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

(BC Hydro outage map)
More than 3,000 Sooke residents without power

Cause of outage under investigation

The mottled sky, the lights coming on at water’s edge and in Victoria West, and the reflections on the building windows make for a scenic sunset photo in Victoria’s Selkirk neighbourhood. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Sunset on the Selkirk in Victoria

Send your photos to editor@vicnews.com for a chance to see them in the paper

Christopher Mauro, right, assistant manager of the Sidney Save-On-Foods, and Nick Luney, youth initiatives director for the Victoria Pride Society, celebrate the success of a pandemic fundraiser for the local Pride Society. (Courtesy Save-On Foods)
Grocery managers across the Island pull together for Queer youth

With Victoria Pride Parade and Festival cancelled, Save-On-Foods staff found a way to raise funds

Shay Baker, 17, hasn’t been seen or heard from since Oct. 21 and is wanted on outstanding warrants. (Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police searching for high-risk missing youth

Shay Baker, 17, is wanted on outstanding warrants

Plastic Ocean by Oak Bay resident Gabriela Hirt is in the Federation of Canadian Artist’s “Crisis” exhibition on now in Vancouver. (Gabriela Hirt/cropped to fit)
Oak Bay artist wins juried show in Vancouver

Pair of Oak Bay artists part of ‘Crisis’ exhibition

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson,  BC NDP leader John Horgan and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Climate change and sustainability promises from the parties

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

Most Read