According to a VPD media release, the technically illegal business that the cops are helping out was held up on Friday, January 9.
“Two men entered the store,” the release states. “One man was armed with a handgun and a can of bear spray. He held the staff at gunpoint while the other man removed a quantity of marijuana before both suspects ran from the store. No shots were fired and no one was injured during the robbery.”
The VPD has not revealed the amount of marijuana that was taken from the dispensary, a Weeds Glass & Gifts on Main Street near East 51st Avenue. The media release also fails to clarify whether or not the stolen marijuana will be returned to the dispensary if and when officers retrieve it.
Selling pot via a storefront is illegal under the federal Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, which came into effect on April 1, 2013.
For years now, Vancouver police have maintained a relaxed attitude towards marijuana storefronts. VPD chief Jim Chu has repeatedly stated that a dispensary does not meet law enforcement agencies’ criteria for a “priority” target.
The VPD has however busted a number of dispensaries after they broke certain unwritten rules.
Last September, police executive a search warrant against a business called Budzilla at 2267 Kingsway after receiving complaints it was selling edibles that looked like the sort of candy a child might enjoy.
In July 2014, a Jim’s Weed Lounge at 882 East Hastings Street was busted because, according to police, customers were reselling to kids in the area around the shop.
Before that, a Weeds Glass and Gifts at 2580 Kingsway was raided by police on June 23. Cops said they showed up because that location was also being used to grow young plants (otherwise known as clones).
When the Straight last requested an official count in October 2014, there were 46 medicinal-marijuana dispensaries operating in Vancouver, according to statistics supplied by the city.
In March 2014, Chu emphasized that Vancouver is “not a wide open city for the marijuana trade”.
That rhetoric was however tempered by a VPD media release stating that drug unit priorities include upper-level drug traffickers, gang members, dealers responsible for violence, and traffickers selling hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine.