I am calling on all freedom-loving Canadians to grow a cannabis victory garden!
Between 2016 and 2018, I gave away over 9 million cannabis seeds across Canada.
How many more seeds can I share in 2019?
By Dana Larsen
As Canada moves into this new era of legalization, it’s good to remember how we got here. It is civil disobedience against the unjust pot prohibition laws that has gotten us to this point. We must keep up that momentum as we push for better laws and an end to the anti-cannabis mindset and stigma which is still embedded in our laws even now.
This is why I am calling on all freedom-loving Canadians to plant a cannabis victory garden in 2019!
I am giving away free packages of 100 cannabis seeds. I want you to plant these cannabis seeds in public places. Better yet, sprout the seeds at home and plant seedlings for better success. Let’s grow cannabis plants at city hall, in community gardens, in public parks, in traffic circles, in city planters, and everywhere else other plants can grow.
The purpose of this campaign is to normalize cannabis plants. Cannabis should grow everywhere other plants can grow. I want to live in a world where cannabis plants aren’t a big deal, and where there is no stigma to seeing cannabis plants growing openly.
MY TWO NATIONAL TOURS, ARREST AND TRIAL FOR SEEDS
When I launched the Overgrow Canada campaign in 2016, cannabis was still illegal. I did a national tour to 17 cities, and on my second stop in Calgary I was arrested and spent the night in jail. I still continued the tour across Canada and had no other police problems.
In 2o17 I did another national Overgrow tour, and made Calgary my last stop. Although some police did show up, they didn’t make any arrests and I was able to give away seeds as planned. At the end of 2017 I had a trial, and the judge dismissed all the charges.
I didn’t make a national tour in 2018, but I continued the Overgrow Canada campaign and gave away almost two million seeds by mail.
Now it’s 2019, and the Overgrow Canada campaign continues!
CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IS THE PATH TO FREEDOM
Every step on the path to legalization has been won through disobedience to the cannabis laws.
When the modern legalization movement took hold in the early 90s, there was laws on the books which prohibited the sale or even promotion of bongs and vaporizers, as well as banning books and movies in favour of legalization. Yet dozens of stores began opening across Canada, and many brave people were raided and charged for book and bong sales during this time.
Before he was known for selling seeds, Marc Emery was repeatedly being raided for selling bongs, and is likely the only Canadian with a criminal record for “promoting vaporizers.”
Yet the campaign of opening these new “hemp stores” was so successful, that after several years the police simply gave up enforcing the ludicrous anti-bong laws in most of the country. Canadians are always shocked when I explain how these anti-bong and anti-book laws were still on the books in Canada, and that every year a few bong shops would still get raided by local police. (In Winnipeg especially, local police launched regular raids and seizures against bongs shops.)
Using “illicit cannabis” is still banned in Canada, but we have often made police turn a blind eye to that as well. Cannabis freedom rallies began in the big cities like Vancouver and Toronto, and faced harassment and arrests in the early days. The early pot-friendly “vapour lounges” also faced pressure and harassment from police.
But here too, once again we have simply overgrown the government. There are now a growing number of toke-friendly lounges, and dozens of cities now celebrate annual events like 4/20 and the Global Marijuana March with flagrant and fragrant public use and celebration of cannabis.
After bongs, books and possession, we began fighting against the ban on selling and sharing cannabis. First we started giving away joints at our rallies, then we held marijuana raffles. Some brave people began selling joints and cookies at 4/20, and over the years we continued to push, so that in big cities like Vancouver and Toronto, cannabis is now very openly bought and sold during several cannabis festivals.
The birth of the cannabis dispensary movement also came from civil disobedience. The first dispensaries were in California, called “compassion clubs” because they focused on helping AIDS patients during the peak of that epidemic. The influence of those clubs spread to Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto and other cities, where compassion clubs began opening in the mid-90s.
About a decade ago the dispensary movement began to expand. After opening Vancouver’s third dispensary in 2008, I started helping others to launch their own dispensaries, and have since spent hundreds of hours teaching people how to open dispensaries across the country. Another activist, Don Briere, has created a franchise called Weeds, and currently runs over 17 locations nationwide.
Once again, this campaign of civil disobedience has paid off tremendously. There are now hundreds of dispensaries across Canada! We didn’t wait for a free cannabis market, we created it!
The federal laws have changed, and although the federal system is deeply flawed we have entered a new era of cannabis in Canada. We made this happen by defying the law and forcing change.
OVERGROW THE GOVERNMENT
So now we see that the cannabis legalization movement is the largest ever civil disobedience campaign in Canada’s history! But we’re not done yet. The next step must be to complete our campaign to “overgrow the government.”
We have forced the government to end prohibition, but the legalization they’re giving us is not good enough. The rules, permits and punishments they have put in place continue the stigma and persecution of cannabis and cannabis users.
This is not the time to step back and wait for the government to take over cannabis. Now is the time to seize the moment, seize our freedom and plant our victory gardens!
Our movement has never been based on patiently waiting for politicians to grant us freedom. Cannabis liberation is about peaceful defiance, and standing up against unjust laws, not only with words, but with concrete action.
So this is my rallying cry for all Canadians. If you love cannabis, if you love freedom, or if you just love your country, then plant some cannabis seeds this spring, and we will all reap a wonderful harvest together.
It doesn’t matter if you plan on using the buds. It doesn’t matter if the plants are female or male. It doesn’t matter if they grow 10 feet tall, or just 10 inches. All that matters is that Canadians join together, to plant these seeds and claim our right to grow in our gardens.
A seed, some soil, sunlight and water. That is how we will finally end the stigma around cannabis. I hope you will join me in planting the seeds of freedom from coast to coast!