Alberta judge stays charges faced by Vancouver marijuana activist Dana Larsen

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      A leading Vancouver advocate for marijuana reform has dodged criminal charges that he faced in Alberta.

      Yesterday (November 15), a Calgary judge stayed charges that the Crown had be brought against Dana Larsen.

      Larsen, who’s made several forays into B.C. politics with the B.C. Marijuana Party, the B.C. NDP, and Sensible B.C., was accused of trafficking and possession for intent to distribute.

      The charges stemmed from what Larsen maintains was an act of political activism. In April 2016, he travelled to Calgary and was giving away cannabis seeds. Calling it the “Overgrow Canada”, Larsen said the stop in Alberta was part of a plan to share one million seeds to people across the country.

      Calgary police intervened and Larsen was charged with the offences mentioned above.

      Larsen recounted the case’s latest developments in a Facebook post.

      “I was arrested in April 2016 in Calgary for giving away low-THC cannabis seeds,” he wrote. “The Crown had 18 months to bring me to trial. Police and the crown were both very slow in bringing forward documents, sprouting the seeds and scheduling a trial. As a result, the Judge has ended the case.

      “It's an anticlimactic end to my charges. I would have preferred to defeat the prohibition on seeds and set a legal precedent. But at the same time, I'm glad the charges are gone, and I don't think I will face any more legal problems during the 2018 Overgrow Canada campaign.”

      In 2012, Larsen led a campaign for Sensible B.C. that sought to see marijuana decriminalized in British Columbia. Hoping to collect enough signatures to trigger a referendum, the effort ultimately failed. But Larsen and thousands of volunteers managed to collect more than 200,000 signatures in support of the campaign.

      Travis Lupick is a journalist based in Vancouver. His first bookFighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City's Struggle with Addiction, was published in November 2017. You can follow him on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.