By: Yolande Cole.
Marijuana activist Dana Larsen is making another tour stop in Calgary a year after he was arrested for giving away cannabis seeds.
The Vancouver-based cannabis legalization advocate admits he is “a little nervous” about coming back to the city where he was chargedwith one count of trafficking marijuana and one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
“This year I’m doing 23 cities and Calgary is actually the last stop, and so far no other police force has bothered showing up or interfering with my seed giveaway, so I will be surprised if the Calgary police show up again, but I was surprised they showed up the first time,” Larsen said.
While police are aware of Friday’s event, the Calgary Police Service said in a statement that by standard practice, it does not disclose investigative tactics or operational plans, nor does it disclose information about specific individuals.
Larsen will be in Calgary as part of a cross-country tour he launched in March dubbed the Overgrow Canada Tour. In each city, the activist has given talks on “the hidden history of cannabis in Canada” and given away seeds.
On April 6, 2016, Larsen was arrested at the Days Inn on Macleod Trail South and spent the night in custody before being released on bail.
He will return to Calgary next month for a preliminary hearing on the charges on May 9 and 10. If there is a trial next year, he will be back to attend it, but he said he is doubtful the charges will go to trial.
“I can’t believe any judge is going to be happy to waste his time with me when we’re in the middle of a judicial crisis,” he said.
Larsen said he has given away 2.5 million cannabis seeds this year, and plans to reach a 5 million seed giveaway by April 20. The activist said he wants to normalize the public growing of cannabis.
The federal government is expected to introduce legislation this month to legalize marijuana by July 1, 2018.
The head of the Calgary police drug unit told Postmedia in February that while cannabis use and possession can still lead to criminal charges, simple possession of marijuana by average citizens “wouldn’t be a priority” for officers compared to substances like opioids and methamphetamine.
Larsen will be at the Forest Heights community centre, located at 4909 Forego Ave S.E., Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
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