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Why not charged here?

UPDATE: 1:45 P.M.

The arrest of a pot activist for distributing marijuana seeds in Calgary has raised the question of why the RCMP were not involved in his stop in Kelowna. 

Dana Larsen kicked off his "Overgrow Canada" tour in Kelowna Tuesday evening at the Prestige Hotel, where he gave out thousands of marijuana seeds to the 250 people who attended his talk. 

Const. Jesse O'Donaghey of the Kelowna RCMP directed any inquiries about their own police response, or lack thereof, to the national RCMP.

Annie Delisle, media relations officer with the national RCMP, said "non-viable" cannabis seeds are not controlled under the Controlled Drug and Substance Act.

At the Kelowna event, Larsen said the RCMP would have to take his seeds and attempt to grow them to determine their viability. 

"RCMP detachments set enforcement priorities in consultation with local government, partners and citizens of the community," wrote Delisle in a statement.

The Holiday Inn was the original venue for his talk, but the hotel backed out after concerns were raised about the nature of the event. 

The Prestige Hotel allowed Larsen to deliver his 90-minute talk inside the hotel's conference room, but asked him to hand out his seeds outside of the hotel. 

There was no RCMP presence during the event in Kelowna. 

“Police aren’t going to come and drag me away for giving away seeds to people, and if they do it’ll just be ridiculous, so that’s not going to happen," Larsen said at the event in Kelowna. "I’d be shocked if the police were to come by now, it’d just be ridiculous.”

Despite his confidence at the time, he was aware what he was doing was illegal.

"It's trafficking in marijuana under the law," he said. “Even if they convicted me I’d get a $100 fine or something so the amount of effort involved for the amount of result is not worth anybody’s time. And the cops would look like a bunch of idiots to come down here and they don’t want to do that.”


UPDATE: 11:45 a.m.

A Vancouver marijuana activist has been charged following a rally and pot seed give-away at a Calgary hotel.

Dana Larsen was in the city on Wednesday with his “Overgrow Canada” campaign in which he aims to hand out one million pot seeds to be planted in public places.

After the rally, as angry supporters watched, police took Larsen and another man into custody.

Larsen, who is 44, is facing charges of trafficking marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking

He has been released from custody and is to appear in court on May 18.

The other man was released without charges.


ORIGINAL APRIL 7

Vancouver marijuana activist Dana Larsen has been taken away by Calgary police after a rally and pot seed giveaway at a city hotel.

Larsen was in the city Wednesday with his “Overgrow Canada” campaign, for which he aims to hand out one million pot seeds to be planted in public places.

But after the rally, as angry supporters watched, officers escorted Larsen to a police car and Larsen told the crowd he and another man were being placed under arrest and his van was being confiscated.

Supporters chanted "Shame! Shame!" and Larsen invited others to come forward and ask to be arrested, though an officer told him: "We're not going to arrest anyone else."

Police issued a news release Wednesday night confirming that a man who had been distributing marijuana seeds at the rally had been arrested and charges were pending.

However, a duty inspector would not say whether or not the charges were pending against Larsen or the other man or both, saying nothing could be released until charges had been formally laid.

The police news release pointed out that under the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, it is illegal to distribute marijuana in any form regardless of whether payment is provided.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a promise to legalize marijuana but has recently said the process may be more difficult than expected, and he is wanting to consult with the provinces before taking any action.

Larsen led B.C.’s unsuccessful bid at a marijuana referendum and has run a medicinal cannabis dispensary for seven years.

He served 10 years as editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine was a founding member of the B.C. Marijuana Party and the Canadian Marijuana Party.

In 2011, he ran for the leadership of the provincial NDP in B.C.

On the website for his "Overgrow Canada" campaign, he calls on "all freedom-loving Canadians to grow a cannabis victory garden this spring!" and promised to mail pot seeds to anyone willing to pay the $2.50 shipping cost.

"You must pledge to grow these seeds openly and freely, preferably on your own property," he said on the website. "I hope to see cannabis growing in front lawns, back yards, patios and windowsills all across Canada."

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