Marijuana enforcement by Vancouver police in 2017 leads to charges in 13 incidents

Busting people for smoking marijuana is not a priority for the Vancouver Police Department (VPD). It’s a different story when

Coast2Coast's cannabis advent calendar is shown in an image from the company's website.

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Busting people for smoking marijuana is not a priority for the Vancouver Police Department (VPD).

It’s a different story when it comes to trafficking, importation, and production of cannabis.

A report submitted by the VPD to the Vancouver Police Board provides an overview of how the department is enforcing marijuana laws.

According to the report, the force in 2017 investigated 49 incidents related to trafficking, importation, and production.

The investigations led to charges in 13 of the incidents.

In addition, the VPD has also conducted searches with warrants on 11 marijuana dispensaries in the city since 2014.

The report also mentioned that police took action against cannabis vendors in the 800 block of Robson Street on January 21, 2018.

The information cited in the report provides context to the VPD’s position that when it comes to drug law enforcement, it has its own priorities.

The report co-authored by Inspector Bill Spearn of the Organized Crime Section and Drazen Manojlovic, director of the Planning, Research, and Audit Section, identified two top priorities: trafficking and manufacturing of opiods, and the regional gang conflict.

“In making decisions about enforcement, the VPD prioritizes its response based on the greatest threats to public safety and the impact of those decisions on police resources,” according to the report.

This is the reason why the VPD decided not to act on a complaint last year about the sale of advent calendars filled with marijuana flowers and edibles.

The advent calendars were sold Coast to Coast Medicinals, an online and mail order dispensary.

“I wrote to the VPD to report a crime and I was told that they had more important business to attend to,” the complainant wrote in a form submitted to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.

The name of the complainant was blacked out in documents made available in the agenda Thursday (February 15) of the police board.

The report written by Spearn and Manojlovic recommended board dismissal of the complaint.

The report stated: “The sale of recreational cannabis was still illegal at the time of this complaint, but the over-riding priorities of the Organized Crime Section are investigating fentanyl trafficking, the regional gang conflict, and firearms offences related to organized crime.”

The report also noted that recreational marijuana is expected to become legal this coming summer.

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