UPDATE: Shortly after publishing this story, Magnuson wrote a post on his Facebook wall, saying that the city had removed the plant.

“Very sad to report that ‘herb’ has been brutality uprooted and disappeared from his garden spot at city hall,” Magnuson wrote. “Such a shame that its feared and not respected for how harmless it is compared to any of its neighbors in the garden and how valuable it is.”

ORIGINAL STORY: A long-time cannabis advocate is hoping that by planting in front of Vancouver City Call people will realize that it’s a harmless plant that is a beneficial part of their daily lives.

Having left the plant to flourish in the city’s garden for over two weeks without incident, Neil Magnuson said it’s part of a larger movement encouraging people to “overgrow” the government

cannabis vancouver city hall 2“[Cannabis is] one of the most valuable and greenest plants that the city could be growing in their garden and I’m really glad that they’ve allowed it to stay there,” said Magnuson. “The flowers are nice, but they’re also medicine and the stalk is nice but they make all types of fuel and the fibres are great but they make all different kinds of clothes you can imagine and you can use it for thousands of industrial uses.

“I was thinking of putting up a little sign beside it saying all that and I still might.”

Magnuson said his goal, and the goal of others, is to normalize cannabis and encouraging others to grow their own.

“We did put two at city hall, one also in the garden at the corner of 12th and Cambie, that one didn’t last more than a few days and it was gone,” he said. “But I suspect it was a member of the public that saw it and took it home and used it for what it should be used for.”

Magnuson said he has plans to look at other areas in the city for more locations to plant cannabis, such as potentially the court house, police station or city parks.

“They’re just plants,” Magnuson said. “It’s just a nice plant amongst a bunch of other nice plants and that’s all it should be treated as.”

Even with legalization coming from the federal government, Magnuson said attitudes toward cannabis are still restrictive.

“The prohibitionists have done an amazing job over the last century of demonizing this plant, and it’s going to take a while for that, but I don’t think it should take too much longer,” he said. “I said the other day that it should take about five years to be normalized and I guess I’ll stick to that.

“I think some of the people that have that mindset engrained in them aren’t ever going to lose it. And we’ll wait for their passing and then move on.”