Pubdate: Thu, 10 Aug 2017
Source: Prince George Citizen (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Prince George Citizen
Author: Neil Godbout
Page: 6


Part one of two

RCMP are still making pot arrests, in Prince George, in 2017, less
than a year before marijuana becomes legal in Canada.

It'd be funny if it wasn't so silly.

Police are so backward on pot that their press releases still spell it
as "marihuana," which is how it's spelled in the Controlled Drugs and
Substances Act, the basis for the latest local charges.

Maybe they should pronounce it the way they spell it? Now that might
be funny.

But in fairness to the loco PoPo, this is not a fight of their

No doubt, they'd rather be catching real criminals, like the gang
members running deadly opioids into the hands and veins of desperate
addicts, rather than rounding up potheads. Even pulling over speeding
drivers makes more sense.

As anyone first on the scene of a horrific accident knows, speeding
kills. So does fentanyl and crystal meth and the people willing to
produce and sell it.

Pot, on the other hand, just makes people mellow and snacky. It
inspires music and movies and art. It also helps some people manage
their anxiety, their multiple sclerosis, their PTSD and their
Parkinson's disease. For many fighting cancer and going through chemo
and radiation treatment, the only way they can keep their meals down
and sleep more than an hour at a time is if they are high on the ganja

In many other B.C. municipalities, the RCMP and local police forces
have, to varying degrees, turned a blind eye to retail outlets selling
pot and accessories, so long as the sales are in low quantities for
personal use, kept away from the kids and specifically targeted for
those legally allowed to consume medical marijuana. In downtown
Nanaimo, for example, there are two pot dispensaries, along with a
medical pot production facility within city limits.

Both of the retail outlets in Nanaimo are listed as members of the Wee
Medical Society, which lists 10 locations in B.C., including the Third
Avenue location in Prince George that got busted again Friday.

Two men were arrested and police said they seized a "considerable
amount" of marijuana, cannibus-infused food, cash, packaging material
and accessories.

Marijuana is still illegal, of course, but enforcement comes down to a
choice, both by police and by the municipalities they serve.

Just because there is a law on the books doesn't mean it's followed to
the letter or even at all.

There is no better example of that than City of Prince George and
Regional District of Fraser Fort George bylaws. Enforcement for most
of those bylaws are complaint driven, meaning that unless someone
calls, a bylaw officer won't look into the matter. As a result,
driveways across the city (full disclosure: including my own) have a
trailer, a boat and/or an RV parked in them all year round, in open
defiance of the city bylaw.

And even if a bylaw officer, in response to a complaint, stops to chat
up a resident about their trailer or watering their lawn on the wrong
day or anything else, a ticket is only written for the worst offenders.

Prince George RCMP does the same on local roads and highways when it
comes to speeding. The sign on the Hart Highway says 70 from Northwood
Pulp Mill Road to past North Kelly Road but any driver doing less than
85 and not driving in the right lane will receive a warm South
Mackenzie salute in short order. For those unfamiliar with the South
Mackenzie salute, it's just like the peace sign, except the hand is
turned to face the other way and the index finger is kept down.

Officers will set up a speed trap from time to time but rarely ticket
anyone going less than 90. In other words, they target the worst
offenders - the folks doing 100 or more. And when it comes to the Hart
Highway, they never have to wait for long.

Perhaps Prince George RCMP consider the Wee Medical duo they arrested
last Friday to be among the worst offenders. Maybe they were selling
to kids. Perhaps the police received complaints from residents or
neighbouring businesses. Or possibly the two men are affiliated with
area gangs.

Or maybe none of it is true.

We'll find out when the two appear before a judge on Oct.

In the meantime, Prince George RCMP were urging local homeowners
Monday to close up their doors and windows when they're not home, even
in the heat, because of a recent spike in residential break-ins.

This is where the brave men and women in uniform need to focus their
attention, not on some doobie brothers with baggies of grass and
vacuum-sealed cannabis cookies.

The Mounties also need some direction from the City of Prince George,
which must hurry up and update its local policies on the production
and selling of marijuana to match its impending legalization next summer.

Those rules, unlike many of their other municipal bylaws, are the ones
that need to be rigidly enforced, not with old-school arrests and
property seizures that never worked to begin with, but with the goal
of allowing adults to legally buy and consume a product they already
regularly use in a way that keeps the proceeds away from organized
crime and the drug out of the hands of kids.

Getting to that point starts with putting an end to the moralizing
around pot but where does that moralizing come from, anyway? That's
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