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

Month-long water quality advisory still in effect for Rupert residents

The City of Prince Rupert recommends those with weakened immune systems boil water prior to use

Jennifer Rice North Coast MLA seeks re-election

Northwest politicians announce intent on elections

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Heart of the City – Jason Scherr

Try and Try again - Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby Club

No COVID-19 public exposures in the North Health Region at this time

Northern Health Authority issued a statement on Sept. 17

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Most Read