Marijuana storefronts might still be illegal under federal law but that doesn’t mean they’re not afforded the same level of police protection as any legitimate business.
The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) is asking for the public’s help in catching four people responsible for an armed robbery of a cannabis dispensary near the intersection of 41st Avenue and Knight Street.
“Just before 9 pm on Monday evening, three men and one woman armed with guns entered the Stressed and Depressed marijuana store at 1353 E 41st Avenue, and robbed the store of cash and products,” reads a VPD media release.
“One staff member was assaulted during the incident, but was not seriously injured and did not require medical treatment.”
A security camera captured the robbery on film and the VPD has distributed photographs of all four suspects.
In recent months, the number of marijuana dispensaries operating in Vancouver has been reduced from an estimated 115 shops doing business in 2015 to less than 85 storefronts open today.
As previously reported by the Straight, about 30 dispensaries decided to close up shop in response to a regulatory framework implemented by the city. That process has seen many storefronts issued tickets and several injunctions issued against shops that have failed to comply with orders to close.
Every marijuana storefront operating in Canada remains in contravention of the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Despite the shops breaking the law, the Vancouver Police Department has repeatedly stated it does not deem dispensaries a priority for enforcement. Ottawa is in the process of legalizing recreational marijuana, but that legislation will not be tabled until the spring of 2017.