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BC:Smells like a good read

by papapuff » Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:43 pm

MetroNews Canada



B.C. activist in town to talk pot, spread thousands of cannabis seeds

Dana Larsen has shipped millions of cannabis seeds across Canada in an effort to 'normalize the cultivation' of the plant ahead of marijuana legalization.

By: Jessica Botelho-Urbanski For Metro Published on Mon Apr 03 2017

The man who’s helped ship millions of cannabis seeds across the country for the last couple years is visiting Winnipeg Monday to drop off tens of thousands more.

B.C.-based cannabis advocate Dana Larsen, 45, is touring cross-country with his group Overgrow Canada, which aims to hand out five million cannabis seeds this year.

In 2016, they spread 2.5 million seeds, encouraging Canadians to plant cannabis in public places like parks to "normalize the cultivation" of the plant, Larsen said in an interview Monday.

On Overgrow Canada's Facebook page, hundreds of photos submitted show pot plants growing in public spaces, such as parks or boulevards, and in peoples' private homes.

"That to me is real legalization. It doesn’t really matter what Trudeau does after that. If cannabis is growing openly from coast to coast and nobody is enforcing that law, then we’ve won," he said.

In Winnipeg, Larsen will speak at the Gwen Secter Creative Living Centre (1588 Main St.) at 7 p.m. Monday about "the hidden history of cannabis in Canada," how to open dispensaries and what’s coming down the pipe for marijuana legalization.

"I don’t believe legalization is coming next year at all… I think it’s going to be coming eventually, probably after the next election or longer," he said.

Larsen believes public pressure it’s what’s spurring the federal government into legalizing pot and "the dispensary movement is winning by and large across the country."

"Politicians aren’t promising to legalize because they believe prohibition is wrong or they believe cannabis is good, or any of those kinds of ideas. They’re trying to call for legalization because they’ve lost control over cannabis prohibition," Larsen said.

Every person who attends Larsen’s talks can take home at least 100 cannabis seeds, he said. So come next spring, Winnipeg could look much more green.

"If you see pot plants growing around Winnipeg or anywhere else, the odds are I had something to do with it," Larsen said.
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by papapuff » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:47 pm

Globalnews.ca


April 5, 2017 2:48 pm


Marijuana activist prepared for possible rearrest in Calgary

By Tracy Nagai
Reporter Global News

A British Columbian marijuana activist doesn’t want to be arrested again, but he knows it’s a possibility come Friday.

“I’m willing to face the consequences of my actions and if the police choose to come after me for giving away cannabis seeds, I’m still going to give them away,” said Dana Larsen during a Skype interview with Global News from Saskatoon.

Larsen is touring the country as part of his “Overgrow Canada Tour” and will be in Calgary on April 7.

“I want Canadians to grow cannabis openly and freely. I want to live in a country where if you see some cannabis plants growing in somebody’s front yard, it’s not a big deal,” Larsen said.

But not everyone agrees with Larsen’s tactics. Last year, he was arrested in Calgary for handing out free medical-grade cannabis seeds at one of his rallies.

Angry people shouted “Shame!” at police as he was escorted away. Larsen spent the night in jail and is currently out on conditions.

He’s expected in a Calgary courtroom in May to face last year’s charges.

“It was interesting because I went to 20 more cities after Calgary on my tour and I had no police problems anywhere else in the country,” Larsen said.

Larsen’s stop in Calgary comes days ahead of a major move by the Liberal government. Legislation is expected to be announced this month that would legalize recreational pot by July 1, 2018.

Police don’t want to add more hype to the upcoming event and won’t definitively say if they plan to arrest Larsen once again.

“This is a contentious issue because of all the different social opinions surrounding marijuana,” said Acting Insp. Darren Berglind with the Calgary Police Service.

The Calgary Police Service issued a statement Wednesday: “By standard practice the Calgary Police Service does not disclose investigative tactics or operational plans. Nor do we disclose information in relation to specific individuals. We are aware of the event.”

