Pubdate: Sun, 26 Mar 2017
Source: Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2017 The Halifax Herald Limited
Author: Chronicle Herald


Dana Larsen's "quiet revolution" envisions more and more Canadians
growing pot until the laws prohibiting it are unenforceable.

The Vancouver cannabis activist and author will be in Bedford at the
Legion Hall (1772 Bedford Highway) on Monday from 7-9 p.m. to dispense
advice, solutions to the crisis of fentanyl and other opioids - and
maybe even a few cannabis seeds. Larsen is the founder of the Overgrow
Canada campaign and distributed more than 2.3 million cannabis seeds
in spring 2016. He's doing a larger seed giveaway now, which started
in January.

"We don't want to overthrow the government, we want to 'overgrow' the
the government," he said in a phone interview from his St. John's stop
on a trans-Canada tour.

That strategy has worked with the proliferation of the sale of bongs
and pipes, beginning in the 1980s, he said, citing seed banks and
medical dispensaries as other "overgrowth" wins.

Disobedient growers

"We've overgrown the government in all these areas. Growing cannabis
openly and freely to me is the final phase of overgrowing the
government," he said.

Larsen said Canada is close to legalization thanks to civil

He envisions the eventual proliferation of thousands of
microgroweries, much like microbreweries.

"We don't want to see a corporatized system where Trudeau's friends
can sell it for 10 cents a gram but Canadians who grow their own are
thrown in jail," he said.

Prominent marijuana activists Marc and Jodie Emery were charged with
multiple drug-related offences in Toronto earlier this month after
police in several cities raided pot dispensaries associated with the

At a time when criminal cases are being dropped after two years for
want of resources to properly prosecute and hear them, the arrest of
the Emerys amounted to a "huge waste of police resources" in a city
where polls show a 2-1 ratio in favour of legalized dispensaries and
the prime minister favours legalization, Dana Larsen said.

"To prioritize cannabis arrests when other more serious crimes aren't
being dealt with first is shocking," he said.

Raids and aid

"I think it's shameful that Canadians are still being arrested. That
should have been dealt with immediately with decriminalization.
Slowness and delays are causing a lot of confusion, and a lot of
people are being arrested still.

"Canadians don't need government help to get high with quality
cannabis. We just need the government to stop arresting people," he

Legalizing pot could help Canada address the soaring rates of opioid
addiction and Fentanyl overdoses, Larsen said, citing studies showing
regions that have legalized marijuana have markedly lower rates of
overdose deaths and opioid use.

"Marijuana dispensaries are saving lives," Larsen said.

"With those two crises and public support (for legalization of
marijuana) we should be adopting the Vancouver model and not
continuing these expensive raids."

Larsen said Canada's first cannabis plant was grown in Nova Scotia. It
was grown in the Annapolis Valley in Port Royal, by a Louis Hebert, in

- - With files from Canadian Press
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