Pot ‘compassion clubs’ not a priority for police 0
The Vancouver Police Department is explaining its reasons for turning a blind eye to so-called compassion clubs selling storefront marijuana around the city.
In April, the VPD board ordered an investigation into a complaint that alleged a local dispensary was in fact a “significantly large cannabis business” with annual revenues of $500,000, and police weren’t doing enough to crack down on such operations.
The department is now recommending the board dismiss the complaint.
According to the VPD’s response, to be heard by the board Tuesday, there’s no doubt the dispensaries are illegal. Unlike violent criminals and harder drugs, such as cocaine, meth and heroin, however, such operations are not as high a priority for police.
The response suggests police work with the City of Vancouver to address the dispensaries’ impacts to the community.
“Criminal enforcement could be very damaging to employees of the dispensaries, who are generally young, entry-level employees who could face criminal charges and the possible impact that would have on other future employment or their ability to travel,”
Jim Prasobsin, the report author, wrote.
“These locations call themselves ‘medicinal marihuana dispensaries,’ ‘compassion clubs,’ or other names that would suggest that these storefronts are licensed medical outlets.”
He continued, “The result has been that some parts of the public believe that these dispensaries are engaging in lawful activities or operating in a ‘grey’ area of the law, neither of which is true.”
The department’s current policy is to analyze each dispensary’s harm based on its proximity to schools, parks, and other factors. These include the number of complaints police receive and whether an organized crime element is involved.