Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Vancouver’s police chief says while the department is well-aware of how opioids are taking a toll on the city’s streets, officers will always step in when people are “blatantly breaking the law.”

The statement, made Wednesday at the police headquarters downtown, comes after a number of advocates were quick to call out the agency for seizing products from a marijuana stand at the Downtown Eastside Market last week.

“The VPD is very aware of the terrible consequences of the opioid crisis, and we continue to support evidence-based harm-reduction initiatives,” Chief Adam Palmer said in a statement.

“We are a very fair, progressive, and open-minded police agency, and we were the first to call for ‘treatment on demand’ in 2015. We will continue to support our partners in the health and addictions community to save lives in our city. We will also enforce the trafficking laws of Canada as necessary when people are blatantly breaking the law.”

WATCH: Police raid of marijuana stand targeted those struggling with substance use, advocate says

Overdose Prevention Society founder Sarah Blyth told Black Press Media Friday that the cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program through High Hopes, a harm-reduction alternative.

Many were quick to question the move by police – including former health minister Terry Lake, who held his position during the worst year of overdose deaths in B.C.’s history. The B.C. Centre on Substance Use said the move made little sense.

Police say that the day before Friday’s seizure, officers conducting routine patrols in the Downtown Eastside located a display of cannabis products, in plain view, at a vendor’s table in the public market at 62 East Hastings Street.

The items were clearly marked for sale, police said, and officers spoke with the market’s executive director who told them the owner ignored requests to leave.

A man responsible for the display, who said it was for medicinal use, was issued a warning by police and directed the man to pack up his things.

But the next day, police said the same display was out again in plain view, including a number of pre-packaged and loose cannabis products, pill capsules, vaping products, and two bottles of an unknown white powder.

“No one would claim responsibility for the products,” police said, and the items seized included:

  • 50 Cannabidiol pills – marked $5.00 per capsule
  • 50 THC pills – marked $5.00 each
  • seven marijuana cigarettes (6.75 grams) labelled “Super Joints Hash + Indicia”
  • 18 marijuana cigarettes 12.23 grams labelled “Sativa $3.00 each or 4 for $10.00”
  • 17 marijuana cigarettes (13.07 grams) labelled “Indicia 3.00 each or 4 for $10.00”
  • one container of THC lotion (50.17 grams) labelled “Buddha”
  • five THC vapour refills (100.79 grams) ranging from 1300 mgs at $25.00 to 300 mgs for $10.00 with names of “Green Crack,” “Blueberry Kush,” and “Blueberry CBD C02 Oil”
  • hash ( 5.11 grams)
  • bud marijuana (5.89 grams)
  • unknown powder from two plastic bottles (46.90 grams)
  • one large display case
  • one vape pen $10.00

Police said the videos shared on social media were mis-characterized as a raid, and only “show only a small portion of what occurred and none of the previous informal attempts to resolve this issue.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

West Kelowna fire under control

A fire broke out just above Bear Creek Provincial Park Monday

Kelowna Boat Show highlights abandoned boat program

The 24th annual Kelowna Boat Show hits shores April 27 and 28.

Kelowna’s Korczak, Canada en route to U18 quarter-finals

Kaedan Korczak and Team Canada play Latvia Thursday

‘Cutthroat’ sport of wine tasting happening now in the Okanagan

BC Tasting Games are underway with competitions in three Okanagan communities.

Kelowna pimp faces 4 year sentence

In court the details of how Simon Rypiak lured 4 women into prostitution revealed

VIDEO: Okanagan fire victim Amy Hansen speaks out on the loss of her four pets

A gofundme page has been started for Hansen, with $1,140 raised of a $5000 goal to help her rebuild

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Okanagan history in pictures

Grand opening of downtown Vernon Safeway store from 1965

Okanagan firefighter steps up to challenge

Andrew Haak will be one of hundreds of firefighters taking part in the Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge in Calgary on May 5

SPCA investigating hen cull at Shuswap egg farm

Egg farm regulator says they are confident cull at was done properly

Okanagan Rail Trail a popular place

Thousands pack North Okanagan section over long weekend

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Most Read