“I think it leaves police in a difficult position where they either have to be seen as ignoring the law, or they’re going to have to enforce the law, and they have an obligation to enforce the law,” said Matthew Deshaye, a Calgary defence lawyer with Dunn & Associates.

While Larsen doesn’t necessarily want to be arrested again, he admits the publicity hasn’t hurt.

“It probably enabled me to give away a million more seeds with all the attention I got,” Larsen said.

Larsen’s rally will take place on Friday, April 7 between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the Forest Heights Community Hall.
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by papapuff » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:16 pm

Castanet.net



Arrest won't stop pot activist

Nicholas Johansen - Apr 7, 2017

One year after he was arrested for distributing cannabis seeds in Calgary, Dana Larsen was back Kelowna Thursday night, distributing seeds on his Overgrow Canada tour.

Larsen, a long-time marijuana activist from Vancouver, has been travelling across Canada for the past month, speaking about the history of pot prohibition in Canada, and handing out thousands of seeds to those interested.

The East Kelowna Community Hall was packed with about 100 people Thursday night who had come to hear Larsen speak. He began his tour on March 9 in Kamloops, making it to St. John's, N.L., on March 26, and then headed back west. Larsen said Kelowna was his 22nd stop in the past month.

“The giving away of these seeds is the final phase of a civil disobedience campaign that started with bongs and pipes and seed banks and rallies and now dispensaries are covering the country,” he said Thursday night. “I think growing cannabis openly in defiance of the law, if we can accomplish that and make it so the police can't keep up, that's what legalization looks like.”

Larsen stopped in Kelowna for a similar event in March 2016.

Larsen is heading back to Calgary Friday for the final stop on his tour, exactly one year after his arrest. He is currently on bail, and is facing charges of trafficking marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking for handing out the seeds last year.

He says it was the first time he has ever been charged in the 25 years he's been advocating for marijuana legalization.

“I'm a little nervous about flying there, but I really don't think the police are going to want to come again, I think they're going to leave it up to the courts to figure out what to do with me,” he said. “But I didn't think they'd come last time either and I was wrong, so we'll see how it plays out.”

He says his trial is scheduled for sometime next year, but he doesn't believe it will actually take place.

The federal government has announced plans for legalizing marijuana by July 4, 2018, but Larsen says there's “not a hope” he'll be able to walk into a government-approved shop on that date and purchase pot.

“Maybe the federal government will have their rules in place by then, but the provinces will not, and the provinces are going to have to do most of the work,” he said.

And this skepticsm is what is pushing Larsen to continue his tour.

“We will not get to legalization by waiting for politicians, that's not what got us this far,” he said. “We'll get to legalization by making it happen on our own, and one of the ways we do that is by defying these laws openly and transparently.”
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by papapuff » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:50 am

Calgary Herald



Pot activist makes Calgary tour stop one year after arrest

RYAN RUMBOLT
Published on: April 7, 2017

Cannabis activist Dana Larsen had a much warmer welcome in Calgary than he did a year ago when a talk on marijuana and a free seed giveaway landed him behind bars for the night.

Calgary was the last stop on Larsen’s cross-country, 23 city “OverGrow Canada 2017” tour, where the outspoken marijuana advocate spoke to hundreds of likeminded Calgarians on “the hidden history of cannabis in Canada.”

Larsen also gave advice on how to start your own medical marijuana dispensary and gives away seeds for free.

But a shadow loomed over the event before it even got started due to Larsen’s arrest in Calgary at a similar event last year. Larsen was arrested and charged with one count of trafficking marijuana and one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking and the activist spent the night in custody before being released on bail.

Despite the charges and a small police presence of two officers at the event, Larsen said this year the tour is expected to give away approximately five million seeds by April 20, more than twice the number he gave away last year.

“It drew major attention, it let me double my seed giveaway from one to two million seeds (last year),” Larsen said. “So if they want to arrest me again … these arrests usually end up drawing more attention and support for the person they are arresting than not.”

On April 6, 2016, Larsen was arrested at the Days Inn on Macleod Trail South for distributing seeds. Officers also searched the van belonging to the event organizer and seized 119 grams of marijuana worth about $1,190, 1,097 grams of marijuana seeds worth about $30,000, and a small amount of cannabis resin and oil.

