RAID FAILS TO GET TOKERS OFF THE POT
Marijuana was being smoked openly and business was booming yesterdayless than 24 hours after Vancouver police raided and shut down twodowntown pot emporiums.
“A quarter of a million dollars was looted by the police overnight,”said owner Marc Emery, fresh from a night in jail and puffing a jointas hundreds of pot-connoisseurs browsed in his reopened Hemp B.C.store and others filled the adjoining Cannabis Cafe.
Police seized an estimated $l.6 million worth of marijuana-relatedmerchandise, including “tens of thousands” of seeds in the raid,said police spokeswoman Const. Anne Drennan.
“We seized a minimum of $100,000 worth of bongs, vaporizers and hashpipes. And tens of thousands of marijuana seeds worth about one and ahalf million dollars,” she said.
“We seized computers and computer records as well as papers anddocumentation records, because that is the system that is used for thetrafficking of the seeds.”
Emery, his 35 employees and hundreds of supporters decried the raid aswaste of time and money.
“I thought that it was an absolute waste of my hard-earned taxdollars as well as yours,” said Sean Price, manager of Hemp B.C.’sLittle Grow Store. “We know what goes on two blocks away from ourfront door. The heroin abuse, the cocaine abuse, the extortion, theviolence . . . right in front of the cop shop.”
Emery termed Drennan’s contention “ridiculous and insane” that theraid was made in part because of complaints from tourists and nearbybusinesses, and said it is “police propaganda” that marijuana waslinked to the hardcore cocaine and heroin problems.
“I don’t believe it for a minute. We’re the biggest magnet of thisentire area and we’re the second-largest employer in Gastown. We pay$37,000 per month in taxes and we’ve restored the economic prosperityof this block. Tourists come here from all over the world,” saidEmery.
Witnesses said the police “were lying” that someone tried to grab anofficer’s gun during the protest.