April 8, 2016

A marijuana activist says his high-profile arrest in Calgary has only boosted the profile of his national seed giveaway campaign, which has attracted new seed orders and several offers from suppliers. Dana Larsen, 44, of Vancouver, was charged with one count of trafficking
marijuana and one count of possession for the purpose of
trafficking. He was later released from custody and is expected to appear in court on May 18. Larsen was arrested at the Days Inn on Macleod Trail South as his Overgrow Canada event, dubbed “Free Marijuana – Overgrow the Government Tour,” made its stop in Calgary, the second of 14 cities in the tour. “This kind of police
overreaction just gets people worked up, and gets me
in the media all across the country,” Larsen said in an

“Far more people knew about this campaign than did
(Wednesday), and far more of them are interested in
getting seeds and participating than did (Wednesday).
“In that sense, this has only helped my efforts.”
On the Overgrow Canada website, Larsen says he’s
giving away seeds as part of what he calls the largest
civil disobedience campaign in Canada’s history, ahead
of promised marijuana legalization by Ottawa. Larsen
had originally planned to give away a million cannabis
seeds as part of the campaign, but he doubled it to two
million after his arrest in Calgary.


Insp. Mike Bossley said even though at least five police
officers were in attendance at the Calgary event to keep
the peace, the organizer began distributing marijuana
seeds to members in the audience. One man went out
to retrieve more stock and was arrested. Bossley said
as the man was being taken into custody, the audience
left the hotel – led by Larsen – to watch. The man, who
was determined to be a “runner,” was later released
without charge. But after a Calgary police inspector
spoke to Larsen, he allegedly continued to distribute
more seed packages at which point he was arrested.
“Everybody has a right to a peaceful demonstration
and conversation. So we allowed that process to take
place,” Bossley said.

“As that process took place, we recognized that the
seeds that were being trafficked essentially, it was
articulated they were in fact marijuana seeds. And as
more and more information came to light, officers took
the actions they did.” Bossley said the event became “a
little more excited” as it unfolded, so additional officers
were called to the scene for support. A supporter of
Larsen’s efforts uploaded a video of the arrest to
YouTube. Supporters could be heard booing and
shouting at police, although the incident largely
remained peaceful.

Officers also searched the van belonging to the event
organizer and seized 119 grams of marijuana worth
about $1,190, 1,097 grams of marijuana seeds worth
about $30,000, and a small amount of cannabis resin
and oil. Larsen said he has received many more orders
for seeds, and has been contacted by people offering
to supply additional seeds, after his arrest. He said
his bail conditions forbid him from possessing or
giving away seeds, so his campaign will give them
away by mail order. “We must not wait around to see
if maybe (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau will be
kind enough to let us grow a few cannabis plants at
home,” Larsen writes on his website.
“We must seize the moment, seize our freedom and
plant our victory gardens!” he writes, urging
Canadians to plant seeds on balconies, windowsills,
in yards and “into the fresh air where they belong.”
Cindy Heemeryck, tour coordinator for the
Overgrow Canada campaign, who posted $1,000
cash after Larsen was granted bail by a Justice of the
Peace in Calgary, said she wasn’t impressed by her
friend’s arrest.

“Medical patients in this country have the right to
grow their own medicine and that’s why this
campaign was launched,” Heemeryck said. Lawyer
Kirk Tousaw, who appeared in bail court by phone
from B.C. said he opposed the bail conditions
proposed by police, but was unsuccessful. He said
Larsen is eager to fight these charges. “I don’t see a
conviction on this coming,” Tousaw said by phone,
calling it a waste of police and court resources. “Mr.
L a r s e n p o s s e s s e s p re t t y  g o o d d e f e n s e s
u n d e r  t h e Charter.” Police say it’s illegal t o  t r a f f i c
marijuana, and t h e y  w i l l c o n t i n u e enforcing the


With files from Kevin
Martin and original
article in Calgary Herald
n a - a c t iv i s t - c h a r g e d -

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