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

Oak Bay clinic opens virtual classes to public for fundraiser

Patient activity is up for cancer-supporting clinic during COVID-19 crisis

CRD to consider plan for mountain biking trails at Mount Work

SIMBS seek new trails in Hartland, Partridge Hills

More than 1,500 people expected at Victoria peace rally for Black lives

‘To speak up, all you need is a voice and the will to be heard’

Saanich teen launches free online tutoring website

School Helpers matches volunteer tutors with students

Name of victims ‘ripped down’ from Victoria display

Organizers feel the act is ‘malicious’

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Damage happens every year, forcing site manager to reallocate improvement budget to repairs

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Most Read