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As one of Canada’s leading cannabis activists, Dana Larsen has built a career bending and breaking the rules. As something of a provocateur in the space, Larsen is the founding member of the BC Marijuana Party, the author of several books about cannabis, and he’s the man behind the “Overgrow Canada” movement that last year sent out 5,000 cannabis seeds to politicians, the public and the media.

Larsen’s accomplishments in cannabis don’t end there. He spent 10 years as the editor of the popular Cannabis Culture magazine; he is the co-founder of the Canadian Association of Cannabis Dispensaries; he is founding director of the Vancouver Dispensary Society; and he’s the founder of Sensible BC, the country’s largest grassroots cannabis reform organization.

Perhaps the most recognizable item on Larsen’s extensive CV is his work with Vancouver’s notorious and beloved 4/20 celebration at Sunset Beach. As lead organizer of the event, Larsen continues to count 4/20 in Vancouver – arguably the largest, and most contentious, celebration of its kind that day, the world over – as a feather in his cap. Most cannabis users would light up to that fact!

A man who has never shied away from using civil disobedience as a tool to achieve earnest ends, Larsen believes his role in cannabis will be more pointed as the years pass. Where extreme measures were once employed to draw attention to the need for cannabis reform, the role of the activist in Canada, believes Larson, is beginning to change.

“My focus as a cannabis activist will be less on the federal government and more on the provincial and municipal government,” he says. “I think the provinces are more open to changing some of the rules, and the municipal government will be putting a lot of the details in. And so I’ll be working with people in British Columbia and across Canada, to let them know what’s going on in their community and help effect change.”

As Canada readies for implementation of Bill C-45, legislation that will permit the federal sale and use of cannabis in the country, Larsen wants to open up a dialogue on the allowance of all drugs for personal use. Where cannabis once played lead character in his professional story, Larsen plans to spend more time in future focusing on other revolutions.

“For me as an activist, it’s always been about more than cannabis – it’s been about the whole war on drugs. I think the next step after cannabis will be psychedelics and infusions. I see both going through the same transition of thought that cannabis went through, from being viewed as a hedonistic pastime, to a beneficial medicine.”

Regardless of how he manages to help affect changes to the general drug policy tapestry, Larsen says cannabis will continue to hold a special place in his heart and mandate. In fact, he plans on continuing this year with the “Overgrow Canada” operation, adding to the tally of 2.3 million seeds he’s already given away, free of charge.

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