CALGARY - A marijuana activist, who handed out thousands of free marijuana seeds to Kelowna residents earlier this week, was arrested in Calgary last night for doing the same thing.
Dana Larsen is on a 14 city tour he calls Overgrow the Government where he hands out the seeds and encourages Canadians to grow marijuana in the open as an act of civil disobediance. He spoke to hundreds of locals at the Prestige Inn in Kelowna on Tuesday, April 5 without a cop in sight.
It was a different story last night, April 6, in Calgary.
Larsen was arrested, and according to a tweet by his lawyer Kirk Tousaw, was released on $1,000 bail this morning after spending the night in jail.
Shortly after his arrest, fellow Vancouver marijuana activist Marc Emery tweeted his support.
"FREE DANA! @DanaLarsen held at Calgary Police HQ, arrested for distributing seeds, his van & supplies seized," Emery wrote.
Prior to the Kelowna event, iNFOnews.ca asked local RCMP spokesperson Const. Jesse O'Donaghey if police would interfere with Larsen's plan to hand out bags of marijuana seeds to everyone who attended the event, but O'Donaghey wouldn't comment and referred all media questions to Sgt. Harold Pfleiderer with national RCMP media relations.
When asked if giving away marijuana seeds is illegal, Pfleiderer responded by referring to the Controlled Drug and Substances Act in an email.
"RCMP detachments set enforcement priorities in consultation with local government, partners and citizens of the community. Individuals found to be in contravention of the Controlled Drug and Substances Act may be subject to investigation and criminal charges in accordance with Canadian Laws," Pfleiderer wrote.
Larsen, who is 44, is facing charges of trafficking marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking and is to appear in court on May 18.
A second man arrested along with Larsen was released without charges.
There is no word yet if Larsen plans to continue on to his next stop in Edmonton tonight.
Larsen served ten years as editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine, is the co-founder of the Vancouver Seed Bank, founder of the Vancouver Dispensary Society and vice president of the Canadian Association of Cannabis Dispensaries. He is also a founding member of the B.C. Marijuana Party and the Canadian Marijuana Party. In 2003 he joined the NDP and ran as an NDP candidate in 2008. In 2011, he ran for the Leadership of the B.C. NDP and is founder and director of Sensible BC, Canada’s largest grassroots cannabis reform organization.
For more information on his Overgrow the Government campaign, visit his website.
— With files from The Canadian Press
— This story was updated at 12 p.m., Thursday, April 7, 2016 to include information about charges.
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