Larsen will be back in Calgary next month for a preliminary hearing on the charges on May 9 and 10. If there is a trial next year, he will be back to attend it, but he said he is doubtful the charges will go to trial.

Larsen said his arrest in Calgary last year was the first time he was arrested for cannabis in 25 years of activism.

Event organizer Sebastian Campbell said there was an emergency plan in place to form a human chain to “stonewall” officers if police tried to arrest Larsen again, but the human shield was not needed as officers left the venue as the event was set to begin.

Campbell said he was nervous to bring Larsen to Calgary after the arrest last year but was hopeful the event would send a message that legalization is on the way for Canadians.

“So I think this year, Dana being here is going to put a big toll on the way Calgary takes legalization,” Campbell said. “Because if he doesn’t get arrested tonight it’ll show how much further we are along than we were last year.”

Larsen said his tour is part of more than two decades of rallying against the prohibition of marijuana, encouraging “civil disobedience” from Canadians to plant so many cannabis seeds that “police just kind of give up enforcing that .”

“The message is that we don’t get to legalization by waiting for politicians to do something on our behalf; we get there by making change ourselves,” Larsen said.
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by papapuff » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:53 am

660 News



A peaceful second visit to Calgary for pot activist Dana Larsen

LOCAL
by CHRIS BOWEN
Posted Apr 7, 2017

Pot activist Dana Larsen’s visit to Calgary on Friday night was a lot less dramatic than the last time he was here.

Larsen was once again handing out thousands cannabis seeds, one year after he was arrested for trafficking after doing the same thing last year.

He said the crowd that gathered to hear him speak in the Forest Heights Community Centre was the largest he’s seen on his countrywide tour. He believes a reason for that is the publicity generated by his arrest in Calgary.

“The arrest last year, although it was not much fun, ultimately helped me give away a million more seeds in terms of the attention it got,” Larsen said.

Larsen toured the country to talk about the “hidden history” of cannabis in Canada.

“I say that at the end of my talk you may agree, that the leaf on our flag should really be a cannabis leaf, because that plant is so much more important to our country than the maple leaf has ever been.”

At one point Friday night, police were present in the community centre’s parking lot, but they did not make any arrests and left after a short time.
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by papapuff » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:56 am

CBC.ca



Dana Larsen returns to Calgary with free marijuana seeds

'I'm on a mission and I think it's important that I come back and continue sharing out these cannabis seeds'

CBC News Posted: Apr 07, 2017

Dana Larsen returned to Calgary with free marijuana seeds, despite a looming court date related to a similar event last year.

The Vancouver-based marijuana legalization activist gave a talk on the history of cannabis in Canada at the Forest Heights Community Association on Friday night.

Afterwards, Calgarians helped themselves to packets of seeds.

"It's not a harmful plant. Grow them in your backyards, grow them on your patios," said Matt Shamoan, who picked up some seeds. "They should just grow beside the other flowers that are already growing."

Two police officers were outside the building, but the event concluded without incident.

A year ago, Larsen was arrested in Calgary during a similar event. He was charged with one count of trafficking marijuana and one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking. He is scheduled to appear in a Calgary courtroom on May 9 and 10 for a preliminary hearing.

Earlier in the day, Larsen told CBC's the Calgary Eyeopener that he was a "little nervous" about the event.

"But I'm on a mission and I think it's important that I come back and continue sharing out these cannabis seeds," he said.

Larsen said a quick Google searched turned up other places where Calgarians can buy "high potency marijuana seeds over the counter," so he wasn't sure why police officers turned up at his event in 2016.

"Last time, after I was arrested, I went to 20 more cities. This time I've been to 22 cities across the country already and no other police force has seen fit to interfere or to prioritize my seed giveaway as something they think is worth their attention."

