Pubdate: Fri, 15 Dec 2017
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network
Author: John Cotter
Page: A8


The federal Crown has decided to drop its appeal of a ruling
dismissing charges against a prominent cannabis activist who was
arrested in Calgary during a national tour to give away millions of
marijuana seeds to the public.

On Monday, Dana Larsen said he was served notice at his home in
Vancouver and the case was to be heard July 2 in the Alberta Court of
Appeal. But after a subsequent 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 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, 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 prosecution.

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

Unlike a Crown-directed stay, in which 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 served as editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine and was a
founding member of the B.C. Marijuana Party and the Canadian Marijuana

He led an unsuccessful bid for a marijuana referendum in British
Columbia and has run a medicinal cannabis dispensary for seven years.

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