Dana Larsen's "Overgrow Canada" tour - a cross-country campaign to dispense cannabis seeds and encourage Canadians to grow "victory gardens" this spring - hit a bump in the road on April 6. At a tour stop in Calgary, the longtime marijuana activist from B.C. confronted police when he learned they were arresting one of his volunteers outside the venue.
"I went out there and said 'if you're going to be arresting anyone for sharing cannabis seeds it's going to be me,' " Larsen told Metro News. "So, I gave him a handful of seeds and the officer arrested me as well."
Trafficking in front of uniformed officers gave police no choice but to arrest Larsen, according to Inspector Mike Bossley. "I would say we didn't have any other options."
But less than 24 hours later, Larsen was out on bail and en route to the tour's next stop in Edmonton, where he said that the arrest has only motivated him and fuelled his campaign with greater public interest.
"This is actually going to get more and more attention to this campaign than ever before," he said. "Requests for seeds have been pouring in at a level we haven't had before and certainly this is going to result in a lot more attention to what I'm trying to do and ultimately probably help our overgrow Canada campaign."
It's not the first time Larsen has made creative attempts and very publicized attempts to raise awareness of the issue. Here are three others:
1. Have some cannabis with that coffee table book
Last December, Larsen promoted his latest book - Cannabis in Canada: The Illustrated History - by sending review copies to Liberal Members of Parliament with a gram of medical-grade marijuana tucked in the envelope.
"Since they are soon to be legalizing cannabis it is a good time for them to learn about the history of how cannabis is such an important part of our country's history," Larsen told Radio-Canada. "I included a gram for them because it is also a good time for them to re-familiarize themselves with the pleasant effects of cannabis, and to remember why so many Canadians enjoy using cannabis for medicine and relaxation."
2. Marijuana as an effective negotiating tool
A year before mailing marijuana to Liberal MP's across the country, Larsen shipped a heftier haul of cannabis to B.C. Premier Christy Clark during her standoff with the province's teachers' union, which went on strike in 2014.
"I thought if [Clark] could get together with...their negotiating teams to share a joint, it would help break down some barriers and give the BCTF negotiations a fresh start," Larsen said via news release. And he picked a special strain for the standoff. "It's a variety called Purple Kush, which has a relaxing effect while also promoting good conversation. It would be perfect for a late-night negotiating session."
But the mailing was also an attempt to remind both sides that marijuana could help solve the province's fiscal problems and help improve the education system.
"I wanted to remind the Premier that legalization would mean over $200-million in annual savings and revenue for her government," said Larsen. "Legal, taxed marijuana sales would mean a lot more money for our schools, as well as hospitals, libraries and other community services."
3. Larsen's 'Green Buds and Hash'
To promote the benefits of medical marijuana, Larsen wrote and marketed a parody of Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham" titled "Green Buds and Hash." The 2008 book is a debate between Mr. Stash and a patient who could benefit from medical marijuana if he would only give it a try. Here's a reading of the book produced in 2010 by Pot TV.
4. Reefer Rowling/M.J. Rowling* (Another suggestion?)
The Dr. Seuss parody wasn't Larsen's first marijuana mashup. In 2007, Larsen published the parody "Hairy Pothead and the Marijuana Stone." Here's a sampling of Larsen's punning on Harry Potterisms:
- Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry = Hempwards School of Hempcraft and Weedery
- Severus Snape - Vacuous Vape
- Slythern = Snitcherin
And here's a clip of Larsen promoting the book (following a bust) at the 2011 Cannabis Cup.
Banner Image: Dana Larsen Talks To The Media / 2008 / Dave O / Flickr