Pubdate: Fri, 08 Apr 2016
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Stephanie Ip
Page: 9


Activist arrested at Calgary tour stop

Vancouver-based pot activist Dana Larsen vows to push ahead with his
pro-legalization rallies and tour despite being arrested and charged
in Calgary this week for distributing marijuana seeds.

"It's absolutely fuelling the fire," he said Thursday. "I'm getting
more requests for seeds and have more people contacting me to donate
seeds - so really, this kind of harassment just gets people worked up
and gets way more media attention."

Larsen, 44, was arrested Wednesday evening in Calgary during the
second stop of his cross-country OverGrow Canada tour.

The tour is meant to promote legalization of marijuana by encouraging
people to plant and grow marijuana. Larsen had planned to give away
seeds in each city. The activist hopes these "victory gardens" will be
located in plain sight.

At Wednesday's stop, Calgary police were stationed outside Larsen's
rally, which was held at a Days Inn.

"Despite a high-profile presence of uniformed police officers, a rally
organizer began distributing marijuana seeds to members of the
audience," read a police statement released Thursday.

"As the seeds ran out, a man went to a van to retrieve more stock, at
which time he was arrested and taken into custody."

"I ran outside to see what was going on," said Larsen.

When he realized one of his volunteers had been arrested, he said he
told police: "You have to arrest me, too."

Larsen was arrested and police then searched his van. They seized 119
grams of marijuana, worth about $1,190, and 1,097 grams of marijuana
seeds, worth about $30,000. A small amount of cannabis resin and oil
was also seized.

Larsen was held overnight before being released on $1,000 bail. He has
been charged with one count of trafficking marijuana and one count of
possession for the purpose of trafficking. He is expected to appear in
a Calgary court on May 18.

The other man who was arrested was released without

Larsen said authorities now are pushing for a mandatory minimum
six-month jail sentence, but he said he "will be very shocked" if he
is convicted "under Harper's mandatory minimum laws."

Under his bail conditions, Larsen also cannot possess any cannabis or
cannabis seeds during the remainder of his tour, but is still allowed
to run his dispensary once he returns to Vancouver.

"No more giveaways, but I'll still be doing everything I can to get
cannabis seeds into people's hands," he said, adding people can visit
his website to sign up.

To date, more than 10,000 packages of seeds have been put into the
mail in Larsen's campaign. As a result of Wednesday's arrest, he's
also doubled his original goal - which was to distribute a million
seeds across the country - to two million.

"The point of this campaign is to make cannabis growing so open and
ubiquitous that police will give up on policing it," said Larsen.
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