Pubdate: Thu, 04 Sep 2014
Source: Georgia Straight, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2014 The Georgia Straight
Author: Travis Lupick


A storefront in southeast Vancouver is the third marijuana dispensary 
busted by police in less than three months.

Today (September 2) officers executed a search warrant against 
Budzilla located at 2267 Kingsway.

According to a Vancouver Police Department media release, authorities 
had received numerous complaints regarding how the business was 
conducting operations.

"The products comprised of dry marijuana and THC-infused edibles, 
including candy and cookies," it states. "The appearance and 
packaging of many of these items could be potentially very appealing 
to children."

The release also claims Budzilla was selling pot to people who did 
not possess federal licences required to possess medicinal cannabis.

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.

However, the VPD has also made clear it will move against any 
dispensary deemed to have crossed one of the unwritten rules within 
which Vancouver storefronts operate.

Some of those guidelines were outlined in a March 5 media release.

"Vancouver is not a wide open city for the marijuana trade," Chu said 
there. "Anyone who opens an illegal business, to sell an illegal 
product, is taking a risk that they could be charged criminally."

That rhetoric was however tempered by details about how the VPD is 
actually enforcing rules governing the cultivation, sale, and 
possession of medical marijuana.

The release states that VPD drug unit priorities include upper-level 
drug traffickers, gang members, dealers responsible for violence, and 
traffickers selling hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine.

"For the most part, medical marijuana dispensaries operating today in 
Vancouver do not meet these criteria," it continued.

After moving against Budzilla, the VPD issued a couple of additional 
tips for how the city's other pot shops-which now number more than 
45-can avoid a visit from police.

The takeaway from today's VPD action: Don't sell to customers who 
don't possess a federal licence, and don't bake edibles that look 
like the sort of candy a child might enjoy.

Those not-so-subtle hints build on earlier suggestions the VPD has 
made with the execution of previous search warrants.

When 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).

And when Jim's Weed Lounge at 882 East Hastings Street was busted on 
July 24, police said the reason was because customers were reselling 
to kids in the area around the shop.

Budzilla's alleged transgressions again bring to mind a few words of 
advice that long-time marijuana advocate Bill Maher offered to 
Colorado shortly after that state legalized the sale of recreational cannabis.

At the end of a rant in defence of marijuana, Maher listed off a few 
rules he suggested the new cannabis industry abide by if it wants to 
stay in authorities' good books.

At the very top of his list: "Stop selling pot products that look 
like children's candy."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom