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Opinion: Vancouver Police Department needs to step up when it comes to marijuana laws

A legal haze has blinded the police department for years.


Reported by Agazy Mengesha

In Vancouver, where you can walk for five minutes and see three different dispensaries, it can be easy to forget that cannabis is still illegal to sell. But until someone complains, no one seems to care, not even the police.

A new dispensary called Air Collection Reserve recently opened on Marine Drive. But its neighbours (which include a temple and a daycare) have already begun taking their complaints to police and it may not be long until the dispensary is closed down for good.

Soon to be legal

With cannabis legalization on the horizon, law enforcement has recently been more tolerant towards dispensaries. But, as has been reported by local media, Vancouver Police have long maintained that making arrests for cannabis possession and distribution was not a priority.

Nevertheless, this attitude can still change very quickly when communities begin regularly and loudly registering complaints.

Just over a month ago, the illegal open-air marijuana market located at Robson Square was shut down by the Vancouver Police Department, resulting in two arrests. Complaints had reportedly been filed by the food cart vendors operating in the area, who were concerned that the cannabis market was operating without a license and possibly selling cannabis products to minors.

Solid legal framework needed

The dispensaries, however, are not to blame for taking advantage of an opportunity to make money. If anyone has to claim responsibility, it’s the VPD.

Thanks to the VPD’s apathy towards policing dispensaries, marijuana exists in a strange, quasi-legal state where no one’s quite sure what’s okay to do and what might get them arrested and charged. Consumers might complain, but recreational marijuana needs to be entirely legal, or entirely illegal and fully enforced – no grey areas. A solid legal framework helps everyone involved.



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