Calgary was the final stop on Larsen's cross-Canada tour. Calgary Cannabis organized the meeting.
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by papapuff » Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:02 am

calgaryherald.com



Breakenridge: Liberals should have announced an amnesty for pot prosecutions

ROB BREAKENRIDGE, FOR THE CALGARY HERALD
Published on: April 11, 2017

In sharp contrast to last year, marijuana activist Dana Larsen’s latest visit to Calgary ended up being uneventful, at least from a law enforcement perspective.

As part of Larsen’s cross-country Overgrow Canada tour, he was handing out marijuana seeds to those in attendance at Friday’s event. Police were briefly present, but left without incident.

It’s certainly understandable why police would avoid making a fuss. For one thing, there are numerous places in Calgary where marijuana seeds can be obtained. If Calgary police are going to turn a blind eye to that, it wouldn’t make sense to start arresting people at Larsen’s event. Moreover, there’s the additional hassle of having to prove that these are, in fact, viable marijuana seeds.

Of course, there are two much larger issues at play here. One is the fact that we may be just days away from legislation being tabled to finally legalize marijuana. The other is that delays in Alberta’s court system have become rather acute. For those two reasons alone, marijuana arrests should not be a priority.

Despite the fact that common sense prevailed Friday night, that wasn’t the case last year. In fact, Larsen will have to make a return visit to our city next month, as he is set to face a preliminary hearing on charges of trafficking marijuana and of possession for the purpose of trafficking.


It probably doesn’t help the case against him that police decided to shrug and go home when the accused came back and did the same thing that precipitated the charges in the first place. It’s hard to imagine another scenario where police would respond accordingly.

As police noted last year, “under the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, it is illegal to distribute marijuana in any form, regardless of whether payment is provided.”

So if it was serious enough last year that police felt compelled to lay charges, how is it that precisely the same thing was so unserious that police simply went home? Or, conversely, why the need for such a heavy-handed response last year?

Even though Calgary was the only city where charges were laid on the Overgrow Canada tour, this is obviously not just a Calgary problem.

To illustrate the absurd lengths some police forces are still willing to go to, the day after Larsen’s Calgary stop, RCMP in Hanna were executing a search warrant on a home there. A subsequent press release the following day boasted of the fact that a single marijuana plant (yes, one lone plant), in addition to some growing equipment, was seized.

Is that then to say that everyone who took home some seeds from Larsen’s event might expect police to come break down their door in the weeks and months ahead?

It does appear that marijuana-related arrests have slowed down since the Liberals took power in 2015, but tens of thousands of Canadians are still being charged each year. And what exactly are these charges accomplishing?

There doesn’t appear to be any measurable deterrent effect, and at this point, with legalization looming, why should there be? Moreover, in the case of marijuana possession, who is the victim of this crime in the first place? There’s little reason why this should be a priority.

As a report last year from the C.D. Howe institute noted, “the criminalization of marijuana may have resulted in a significant waste of police and judicial resources.” That’s even more true now.

When the Conservatives got elected on a promise to scrap the long-gun registry, they implemented an amnesty for gun owners until the promise could be kept. It would obviously have made little sense to continue prosecuting people for something that the government didn’t believe to be a crime and would soon no longer be a crime at all. The Liberals should have done the same thing here.

Given the mess it’s created, legalization can’t happen fast enough.
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by papapuff » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:39 pm

Straight.com



Cannabis plants spotted growing at Vancouver City Hall community garden promptly removed after report

Activist Dana Larsen says cannabis plants are harmless and should be viewed and grown like any other agricultural product

by Amanda Siebert on April 25th, 2017

In an article posted earlier today by the South China Morning Post, Vancouver correspondent Ian Young reported that something other than veggies was growing in the community garden at Vancouver City Hall.

As of Monday morning (April 24), the plants stood roughly 20 centimetres high. They were found in grey planters near the centre of the garden. (See the photographs in Young's original story here.)

Young contacted UBC botany professor Jonathan Page to confirm that the plants were indeed cannabis, though it's uncertain whether they were hemp—the version of the plant often used in textiles and a host of other applications—or the flower-bearing version of the plant known as marijuana, which contains higher levels of THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the high one feels after consumption.

