A Vancouver activist is doling out millions of cannabis seeds across Canada in an attempt to normalize the plant – and the culture – throughout the country.
Dana Larsen is the director of Overgrow Canada, a pro-cannabis campaign launched in 2016 that has included a cross-Canada speaking tour alongside a massive mail-out component. Interested Canadians sign up online and a bag of 100 seeds is shipped to their door. More than seven million seeds have been distributed since the crusade started.
The campaign is largely run by volunteers who sort, package and mail the seeds out across Canada. Larsen won’t reveal where he sources the seeds.
The strain distributed in the campaign is called Freedom Dream, which produce buds that contain around 10 percent CBD and less than 1 percent THC. Larsen says that was an intentional move.
“The goal of this campaign isn’t to give everyone dank nugs they can grow at home, the goal is to plant these seeds in public places to normalize these plants, like any other plant,” he tells Lift News. “There are many plants that grow out there in public places that are toxic, so I don’t see any harm of growing (cannabis plants) anywhere publicly at all.”
Larsen says giving away seeds to Canadians is an attempt to continue to normalize cannabis culture, which is something he’s been focused on doing since before head shops could openly sell cannabis paraphernalia.
“As an activist, this campaign is a culmination of this 20-30 year civil disobedience campaign we’ve been on,” he says. “Selling seeds, opening dispensaries, having rallies where we smoke openly and the final civil disobedience act is to grow cannabis publicly, openly, and without fear.”
Larsen was arrested for distributing seeds during a 2016 stop in Calgary but the charges were dismissed last October after Larsen’s lawyer argued the case too long to get to trial. The ordeal didn’t phase Larsen, who says peaceful activism is clearly making a difference and will continue to do so even after cannabis is legalized later this year.
“Even though the laws haven’t changed, we’ve effectively legalized bongs, pipes, dispensaries in some cities, seed banks, and cannabis rallies – not by changing the laws, but by defining it in an open and transparent fashion,” he says. “And having overwhelming numbers and public support, that police and authorities give up ultimately.”
Larsen says cannabis reform isn’t “the government magnanimously recognizing prohibition was wrong” but more of an attempt to regain control over something they lost a long time ago. “That the cannabis industry is way past where the laws are in Canada,” he says. “I just want to keep that campaign going.”
Overgrow Canada will continue until April 20th this year, and start up again next January. For now, Larsen has high hopes for what the country’s landscape will look like in the future.
“Nothing would make me happier than seeing every Canadian planting seeds on their front lawn as an act of defiance and having the police and courts say, we can’t handle this so we give up,” he says.