There may be closed signs on the doors of dispensaries around Greater Victoria, but over at the B.C. legislature celebrations were underway Wednesday afternoon – complete with free joints for anyone swinging through.
Longtime cannabis activist Dana Larsen – who once ran for the B.C. NDP leadership against John Horgan – stood on the steps of the leg handing out marijuana plants, pre-rolled joints and cannabis seeds on the day Canada made weed legal.
“This is a historic day not only in Canada but all around the world,” Larsen said. “The eyes of the world are on us today.”
Holding a bag with joints ready to place in the hands of those in attendance, Larsen reminded people Wednesday’s event was both a celebration and a protest.
“Let’s celebrate the victory that we’ve had but let’s not forget we still have a lot of work to do and there’s still plenty of flaws in this legalization model,” he said.
Vancouver-based cannabis activist and dispensary owner Dana Larsen is giving away free joints and live plants at B.C. Legislature in celebration of cannabis legalization. #420canada #canadacannabis #legaliza pic.twitter.com/lP4i8pdY4B
— Victoria News (@VictoriaNews) October 17, 2018
The founder of the B.C. Marijuana Party, the Canadian Marijuana Party and the Vancouver Dispensary Society is well-known for his freebies. In 2016, he famously gave away more than 2 million cannabis seeds and 5 million more in 2017; he is also the author of Hairy Pothead and the Marijuana Stone, Green Buds and Hash and The Pie-Eyed Piper.
Speaking to a crowd assembled on the legislature lawn, Larsen called on the provincial government to end their “prohibition mentality.”
Disappointed with the way cannabis legislation has come down because of “harsh penalties” and “strict regulations far, far beyond the kind of rules and penalties they put in for alcohol,” Larsen said gathering at the legislature was a way of drawing attention to the way the B.C. NDP and the Green Party have handled the issue.
“It stigmatizes cannabis, there’s no reason for that and it’s the government telling us – don’t stigmatize drug users,” he explained. “That to me is an awful hypocrisy.”
– With files from Keri Coles and Arnold Lim