Vancouver police raid second marijuana dispensary in less than two months
The Vancouver Police Department has executed a warrant against another medicinal marijuana dispensary.
The raid on Jim’s Weed Lounge at 882 East Hastings Street comes less than two months after a similar police action was carried out against a Weeds Glass and Gifts at 2580 Kingsway.
Jim Harrison, a board member of Jim’s Weed Lounge, told the Straight that between eight and 12 members of the VPD drug squad showed up around noon today (July 24).
“They said they had a warrant,” Harrison recounted in a telephone interview. “They came in here and just took all the money, all the pot—the medicine—and they left.”
He said that police confiscated all marijuana on the premises as well as money, computers, and mobile phones.
There are more than 40 similar marijuana dispensaries currently operating in Vancouver.
Harrison said that police wouldn’t answer questions about why their shop was selected for police action.
“As a matter of fact, the police were in last week and they said they just wanted to come in and see how things were,” he continued. “We told them we were totally transparent and running things that way.…But today they said they had a warrant because we were trafficking. But everybody in here has a federal licence.”
According to a July 24 news release, the marijuana dispensary in question was selected for police action “after police received reports that marihuana was allegedly being bought at the store and sold to youth in the surrounding neighbourhood”.
It's stated there that no arrests were made during the raid and that an investigation is ongoing.
While medicinal marijuana dispensaries technically operate in violation of federal law, the VPD has long said publicly that it does not consider storefront marijuana shops a priority.
In a telephone interview, a spokesperson for the VPD further explained why Jim's Weed Lounge was targeted while dozens of similar shops in Vanouver continue to sell marijuana.
“There are allegations that people were going into that store, buying marijuana, and then going out of the store and selling it to young people—kids and youth—in that neighbrouhood," said Sergeant Randy Fincham. "That’s definitely something that brought it to our attention."
In a June 2014 interview with the Straight, VPD Const. Brian Montague noted that it is unusual for the Vancouver police to conduct an operation against a marijuana dispensary.
Before the June 23 raid against Weeds on Kingsway, the last time that such an enforcement action occured was October 2013, he said. And before that, it was as far back as “2011 or early-2012” that the Vancouver police busted a marijuana dispensary.
Today’s news release goes on to provide some information about how Vancouver police are exercising enforcement actions against outlets selling marijuana.
“The VPD will continue to respond to any complaints about illegal marijuana use and sales and decide if further investigation or enforcement action is required,” it reads. “Our priority remains focusing on violent drug traffickers and those who prey on youth, the marginalized or the drug addicted.”
It continues: “Our frontline officers will continue to use discretion enforcing the possession and consumption of marijuana under federal law. Options include criminal charges, seizures and violation tickets for smoking under the city bylaws.”