Charges stayed against B.C. pot activist who handed out marijuana seeds in Calgary
Charges against B.C. pot activist Dana Larsen have been stayed by a Calgary judge.
A Calgary judge has dismissed all charges against Dana Larsen, a known marijuana activist, who was arrested following a public appearance in the city last year.
Larsen was charged with trafficking and drug possession in April 2016 after he handed out marijuana seeds to the audience at his Overgrow Canada tour.
The aim of his tour was to provide Canadians with seeds to grow their own marijuana plants in their homes.
Police also seized marijuana, cannabis oil and resin from his vehicle.
Larsen was in Calgary again this past April promoting his campaign at the Forest Height Community Association.
Two police officers also attended the meeting, but ended up leaving after a short time.
Canadian Cannabis Activists
Cannabis as a plant, let alone as a medical and recreational substance, in Canada, has had an entangled history. But before cannabis was the mainstream topic or even near legalization, there were individuals advocating and acknowledging the importance of access. These individuals were, and still are, relentless in their activism and are deserving of recognition because if not for their actions broader societal change regarding cannabis could not have happened. Sadly, many activists have succumbed to their illnesses; illnesses they fought for the rights to treat with medicinal cannabis – civil human rights – and for that, we are perpetually grateful. Continuing the progression, legacy, and development of medical and recreational cannabis in Canada is the only righteous thing to do in their memory. Endless appreciation for every activist, advocacy group, and movement (mentioned and unmentioned) that has empowered the construction of legalization in Canada – made official on October 17, 2018. A truly historical day.
GREG WILLIAMS (aka “Marijuana Man” – Passed 2021) A figurehead of the North American Marijuana Movement and a prominent grassroots cannabis activists, Williams is remembered and celebrated. It was Williams’s mission to make cannabis seeds accessible selling literally millions of seeds across Canada and the US while managing the seed desk at Emery Direct Marijuana Seed Bank. Responsible for the first-ever ground-breaking cannabis growing videos on YouTube “So You Wanna Grow Pot,” which launched in 2002, Williams also taught thousands to grow cannabis properly. Arrested for selling cannabis seeds online, Williams faced a life sentence but fortunately only received probation. Before Pre-legalization, Williams operated the much-loved Cannabis Culture Dispensary Vancouver, BC providing a framework of what legalization should look like and representing what cannabis access should be. Dedicated to a movement at a time when cannabis was still illegal, Williams put himself at risk to change the stigma and change laws that saved lives. His hard work made an impactful difference and Williams is a genuine inspiration.
Note – Williams, a known member of the BC3 – was noted by the US Government as overgrowing North America with millions of marijuana plants and using the millions of dollars raised to finance the movement, long before anyone else contributed so greatly to the cause.
MICHELLE RAINEY (Passed 2010) Rainey was renowned as a true leader, a light, and “an engine for great change in the world.” Impassioned, Rainey formed the British Columbia Marijuana Party in 2000 and strongly advocated for legalization for a decade in Canada and globally. A medical cannabis user herself (Chron’s and Cancer), she was one of the first 3000 Canadians to hold a license to possess and produce marijuana for medical purposes. A fixture is supporting and championing access to cannabis, Rainey was even arrested, charged, and convicted (along with Williams and Emery) in 2005 for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana in A Washington State court. Throughout her last few years she maintained a YouTube channel ‘Michelle’s Medical Marijuana,’ and in the months leading up to her passing remained optimistic cannabis could help her cancer – some say having literally given her life for the movement.
Note – Rainey, along with Williams, was also a known member of the BC3.
TERRANCE PARKER (Passed 2020) A recognized name within cannabis advocacy, Parker was famed within Canada for winning his 23-year battle to use medicinal cannabis. A lifelong battle with epilepsy, Parker’s story is unique and yet all too familiar – he demanded a quality life, and by denial of access to cannabis he was inhibited from a right to life, liberty, and security of persons, which was unconstitutional. With several monumental cannabis wins throughout his advocacy work, it was in 2001, with the imperative contributions of Parker, the Canadian government enacted the first rendition of the ‘Marihuana for Medical Access Regulations (MMAR).’ This would in effect allow licensed patients to grow cannabis or access it from licensed growers. To say Parker was invaluable to the progression and understanding of cannabis as a medical instrument would be an understatement. He impacted this industry, this country, and the larger world in ways only truly respected and recognized after his passing.
