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Liberal Politicians in Canada Are Being Told to Snitch on the Guy Sending Them Weed

The weed delivery is a stunt by pot activist Dana Larsen. Justin Trudeau's Liberal government still plans to legalize marijuana, although Canada will be in contravention of international treaties when it does.

by Tamara Khandaker
Jan 7 2016, 10:30pm

Anthony Tuccitto

As a reminder of their election promise to legalize marijuana, Canadian Liberal MPs were each given the gift of weed over the holidays by a prominent activist looking to "re-familiarize" them with its "pleasant effects." But, the pot-friendly party is taking a decidedly unfriendly stance towards the offering.

Dana Larsen, a founding member of Canada's Marijuana Party who has also run federally for the New Democratic Party, told Radio-Canada he mailed out packages, consisting of a gram of pot and a copy of his book Cannabis in Canada, to journalists across the country and to every Liberal MP.

"They're going to be legalizing it soon and I think if we're going to be looking forward to how we will legalize it, it's good to look back and see how it was made illegal and the important role this plant has played in Canadian history and Canadian culture," he said about the book.

Unfortunately for Larsen, who took care to send the packages to constituency offices to bypass mailroom security at Parliament Hill, they still might not end up with their intended recipients.

Related: Justin Trudeau's Battle for Legal Weed in Canada Is Going to Be a Total Mess

In an email to MPs, the Liberal Whip's office instructed those who received Larsen's gifts to contact their local police service and Parliamentary Protective Services to discuss how to move forward.

"It is not recommended that you dispose of the material yourself, or return it to its sender," said the email.

A spokesperson from the office of Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill MP Leona Alleslev said they hadn't received such a package, but that "all MPs have been instructed to contact local law enforcement immediately to properly dispose" of them.

One of many MPs contacted by VICE News, William Amos's office also said they hadn't received one since their constituency offices aren't open yet.

It's unclear whether or not everyone has actually obeyed the Whip's instructions. Rookie MP for Beaches-East York Nate Erskine-Smith, for example, seemed to have ignored them.

"Thanks for the gift @DanaLarsen!" he tweeted. "Received, but haven't smoked it (yet). #LegalizeIt"

"On a serious note, thousands of Canadians are charged every year for marijuana possession," he continued. "A sensible policy is long overdue."

Vancouver Centre MP Hedy Fry found little humor in the stunt, however, telling the Vancouver Sun she was concerned the package could land in the hands of youth, and that mailing it violates regulations for transporting marijuana in Canada.

The email sent from the Liberal Whip to MPs reaffirmed the party's position on legalizing the drug.

"The Ministers of Justice, Public Safety, and Health are establishing a federal/provincial/territorial task force to advise on the design of a new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution, with input from experts in public health, substance abuse, and law enforcement," it said.

A concrete timeline hasn't been set, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's already complicated plan to legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana could be further disrupted by three international treaties that criminalize the production and possession of the drug.

Canada is a signatory of The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol; The Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 and The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988.

Trudeau has been warned of the potential obstacles, according to a briefing note obtained by the Canadian Press.

"All three require the criminalization of possession and production of cannabis," says the note.

"As part of examining legalization of cannabis possession and production, Canada will need to explore how to inform the international community and will have to take the steps needed to adjust its obligations under these conventions."

Follow Tamara Khandaker on Twitter: @anima_tk