British Columbia

Not so fast: federal prosecutors appeal drug possession, trafficking case involving B.C. pot activist

Dana Larsen was charged in Calgary in April 2016, after handing out marijuana seeds during a speaking tour. The charges were thrown out in November after an application argued the case was taking too long to get to trial.

Dana Larsen was charged in Calgary after handing out marijuana seeds during speaking tour

Dana Larsen, a B.C. pot activist and dispensary owner, shared his thoughts on the legalization of recreational marijuana with MPs in Ottawa in September, 2017. (CBC)

An appeal has been filed by federal Crown prosecutors in Alberta in a case involving B.C. pot activist Dana Larsen.

The appeal is an attempt to convince the court that previous drug possession and trafficking charges still should proceed against the Vancouver born-and-raised man who led a failed referendum to relax marijuana enforcement laws in 2013.

"I was very surprised and kind of confused as to why they're doing that," Larsen said after learning of the notice of appeal.

Marijuana activist Dana Larsen was arrested and charged in Calgary in April, 2016 for handing out free cannabis seeds. (CBC)

In April 2016, Larsen, now 46, was arrested in Calgary after handing out marijuana seeds to people who had attended his speaking tour, which he says visited 14 cities.

He handed out the seeds to encourage people to grow their own marijuana.

He was charged on counts of drug possession and trafficking, but those charges were eventually thrown out after his lawyer Kirk Tousaw successfully argued Larsen's rights were violated because it took too long for the case to make it through the court system.

A date has not been set for Larsen's next appearance in Calgary, although he expects it to come sometime in the spring or summer.

He says six months will have to be set aside to argue the application that the case featured unfair delays.

Larsen says he's surprised about the appeal because of delays Alberta's courts are facing.

"Whatever you think about cannabis, it should be lower on the list," he said.

Still Larsen admits that handing out marijuana seeds is against the law and he's willing to accept responsibility if the court ends up ruling against him.

"If there's a penalty involved then I'm willing to pay it because I believe in what I was doing," he said.