Vancouver Police on Cannabis Strategy

The Vancouver Police ignore Justin Trudeau’s insistence that arresting people for simple possession is eh-okay.

After all, what’s a “just society” got to do with it?

The law is the law is the law. Even though Justin Zoolander himself has smoked cannabis. He even had a brother who’s cannabis conviction disappeared thanks to nepotism.

So why do police charge for cannabis anyway? The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) have the motto “beyond the call,” which really speaks to what we expect from police in society.

The VPD have always prioritized other issues, and one quick stroll down East Hastings clearly shows why.

Vancouver’s hard drug epidemic make “illegal” cannabis shops look like play-doh dispensaries.

The VPD has for some time held the position that the criminal code is not an effective tool for enforcing cannabis prohibition.

And finally, the Liberals have listened and agreed. There are much better ways to control cannabis.

With fentanyl overdoses up 29%, it’s little surprise VPD reports show a drop in cannabis-related offenses.

But at the end of the day, when the Toronto Police want in at the Cannabis Culture Headquarters on East Hastings, the VPD are more than happy to oblige.

But for the most part, the VPD lay-off the cannabis users, perhaps because there are vape-lounges you can go to smoke. Perhaps it’s because skunks litter the lower mainland so if a cop smells you smoking a joint, you’ve always got a valid excuse.

But as the VPD has told the media and city council, there are only a finite number of resources available to the department, and so they choose to focus on more important matters, such as the fentanyl problem.

So, if the VPD were to get a massive 500% budget increase, we should expect them to prioritize other crimes, and since Justin refuses to decriminalize, that should, technically, include cannabis.

But until then, as Staff Sgt. Randy Fincham told the Georgia Straight, “we are also looking at a shift in society in the acceptance of the use of marijuana.”

It’s not always a good thing to have local police decide which laws to enforce and which ones to ignore, but sometimes it is. Sometimes there are social norms only a tight-knit community can comprehend and administer.

Law enforcement is not a homogenous blob that can be summed up in a civics textbook. It’s more like an array of capital and labour across time, each police department is within its own cell of unique, particular circumstances of time and place.

In other words, ignoring the price system demands a credible alternative and so far there hasn’t been one.

Hence, why policing services need a competitive pricing system. This may not be so evident in Canada with cannabis, but it certainly should be a pressing issue for the English and the Europeans who have been victims of terrorist attacks.

Policing and governing services provided in a free, competitive market are not limited by the technicalities of what government has provided (or has failed to provide) up to this point.

A free market system of security, of a fair interpretation and enforcement of laws, is fundamentally unpredictable in detail but can be conceptualized using economic truths.