Federal Crown drops appeal after charges against pot activist dismissed

Dana Larsen said he was served notice at his home in Vancouver and the case was to be heard July 2

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.

READ MORE: Pot advocate preaches at Prestige

READ MORE: Legalizing pot won’t help at U.S. border: immigration lawyer

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

Unlike a Crown-directed stay, where 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 Party.

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.

John Cotter, The Canadian Press

Legalized Marijuana

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Single vehicle rollover on Highway 16 claims life of young woman, seriously injures another

The single vehicle incident occurred at Highway 16 and Hillcrest Way

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Directional traffic change coming to one-way street beside McLeod Elementary

This change will be in effect starting Monday, Oct. 5.

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Orange Shirt Society launches first textbook on residential school history

Phyllis Webstad and Joan Sorley worked on the 156-page book to help educate students

Horgan vows to replace B.C.’s shared senior care rooms in 10 years

$1.4 billion construction on top of staff raises, single-site work

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

Orange Shirt Day lessons of past in today’s classrooms

Phyllis Webstad, who attended St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in British Columbia, is credited for creating the movement

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Greens’ Furstenau fires at NDP, Liberals on pandemic recovery, sales tax promise

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

Most Read