Despite the perceived grey area around laws in Vancouver, growing cannabis outside of Canada's federally licensed program is still illegal and considered so by the Vancouver Police Department.

City staff were notified of the plants. When the Straight visited the garden this afternoon, no cannabis could be seen in the grey planters indicated in Young’s photographs.

Though no one is sure where the plants came from, the Straight called cannabis activist Dana Larsen, whose OverGrow Canada campaign has seen approximately five million cannabis seeds mailed across the country and given away at 4/20 rallies to those interested in participating.

The campaign calls on "all freedom-loving Canadians to grow a cannabis victory garden" and, in instructions posted on OverGrow Canada's website, Larsen suggests that these seeds be planted "at City Hall, in front of the local police station, in storefront planters, and other highly visible places."

"I hope [the plants] are from our campaign, but I know we're not the only ones with the same idea," Larsen told the Straight by phone this afternoon. "Regardless, if they're my seeds or someone else's, I hope that it keeps happening."

He added that it's unfortunate to see the effort spent to remove them so quickly, but said he was glad to hear that the plants got some attention.

For Larsen, the initiative to see cannabis grown in outdoor gardens and public spaces is all part of his goal to normalize the plant.

"I want to live in a country where you see cannabis growing in somebody's front yard, and it's not a big deal," he said.

Larsen acknowledged concerns from parents and politicians about plants growing in areas where children play, but debunked the idea that cannabis plants can be harmful.

"People always worry about playgrounds and schools, but the truth is cannabis is fine for a playground—there's no harm from it growing as a plant, and there are far more toxic, dangerous plants at elementary schools around the country than anything cannabis ever could be," Larsen said. "I don't see any harm in cannabis plants growing in places where any other plants can grow."

This year's OverGrow Canada campaign has come to a close, but Larsen said anyone interested in receiving seeds as part of the 2018 campaign can pre-register now.
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by papapuff » Fri May 12, 2017 3:14 pm

Castanet.net



Cannabis activist in town

Deborah Pfeiffer - May 12, 2017

Cannabis activist Dana Larsen will make a stop in Penticton this weekend.

Larsen is one of the guest lecturers, giving a talk during the Grassland exhibit at the Penticton Art Gallery.

"It's a big thing for us," said Petra Holler with the gallery. "He's the founder of Sensible BC and a well know advocate for cannabis."

Larsen is one of Canada’s most well-known advocates for cannabis reform and an end to the global war on drugs.

He served ten years as editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine, was the co-founder of the Vancouver Seed Bank and is the former vice president of the Canadian Association of Cannabis Dispensaries.

He also currently serves as founding director of the Vancouver Dispensary Society.

More recently, he founded the Overgrow Canada campaign, distributing more than 2.3 million cannabis seeds in the spring of 2016. He embarked on a larger seed giveaway starting in January 2017.

According to Holler the gallery is the last stop on his tour.

Larsen is slated to speak at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

This will be followed by Patrick "Redbeard" Vrolyk doing a live glass blowing demonstration at the gallery at 4 p.m.. His "Glassland" exhibit has run in conjunction with Grassland at the gallery.

Both Saturday events are free and open to the public.

Sunday is also the last day for both exhibits.
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by papapuff » Sun May 14, 2017 12:24 pm

Castanet.net



Marijuana activist in town

Deborah Pfeiffer - May 14, 2017

Marijuana activist Dana Larsen was in Penticton Saturday to talk about cannabis and hand out seeds.

The stop came at the end of his OverGrow Canada tour and was tied to the Grassland exhibit at the Penticton Art Gallery.

"It's great to be here," he said. "It's nice to see some of my things in the exhibit and other people's great stuff too."

Larsen has been on the cross-Canada tour this year, sharing stories on the history of cannabis and handing out about 5 million seeds.

On Saturday he was introduced by gallery curator Paul Crawford before talking to the crowd of people of all ages about the tour, how important the plant has been to the economy and its history.

Among the highlights were early farming of cannabis, the ultra potent medical marijuana used in the 1800s and the first recorded hashish overdose in Canada in the 1850s.

