Pubdate: Tue, 14 Mar 2017
Source: Lethbridge Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 The Lethbridge Herald
Author: Tijana Martin
Page: A3


Cannabis Crusader stops in Lethbridge

This spring, cannabis plants may start appearing in places you'd least
expect. And it might be because of Dana Larsen's Overgrow Canada campaign.

On Monday night, the cannabis expert, activist and author spoke in
Lethbridge for the first time as part of his Overgrow Canada Tour. The
event took place at Moose Hall and attendees were given 100 free
cannabis seeds to plant.

"Lethbridge has been somewhat excluded from these types of events in
the past, just being a smaller city kind of off the beaten track, and
I feel it's important to get this tour here to Lethbridge, to get the
exposure to see that (marijuana) is here in Lethbridge as much as it
is everywhere else in Canada, and the city needs to embrace that,"
said local event host Austin Moloughney.

Last year, Larsen travelled to more than 20 cities for his first tour
and over 2.3 million free cannabis seeds were given to Canadians.

He is currently facing charges after he was arrested in Calgary for
trafficking cannabis seeds, however, that's the only legal issue he's
facing as part of his campaign. He is still out on bail and is
scheduled for a court hearing in May.

He said he thinks it's absurd that they may take him to trial,
considering there's at least a dozen places to buy marijuana seeds in
Calgary over the counter and hundreds more across Canada.

"Especially when we're in the middle of a judicial crisis in Canada.
In Alberta alone, over 200 charges have been dropped this year over
serious criminal cases. If that's the case, how can they make room for
someone who is giving away low THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) cannabis
seeds?" he asked. "It really seems like a waste of precious court 

But those charges aren't stopping him, although he admits he's nervous
for his upcoming stop in Calgary in April.

This year he's aiming to give away five million free seeds that he
hopes will be planted this spring.

"The idea is for people to take the seeds that I am giving out and to
grow them in public places," said Larsen. "It's part of a civil
disobedience campaign that has been going on for 20 years now and that
I think is what has brought us to the verge of legalization, beginning
with bongs and pipes and seed banks, cannabis rallies and moving on to

He wants to normalize growing cannabis publicly.

"The fact is, there's hundreds of plants that grow all over the place
that are toxic and dangerous if you were to consume them, but we don't
worry about that and we shouldn't be worrying about cannabis either,"
he said.

"I want to live in a Canada where you walk down the street and you see
a cannabis plant growing in someone's yard, or by the side of the road
and it's not a big deal because you see ten or 20 of them already that
day, like any other plant."

Last August, the federal government announced that authorized medical
marijuanapatients could grow their own cannabis if they register with
Health Canada, or designate another adult to grow it for them. But the
amount they can grow is limited.

It's illegal for everyone else, and Larsen's website shares some of
the risks involved in growing marijuana plants. The most severe of
which states that growing six or more plants with the intent to share
or sell can qualify for a mandatory jail sentence.

There's no medical marijuana dispensaries in Lethbridge, but Larsen
was scheduled to discuss how to go about opening one. He also shared
his opinion on what's coming for legalization.

"We are moving towards legalization, not by waiting for Trudeau, but
by making it happen in cities and towns across the country through
activism and civil disobedience," said Larsen.

"I think legalization is still a long ways away. I think it's going to
be several years before we are able to purchase cannabis in a store
that has Trudeau's stamp of approval and it's going to be several
years after that until where we really have a situation where cannabis
users have equal rights to alcohol users in Canada," he said.

"The legalization they have in mind is not really an end to cannabis
prohibition, it's more just a different form of cannabis prohibition
and one that we're going to have to keep fighting against."

Those who were unable to attend can request free seeds by visiting his
website at .
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