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Marijuana activist prepared for possible rearrest in Calgary

Marijuana activist prepared for possible rearrest in Calgary
WATCH ABOVE: Dana Larsen was arrested in Calgary last year for handing out marijuana seeds, but he isn’t letting that stop him from handing out more seeds this week. Tracy Nagai reports.

A British Columbian marijuana activist doesn’t want to be arrested again, but he knows it’s a possibility come Friday.

“I’m willing to face the consequences of my actions and if the police choose to come after me for giving away cannabis seeds, I’m still going to give them away,” said Dana Larsen during a Skype interview with Global News from Saskatoon.

Larsen is touring the country as part of his “Overgrow Canada Tour” and will be in Calgary on April 7.

“I want Canadians to grow cannabis openly and freely. I want to live in a country where if you see some cannabis plants growing in somebody’s front yard, it’s not a big deal,” Larsen said.

But not everyone agrees with Larsen’s tactics. Last year, he was arrested in Calgary for handing out free medical-grade cannabis seeds at one of his rallies.

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Angry people shouted “Shame!” at police as he was escorted away. Larsen spent the night in jail and is currently out on conditions.

He’s expected in a Calgary courtroom in May to face last year’s charges.

READ MORE: ‘I kind of insisted on it’: Pro-marijuana activist reacts to arrest, charges

“It was interesting because I went to 20 more cities after Calgary on my tour and I had no police problems anywhere else in the country,” Larsen said.

Larsen’s stop in Calgary comes days ahead of a major move by the Liberal government. Legislation is expected to be announced this month that would legalize recreational pot by July 1, 2018.

READ MORE: Canada to legalize pot by July 1, 2018: report

Police don’t want to add more hype to the upcoming event and won’t definitively say if they plan to arrest Larsen once again.

“This is a contentious issue because of all the different social opinions surrounding marijuana,” said Acting Insp. Darren Berglind with the Calgary Police Service.

“The bottom line is police will not enter into this political forum. We will enforce the laws without prejudice.”

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The Calgary Police Service issued a statement Wednesday: “By standard practice the Calgary Police Service does not disclose investigative tactics or operational plans. Nor do we disclose information in relation to specific individuals. We are aware of the event.”

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“I think it leaves police in a difficult position where they either have to be seen as ignoring the law, or they’re going to have to enforce the law, and they have an obligation to enforce the law,” said Matthew Deshaye, a Calgary defence lawyer with Dunn & Associates.

While Larsen doesn’t necessarily want to be arrested again, he admits the publicity hasn’t hurt.

“It probably enabled me to give away a million more seeds with all the attention I got,” Larsen said.

“We’ll see if the Calgary police continue on their effort to be the only police force in Canada that cares about giving away free cannabis seeds.”

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Larsen’s rally will take place on Friday, April 7 between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the Forest Heights Community Hall.