He further discussed prohibition starting with the war on opium in the early 1900s, with raids on opium dens and the very real fears expressed by white residents of the country at the time.

The real start of the very real war on cannabis started in the 1930s with the RCMP burning hemp fields and going after pharmacists, with the first reported trafficking conviction being for a pharmacist who was selling pre-rolled joints.

In the 1950s and 60s cannabis use increased with the beat and hippie movements gaining momentum.

In the 1960s, however, cannabis laws remained very strict with people facing lengthy mandatory sentences for possession.

By the 1970s, he said, people were convinced that former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's government was going to legalize marijuana, but by the 1980s the war on drugs was in full swing.

Hundreds of head shops were shut down, he recalled, and getting a bong in Canada was very hard.

The mid 1990s saw the resurgence of the modern marijuana movement.

Selling seeds became more widely accepted but just last year, Larsen explained, he was charged in Calgary for giving away seeds.

He concluded by saying it is still a story that has a long way to go.

He encouraged people to stay involved by donating money to legalization and showing up at rallies.

"If you plant the seeds of cannabis," he said. "Together we can reap a harvest of freedom."

People were invited to ask questions at the end of his talk, take home seeds and check out the display of books written by Larsen including "Cannabis in Canada, The Illustrated History."

Sunday is the last day of the Grassland and Glassland exhibits at the art gallery.
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by papapuff » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:57 pm

Straight.com



Two scraggly cannabis plants found growing near City Hall

by Amanda Siebert on July 17th, 2017

In late April, a cannabis plant was found growing in the community garden at City Hall, and removed promptly by city officials.

Today, cannabis activist Dana Larsen informed the Straight that two more plants have popped up in the building's vicinity.

The first is growing directly in front of a sign welcoming visitors to Vancouver, while the second is located across the street.

Despite the perceived grey area around laws in Vancouver, growing cannabis outside of Canada's federally licensed program is still illegal and considered so by the Vancouver Police Department.

Through his OverGrow Canada campaign, Larsen has given away approximately five million cannabis seeds, mailing them across the country and handing them out at cannabis rallies and protests.

The campaign calls on "all freedom-loving Canadians to grow a cannabis victory garden" and, in instructions posted on OverGrow Canada's website, Larsen suggests that these seeds be planted "at City Hall, in front of the local police station, in storefront planters, and other highly visible places."

The initiative to see cannabis grown in outdoor gardens and public spaces is all part of his goal to normalize the plant.

"I want to live in a country where you see cannabis growing in somebody's front yard, and it's not a big deal," he told the Sraight in April.

Though no one knows whether or not these plants came from Larsen's seeds, there is one thing we can bet on: it won't be long before city officials send someone down to remove them.
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by papapuff » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:18 am

Vancouver Sun



Vancouver pot activist calls for open cultivation of cannabis plants

Patrick Johnston PATRICK JOHNSTON
Published on: July 23, 2017 |

A cannabis plant in every yard?

That could be the slogan for Dana Larsen’s Overgrow Canada pot-seed campaign.

The marijuana advocate led a project this year to give away 5 million cannabis seeds this year; last year he and his colleagues gave away 2.5 million.

“We’re encouraging people to plant them openly,” he said Sunday. “The goal is to normalize cannabis growing.”

It’s a continuation of a civil disobedience campaign, following on from the growth of bong shops and dispensaries in many communities across Canada.

One of his contacts spotted a pair of cannabis plants growing in the flower beds around Vancouver city hall. That was a great thing to see, he said.

“I want to be in a country where growing a plant in your front is a common thing,” he said.

Cannabis plants growing wild aren’t any more dangerous than other plants he pointed out.

“I look at my yard, there’s morning glory taking over — it’s actually hallucinogenic,” he said. “So don’t feel there’s any concern about that. There’s no harm being near a cannabis plant.”

“Munching on a cannabis bud, nothing’s going to happen at all. It’s not actually nice to chew on, it’s not like a bright red berry that grows everywhere and is toxic to kids.”
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