If you’ve strolled through Robson Square lately, you might have noticed a whiff of marijuana in the air. A number of unlicensed vendors have been selling the drug there, despite repeated warnings from police.
Now the mayor has suggested the city could soon act against the merchants, who have described their actions as a form of protest.
“Obviously that’s a permanent plaza now, so those current people that are illegally using that space, that’s a situation we have to deal with,” Gregor Robertson recently told reporters, according to the Vancouver Sun.
Pressed on what further action would be taken against the vendors, who regularly set up shop on the south side of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Robertson replied, “Stay tuned.”
Last December, the Straight reported that Vancouver police officers have visited the vendors and issued some with tickets while letting others get away with a warning.
Similar to the department’s approach to storefront marijuana dispensaries, the VPD has repeatedly said that resources are limited and that cannabis is not a policing priority.
Sgt. Jason Robillard, a spokesperson for the force, repeated that line in an email to the Sun, adding that the VPD’s anti-narcotics efforts were focused on the opioid crisis.
“That being said, we are concerned that the situation in the 800-block of Robson Street has evolved over the past year,” Robillard continued.
Canada is in the process of legalizing recreational marijuana. Ottawa has given the provinces a deadline of July 2018 to draft rules and frameworks for distribution and enforcement. Until then, the sale and possession of recreational cannabis remains illegal under federal law.