Vancouver police say they were confronted and swarmed when arresting a man selling marijuana at Cannabis Day

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      The Vancouver Police Department has said that its officers took action after observing "someone overtly selling marijuana, including to young people" at the Cannabis Day celebration.

      In a written statement, the VPD maintained that when the man was arrested, "officers were immediately confronted and swarmed".

      Police responded by using pepper spray. Two men are in custody with one facing potential marijuana-trafficking charges and the other was booked on obstruction of justice.

      “The safety of everyone is always our priority” Const. Brian Montague said in the statement. “That includes the safety of the public, police, and protesters. It is unfortunate there are some at this unsanctioned Cannabis Day event who do not feel that way.”

      Following the arrests, cannabis activists set up a blockade to prevent traffic from moving on Howe Street south of West Georgia Street.

      The city had warned the organizers of the 20th annual Cannabis Day event that it violated civic bylaws.

      The crowd erupted in anger after the arrests.
      Pot TV

      Marc and Jody Emery own Cannabis Culture magazine, which promotes the annual party. They each blamed deputy city manager Sadhu Johnston for the turmoil.

      "It's just a really strangely militant, aggressive move by the VPD against the least aggressive people in the city," Marc Emery told the Straight.

      Green Planet Store Ltd. CEO John Berfelo told the Straight that he witnessed police taking away three well-known cannabis activists: David Malmo-Levine, Neil Magnuson, and Bert Easterbrook.

      The police statement did not identify the two men in custody.

      Earlier this week, Vancouver police Chief Adam Palmer told CBC Radio that his department's top priority is addressing violent crime, which is why officers were not swooping down on all the illegal marijuana dispensaries in the city.



      Reasonable Head

      Jul 1, 2015 at 7:16pm

      I saw it all, the officers were not swarmed. The protesters used the standard "hug power" tactic, which is to hug anyone being arrested in order to get footage of cops pulling peaceful people off of a peaceful person. It makes them look like the violent, deranged fascists that they are.

      The female constable driving the prisoner away nearly ran over someone who was attempting to block the vehicle by standing and placing his hands on the hood of the car. She engaged the accelerator while this gentleman was in front of the vehicle. These cowboys need to reigned in. They created a huge public safety issue---even if someone was selling marijuana to 'young people', the use of violence to enforce these corporate statutes is inhumane. They're nothing more than protection for pharmaceutical companies---and now, perhaps, "licensed" dispensaries.

      And the young people who might have bought marijuana? All they had to do was wait a few hours and then the VPD backed off. If you are going to have a violent enforcement policy, you should at least do it to the hilt. There is clearly no rule of law in Vancouver; gentlemen like Neil and David get arrested and then later in the same day the VPD sit idly by while people do the exact same things.

      This insanity has got to stop.


      Jul 1, 2015 at 9:15pm

      Many of these cops smoke pot themselves and probably have little desire to arrest pot heads. It's those who make a conscious get in-your-face effort to provoke cops who are the troublemaking idiots. Let the cops do their jobs and get at the people who can change know the ones with big mouths, no ears, small brains sitting in Ottawa.

      Steveo whit

      Jul 1, 2015 at 9:52pm

      That is bullshit. They world rather have 1000s of drunks pissing puking fighting sleeping on the street than people having fun being friendly . Legalize

      so um

      Jul 1, 2015 at 10:32pm

      the police were there in case somebody got out of hand... and then they did?

      <3 Weed queen <3

      Jul 2, 2015 at 7:44am

      What a pathetic and really shameful waste of time and resources. Completely BRAINLESS, compared to the crap that happens only a few blocks away. A pile of needle wielding pharmacy robbing, strung out, meth'd up, heroin shooting junkies. I'm sure the VPD feel really great pinching a bunch of PEACEFUL potheads !. Any pending charges should be dropped. I feel really bad for the people that were arrested, all for nothing. Is this a hoax or was it a hazing of a rookie ???!.

      Saul Silver

      Jul 2, 2015 at 8:46am

      Wait so the VPD wants to selectively enforce the law now? But not for example on 4/20 day? Was the City of Vancouver mad at these "activists" for still putting on their "protest" and thus decided that their officers should enforce the law?

      @so um

      Jul 2, 2015 at 8:58am

      Nobody got out of hand except the VPD. There was no violence until the VPD waded into the crowd and started attacking people. The police used pepper spray to prevent the crowd from surrounding the vehicle, not because they were under any sort of threat. There was no brawl or melee. The protesters were at most trying to grab on to their friend and peacefully disrupt the drug war action being conducted.

      They showed admirable restraint---when someone attacks you in the context of a war, you have every right to fight back, because the law is silent during war.


      Jul 2, 2015 at 9:00am

      Emery and clowns are actually the ones holding back social acceptance and legalization. And when some partial acceptance and emerging legality arrive, what do they do? The aggressive in-your-face technique turns off people. And why does Emery have a near-constant turnover of staff? All I hear is quiet mutterings about his non-public behaviour; maybe there's something that needs digging up here. Jodie's been putting up with his crap for a couple of decades, and enquiring minds wish to know why...


      Jul 2, 2015 at 9:21am


      >police used pepper spray to prevent the crowd from surrounding the vehicle, not because they were under any sort of threat

      Surrounding a vehicle with people inside it is inherently threatening them. For anyone, not just a policeman.

      >The protesters were at most trying to grab on to their friend and peacefully disrupt the drug war action being conducted.

      Interfering with an arrest is a major challenge to police authority, inviting violence in return. No person familiar with the theory behind civil disobedience would be so stupid. The point of civil disobedience is to demonstrate a law is unjust by breaking the law, and then respectfully accepting the arrest and charges, and so showing the injustice. The police are not the enemy.

      >when someone attacks you in the context of a war

      So the police should be allowed to shoot you? War talk is violent.

      > because the law is silent during war.



      Jul 2, 2015 at 11:13am

      No, it is not inherently intimidating. Police don't get to pretend they're scared little civillians. The clear reason for surrounding the vehicle was to gain footage of the police pulling people away---eventually they get tired and sometimes even release prisoners.

      Sorry, you sound like someone whose dad abused him---when someone uses violence against you, that's wrong, unless you've done something violent yourself. I understand that many people are victims of child abuse to an extent that their minds are deformed, but that doesn't make it right.

      "So the police should be allowed to shoot you? War talk is violent."

      You realize that they would have shot people if people had attempted to defend themselves against the drug war criminals, right? Should jews just have submitted to being herded into trains? After all, that was "legal" too.

      Keep in mind there are more marijuana smokers than jews in the world.

      And the law is indeed silent during war---the regulations that govern modern industrial warfare have been adopted voluntarily by sovereign nations, usually for mutual benefit, e.g. 'we won't use X against your army if you won't use it against us," which saves both sides from having people who're horribly maimed, not killed. Civillians are not a party to those conventions.

      I mention the jews and WWII because if you think that WWII wasn't in large part about german pharmaceutical companies using concentration camps for research, you are uninformed. Thanks to the drug war, the entire world is essentially one large concentration camp subject to pharmaceutical experimentation, because they use violence to ensure they're the only game in town.

      Too bad there are no allies coming for us; we're supposed to be the allies, but most of you people are acting more like Quisling.

      Enemy just means "not friend", inamicus. Anyone who is not your friend is your enemy. People who attack you over plants are not your friends and therefore they are your enemies.