity about the act.

"Is this just a political stunt?" Sgt. Calder mused.

Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef also received a package of 
marijuana in the mail. She also passed it along to police.

In his letter Mr. Larsen said since the Liberals plan to legalize 
cannabis, he thought they would enjoy learning about the history of 
Cannabis in Canada -- through his graphic novel. The "one gram of 
medical-grade cannabis for you or a staff member to enjoy," the letter reads.

"I want to give you a chance to refamiliarize yourself with the 
pleasant effects of cannabis and remember why so many Canadian use 
cannabis for it's (sic) medical, social and spiritual effects," Mr. 
Larsen said.

He thanked the MPs for leading the country into a better future and 
wished them a "Merry-Juana Christmas and a Hempy New Year."

The packages were reportedly sent to each MP's constituency office, 
not to offices on Parliament Hill.

Alex Howell, legislative assistant to Whitby MP Celina 
Caesar-Chavannes, said a package containing marijuana was sent to Ms. 
Caesar-Chavannes's office on Rossland Road in Whitby.

"We did receive the package. They have called the police and they're 
on their way to pick it up."

She added that security at Parliament Hill issued a notice advising 
anyone who received the package to contact police.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has suggested change in legalization of 
marijuana could come in a year or two.

This is not the first time Mr. Larsen has sent pot to a politician -- 
during the 2014 teachers' strike in B.C., he mailed Premier Christy 
Clark a larger package of marijuana.

A spokesman for Oshawa MP Colin Carrie said they're on the lookout 
for suspicious packages but have not received anything.

"If any of my staff were suspicious, we would just ask DRPS to take a 
look at it," said Eric Guernsey, manager of constituent services and 
communications for Mr. Carrie.

Ajax MP Mark Holland's office also received a package, his spokesman 
Evan McGrath said.

"We tossed it once we opened it and saw what it was," Mr. McGrath 
added. "I'm not sure if he was being cute. They said it was a gift 
and we should enjoy this."

Pickering-Uxbridge MP Jennifer O'Connell's office didn't receive a 
package, her spokesman Musa Mansuar said.

A pot package was not sent to Durham MP Erin O'Toole's office. Mr. 
O'Toole's special assistant Stacey Haley said the office was keeping 
an eye out for the package after a warning was issued by the House of Commons.

- - With files from Metroland Media Group's Durham Region Division
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom