Pubdate: Fri, 08 Apr 2016
Source: Metro (Calgary, CN AB)
Copyright: 2016 Metro Canada
Author: Lucie Edwardson
Page: 4


Advocate Charged With Two Counts of Trafficking

A well-known Vancouver pot activist has been released on bail after 
being arrested in Calgary for handing out cannabis seeds at a rally 
he was hosting Wednesday.

Overgrow Canada director Dana Larsen said a volunteer was first 
arrested for handing out the seeds at the Calgary stop in his 
cross-Canada tour, but when Larsen found out he presented himself to police.

"I went out there and said 'if you're going to be arresting anyone 
for sharing cannabis seeds it's going to be me,'" he said. "So, I 
gave him a handful of seeds and the officer arrested me as well."

Insp. Mike Bossley said police were initially on scene to "keep the 
peace and protect the public," and only arrested Larsen after he 
openly trafficked cannabis seeds in their presence.

"I would say we didn't have any other options," he said. "A search of 
the van belonging to the event organizer resulted in the seizure of 
119 grams of marijuana worth approximately $1,190, 1,097 grams of 
marijuana seeds worth approximately $30,000, and a small amount of 
cannabis resin and oil."

Bossley said Larsen is scheduled to appear in court May 18.

Larsen has been charged with two counts of trafficking cannabis. He 
said CPS told him they would be pushing for a minimum six-month jail 
sentence - a punishment he feels far outweighs his crime.

"It's illegal - but it's like a jaywalking ticket," he said. "The 
last person in Canada who was convicted of selling marijuana seeds 
from his business was given a $500 fine, so giving away cannabis 
seeds like this - especially given the current climate - should be a 
pretty minimal sentence, not a six months."

But, Bossley said he wasn't aware police had told Larsen they would 
be pushing for the six months.

Larsen said he believes it to be a "grey area" and he's been fighting 
it with civil disobedience for nearly 20 years.

"I certainly live in the grey area of the law when it comes to 
cannabis and this is a civil disobedience campaign and it's one that 
is going to continue," he said.
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