Vancouver Police Board to Vote on Developing Policy For Dispensaries

A recommendation from the Police Complaint Commissioner in November that suggested Vancouver police should develop policy around their dealings with the city’s  dispensaries will be discussed at today’s Police Board meeting.

Despite the letter from the Commissioner, a message included in today’s agenda from Deputy Chief Doug LePard said it was too soon to create any sort of decision while the city is still in the midst of an extensive licensing process.

“The Vancouver Police Board advises that imminent changes to the legislative and regulatory landscape make it premature to develop a new VPD policy at this time,” LePard wrote. “It would be premature to develop a new policy, given the factors set out above and the changing landscape around the issue of marihuana.”

Currently, the Vancouver Police Department’s reaction to cannabis dispensaries is dictated on a case-by-case basis where officers are required to “consult and receive approval from their District Commander and the VPD Organized Crime Section before taking any enforcement action against a marihuana dispensary.”

LePard said that, due to the uncertain timeline and details of cannabis legalization following the election of the federal Liberal government as well as the impact of the city’s licensing system, it remains in the department’s best interest to be able to continue to react, freely, to cannabis related issues.

“It would not be appropriate to create a policy that is harmonized with the City’s bylaw, since the VPD must independently decide whether or not to enforce the criminal law,” LePard wrote. “The VPD will continue with its current approach in prioritizing the use of its resources to enforce the [Controlled Drugs and Substances Act], including where marihuana dispensaries are concerned.”

A live stream of the meeting is available online.