Pubdate: Fri, 15 Dec 2017
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: John Cotter
Page: 16


Federal service drops case involving cannabis activist whose charges
were stayed last month

Federal prosecutors have decided to drop their appeal of a court
ruling that dismissed charges against a prominent B.C. cannabis activist.

Dana Larsen was arrested in Calgary during a national tour to give
away millions of marijuana seeds to the public.

On Monday, Larsen said in Vancouver that the Crown's appeal was to be
heard July 2 in the Alberta Court of Appeal.

But after a review this week, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada
said it is dropping the case.

"We have decided to abandon the appeal," Barry Nordin, chief federal
prosecutor of the service's Alberta regional office, said on Thursday.

"We are not satisfied that after a hearing of the appeal the result
would be any different."

Calgary police charged Larsen with drug trafficking and possession
last year after pot seeds were handed out at an event as part of his
Overgrow Canada tour.

Last month, Alberta provincial court Judge A. J. Brown stayed the
charges, saying the case took too long to get to trial.

In her ruling, Brown blamed much of the delay on the

"Without firm, overall direction of the prosecution, the file has been
rife with unacceptable Crown delay," Brown wrote.

Unlike a Crown-directed stay, where charges can be restarted within a
year, a judicial stay dismisses the charges.

Nordin said the appeal was to have focused on Brown's findings about
delays in the case, not the merits of the charges Larsen faced.

Larsen said he is pleased with the Crown's decision, adding he should
never have been charged in the first place.

"I wish they had made that decision a lot earlier and not bothered
wasting all this time in court," he said.

"The courts don't have time or space for these kinds of actions. They
really should be prioritizing real crimes instead of these
pseudo-cannabis crimes that aren't really hurting anybody."

Earlier this week, Larsen said he was surprised by the appeal notice
and wondered if the Crown was trying to make an example of him at a
time when people are openly buying and selling marijuana seeds across
Canada in stores and on the internet.

Larsen said he plans to continue handing out free marijuana seeds in
the new year.

"I hope that police in Calgary and elsewhere will look on this
decision and realize it is not worth the effort to come and charge
me," he said.

"Hopefully cannabis seeds can be de facto legalized."

Larsen was a founding member of the B.C. Marijuana Party and the
Canadian Marijuana Party.

He has run a medicinal cannabis dispensary for seven

In 2011, he ran for the leadership of the provincial NDP in B.C.
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