A man charged by Calgary police following arrests at a pro-marijuana meeting said he intends to, not only to continue distributing seeds, but to increase distribution as well.
The arrests happened at a Calgary hotel Wednesday night during the second stop for the Overgrow Canada tour, which encourages people to grow their own pot as a form of civil disobedience.
Organizer Dana Larsen, a cannabis advocate from Vancouver, says people shouldn’t be waiting for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or any other politicians to legalize pot.
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At the tour’s Calgary stop, more than a dozen uniformed officers were on hand while people were given free packets of medical-grade cannabis seeds.
Police said five officers were called to attend the rally but couldn’t confirm how many officers were called in to assist later on.
“As the event unfolded, it became a little bit more excited – I guess you could say it that way – and then additional officers came to just ensure that the peace was kept during the arrest process,” Insp. Mike Bossley with Calgary police said in a press release Thursday afternoon.
As the event was winding down, word spread that someone with the organization had been arrested, which angered many people in attendance.
A crowd that had been inside quickly spilled out and began shouting at police.
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Police said Thursday morning that officers at the event spoke to Larsen, but he continued to distribute the seed packages.
“A search of the van belonging to the [Larsen] resulted in the seizure of 119 grams of marijuana worth approximately $1,190, 1,097 grams of marijuana seeds worth approximately $30,000, and a small amount of cannabis resin and oil,” police said in a press release.
Larsen, speaking outside the arrest processing unit in Calgary Thursday morning, claimed to have asked police to arrest him after they took a volunteer for the event into custody.
“I don’t think they intended to arrest me otherwise, but I kind of insisted on it,” said Larsen. “I took some seeds in my hand and said ‘Look, I’ve got some seeds, you have to arrest me.’”
The 44-year-old is charged with one count of trafficking marijuana and one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking. His van was also been seized by police.
Larsen was released from custody and is expected to appear in court on May 18.
It is illegal to traffic marijuana in any form regardless of whether payment is provided.
The Overgrow Canada tour started in Kelowna on Tuesday night and there were no arrests.
Despite Larsen being forbidden to possess or distribute cannabis seeds, he said he still plans to continue the 14-city tour and distribute at a higher rate. Instead of dispensing one million seeds, Larsen now plans to give away two million, doubling Overgrow Canada’s rate.
“I can’t give them out in person anymore because that will put me back in jail,” Larsen said.
“We’re just going to do it by mail order now and see if there’s another way we can get these seeds to Canadians.”
As part of the conditions for his release, Larsen is still allowed to possess and distribute cannabis at his dispensary in Vancouver.