back to top

This Guy Is The Reason Pot Plants Are Popping Up In Public Places Across Canada

"We'll keep doing this every year, keep doubling it and reach even more people."

Posted on

This is Dana Larsen, a Vancouver-based cannabis activist who has spent more than a decade fighting for full legalization.

Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press

Larsen was one of the founding members of the B.C. Marijuana Party and the Marijuana Party of Canada. He also runs a medical marijuana dispensary, has written several books about pot, and led a 2013 campaign to put the pot laws in B.C. to a referendum (although it fell short of the required signatures).

This spring, Larsen launched a cross-country tour with an ambitious goal to give away a million marijuana seeds for free to anyone who wanted some. The Overgrow Canada campaign proved so popular, though, that Larsen ended up more than doubling that total.

The goal of Overgrow Canada was to plant as many seeds as possible, both on private and public property, as an act of civil disobedience.

Larsen told BuzzFeed Canada he had a team of about 40 volunteers who helped sort and package the seeds. He gave many of them away at his rallies, but he also shipped them across the country by mail.

"I sent seeds up to Nunanvut, I sent seeds to Halifax, literally on the other side of the country," Larsen said. "Lots of small towns and people in more rural areas were getting them as well. It was the whole country."

The results are starting to come in. Although many people planted their seeds out of sight, others have put them in very public places.

Overgrow Canada

Here's a glorious pot plant growing in someone's front yard in Toronto.

Larsen has been adding photos to the Overgrow Canada Facebook page as people send them in.


And in boulevards, and roundabouts, and traffic islands like this one in Waterloo, Ontario.

Overgrow Canada

Larsen said the turning point in the campaign was when he was arrested in Calgary for distributing seeds.

"I did not realize the scope of how big this was going to be. I was only going to give away a million seeds, but getting busted in Calgary was the best promotion for this," Larsen said. "The day after that happened, our orders went through the roof."

Overgrow Canada ended up giving away 2.3 million seeds total.

Overgrow Canada

Larsen also said the point of the public planting is about visibility, and that many of the plants probably won't be very good or even get you high, depending on how they were planted.

"They're not going to be in perfect conditions growing in roundabouts or in a park. They'll grow to different heights, they'll have different effects," he said.

Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.