Article by Sarah Berman, Vice
Do you remember where you were when someone told you weed legalization would start in spring 2017?
Well, earlier this month the health minister decided to throw cold water on your vaping-in-Parliament idea, saying the government no longer has a “specific timeline” on when weed will actually be legal. Trudeau will still be introducing new weed laws in the spring, which will at earliest be passed next winter or early 2018. Even then, it could take until after the next election to get the the regulatory process up and running, according to Minister Jane Philpott. In the meantime, recreational pot shops will keep opening and pot arrests will continue.
Apparently none of this news is going to stop Vancouver pot activist Dana Larsen from mailing free marijuana seeds to anyone in Canada who wants some. He says he already mailed out two million weed seeds in 2016, and wants to up that to five million in 2017, in an effort to normalize growing at home.
Larsen did run into some legal trouble at an Alberta stop of a cross-Canada tour last summer, but is out on bail and likely won’t be going to trial for trafficking until next year. He’s not too concerned about getting sent back to jail, either. “Regardless of how this goes for me, we’ll still be continuing the seed giveaway,” he told VICE.
With so much weed news ahead of us, we caught up with Larsen to find out where he sees battles being fought and won in 2017.
VICE: Last time we spoke you were just starting to give away seeds in early 2016. In your view, has Canada’s weed landscape changed since then?
Dana Larsen: Federally, nothing’s changed. We had the commission give some good recommendations, but we’re still living under Stephen Harper’s mandatory minimums. Trudeau’s been adamant that they’re not going to stop arrests, and the law is the law and the law must be enforced. I see a lot of people arrested for possession and minor offences over the next couple years, so that’s disappointing. We want them to act faster, especially to stop arrests, even just for possession or cultivation of two plants. Just some easing up off prohibition.