JODIE EMERY (aka Princess of Pot) An esteemed cannabis rights activists and politician, Emery has been intense about advocacy for decades and endlessly contributory in establishing the industry’s foundation. Her background has been diverse beginning with aiding in the distribution of cannabis seeds and transitioning to editing Cannabis Culture Magazine in 2005. Later as she became co-owner of Cannabis Culture, a business that franchised cannabis dispensaries, until it was shut down, deemed illegal and Emery was arrested. With a strong political presence, Emery has run a cannabis legislation platform in the Green Party of British Columbia and the British Columbia Marijuana Party. Her voice has been heard at conferences, rallies, protests and forums all over Canada and the United States as she has championed for this cause regardless of the risks and repercussions.
DANA LARSEN Esteemed and recognizable, Larsen is a cannabis advocate, activist, author, and politician, who also supports the larger end to the global war on drugs. After a decade as Editor at Cannabis Culture Magazine, he became the co-founder of the Vancouver Seed Bank and is a former VP of the Canadian Association of Cannabis Dispensaries – now serving as founding director of Vancouver Dispensary Society and Sensible B.C. Larsen has also made political noise a developer of the BC Marijuana Party and the Canadian Marijuana Party. With his finger on the pulse of political issues, Larsen also been involved in social and cultural events, celebrations and has authored illustrative cannabis-related books. Utilizing his intelligence and knowledge for another warranted cause, Larsen is now working to destigmatize psychedelics normalizing them for healing and personal growth.
ABI ROACH A proclaimed “cannabis hero” by Cannabis Amnesty, Roach has been a trailblazer in the cannabis community for over 20 years. A driving force behind legalization and instrumental in convincing the government there was a need for the cannabis industry. Truly an icon, Roach founded Canada’s first cannabis consumption lounge the Hot Box Café back in 2003 and the Ontario Cannabis and Consumer & Retail Alliance (2017) and has long believed legalization was about social justice and human rights. Her advocacy for medical cannabis and access to safe spaces for patients to medicate was mirrored in recreational use as she has constantly strived to destigmatize and normalize cannabis use. Now working with the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) as a Senior Product Manager, Roach is continuing to destigmatize the culture, facilitate change and make quality cannabis products accessible – an objective to which she always strived.
GRANT KRIEGER Krieger became a fixture on the advocacy scene after facing difficulties obtaining medical cannabis to treat his Multiple Sclerosis back in the 1990s; at one point traveling to Holland to acquire a prescription. He frequently communicated how cannabis had done more for him than any pharmaceutical and was committed to helping others without medicinal access. Krieger became increasingly famed, and disciplined, for his determination to provide others with cannabis for medicinal use eventually being charged for trafficking in 1998 when he gave a medicinal user an ounce on the steps of the Calgary Courthouse. Rightfully, he won a judicial ruling in 2000 allowing him to use medicinal cannabis, but he still served time for trafficking – a period during which he was permitted the use of cannabis. Convictions and serving time could not stop Krieger, who unshaken acknowledged he would continue supplying those in medical need. He was wholeheartedly driven to generate change.
MARK-BORIS ST-MAURICE A musician, politician, and activist, St-Maurice campaigned for years to legalize cannabis and facilitate access to the drug for health reasons. From his work with the Compassion Club, an organization that provides cannabis to seriously ill individuals with medical prescriptions, to his founding of two cannabis-related political parties, Bloc Pot (provincial) and the Marijuana Party of Canada (federal); St-Maurice is versed in the intricacies of cannabis in Canada. In fact, he was involved in the early 2000’s movement of decriminalization under Liberal rule before Stephen Harpers Conservative government immobilized the bill. No matter his political or social association, St-Maurice’s overarching objective was the legalization of and accessibility to cannabis and he has done purposeful advocacy work moving the industry forward. The continuation of his focus is still visible regarding the amendment of minor criminal cannabis possession charges in Canada and his expertise is critical.
BRIAN TAYLOR (aka “Marijuana Mayor”) A medical cannabis advocate for decades, Taylor was an original creator of the British Columbia Marijuana Party and the first leader of the party during the 2001 election. As a previous and more recent mayor of Grand Forks, BC, Taylor is a professional cannabis advocate and has also created ‘Cannabis Health’ a science and health magazine, and the Cannabis Research Institute in Grand Forks.