Police to Continue Permissive Approach to Pot During Games in the Home of BC Bud

Cannabis crusader Marc Emery, of Vancouver, smokes marijuana as he holds a plant at a gathering of pro-marijuana legalization supporters outside police headquarters in Toronto.Cannabis crusader Marc Emery, of Vancouver, smokes marijuana as he holds a plant at a gathering of pro-marijuana legalization supporters outside police headquarters in Toronto.That sweet scent in the air during next month’s Olympic Games might be the smell of success. Then again, it could just be the weed.

It will be far from business as usual for much of Vancouver during the Olympics, but marijuana advocates and police say the city’s laissez faire attitude towards the infamous B.C. bud won’t change.

“Our officers show an exceptional amount of discretion with respect to people smoking marijuana and that will continue,” said Const. Lindsey Houghton, a spokesperson for the Vancouver Police Department.

That’s not to say police will completely turn a blind eye.

“There are people who are coming to visit that live in countries where it may certainly not be against the law so I don’t expect people will come here seeking to openly contravene our drug laws but you know, I’m sure there will be people who do it and I’m sure our officers will do their best to remind them that that’s against the law,” Houghton said.

While marijuana remains illegal in Canada, with the exception of those with special permits to smoke medical marijuana, Vancouverites are known for their relaxed attitude toward the herb.

It’s almost more common to catch a whiff of weed on the streets of this West Coast city than it is to smell the smoke of an actual cigarette.

“Even though the Games are drawing the people here, people aren’t going to be at the event 24 hours a day so I think they’re going to be looking for stuff to do in their spare time as well,” said Salvador Daswani, co-owner of Vansterdam clothing.

“Definitely our marijuana culture could be a huge part of that.”

His shop sells a “Vansterdam 2010” T-shirt featuring a man running with a lit marijuana cigarette, blowing smoke in the shape of five rings.

So far, about 70 shirts have been sold online and at Cannabis Culture, a shop in downtown Vancouver at the heart of the city’s “pot block,” a strip of stores that includes a cafe where people can bring their own marijuana for personal consumption.

Vancouver is well-known in Canada for its permissive approach to drug use, including the country’s only supervised injection site for intravenous drug users. And it’s purported that B.C. bud – the high-potency marijuana grown in the province – is British Columbia’s most profitable export crop.

Every year, activists gather at a massive pro-marijuana rally at the Vancouver art gallery in April, and a cloud of smoke goes up in honour of abolishing the prohibition of pot.

This year, activist Neil Magnuson is planning to host the “Cannalympics” at the art gallery during the Games.
“If it works out, and there’s a few hundred people to a few thousand people on a daily basis, then I’m sure we’ll have all sorts of fun stuff going on,” he said.

In addition to singing the anthem “O’Cannabis,” and the “high-jumping” and smoke-ring blowing competitions, organizers would like to have their own torch relay – a nod to jokes that the official 2010 Olympic torch resembles a giant joint.

“It’s flattery in both ways,” said long-time cannabis advocate Marc Emery.

“The torch is really elegant and it does look like a rolled joint, especially when it’s lit.”

While there’s an official T-shirt, there actually doesn’t appear to be an official 2010 brand of B.C. bud being sold for the Games.

There have been Olympic-themed strains sold before, including one called Ben after disgraced sprinter Ben Johnson because it had a fast and short-lived high.

And there was also Nagano Gold, named in honour of snowboarder Ross Rebagliati, who briefly had his medal stripped after testing positive for marijuana after his win at the 1998 Nagano Games. It was reinstated after officials realized that marijuana wasn’t on the banned substances list during competition.

It’s since been added.

While pot-friendly businesses say they’d love it if Rebagliati stopped by, they are a bit wary of tourists.

The influx isn’t likely to drive up prices, said Emery, just the supply of bad weed.

“It is a pot-friendly city but access to pot is not that readily available to out-of-towners,” said Emery.

“If you’re here for the Olympics you’ll certainly find it in no time at all but it’s not available like you think in places like Los Angeles, San Francisco or Amsterdam.”

At the Vancouver Seed Bank, which sells marijuana seeds, employee Rebecca Ambrose figures she’ll be spending a great deal of the Games educating tourists about the actual drug laws in B.C.

“We don’t sell or anything like that, if anything we’re probably going to get more tourists who need to know the rules of Vancouver, who might be misled into thinking that it’s legal here and stuff like that,” she said.

“That happens a lot.”

– Article from Winnipeg Free Press.

Comments

10 Comments

  1. Anonymous on

    Forget directing Marc to donate some of his stores profits to Haiti instead ask him to send bongs and papers and a few million pot seeds this way the people of Haiti can get stoned 24-7 and this will strengthen them in def’ for the healing of that nation like the tree of life was created
    and then with all the weed seeds they can overgrow the government there,if there still is one there sell dope bigtime to the rich world of stoners and have tons of dope leftover for themselves.. awsome solution
    we need more Jamacias. more Vancouvers , more Californias

  2. Mitch W on

    You know, thats a good point.
    But like I’d be surprised if they haven’t given something already.

  3. Reegz TheReeferman on

    The kamloops rcmp used the opportunity of the torch coming through to setup “checkpoints” and arrest anyone they claimed “smelled” of cannabis several arrests where made (I saw one happen). The officers cause for going over to the vehicle was the appearance of smoke inside the car.

  4. Mark on

    To Marc and Jodie: I know the politics around marijuana is extremely controversial (to say the least), and so, standing up to such an oppression is of course the right thing to do. But, that said, haven’t you ever thought of dedicating some of your time and experience to other perhaps better and more realistic causes? If, say, you could seriously petition (and donate some of your store profits) towards disaster relief in Hatti, would this not get skeptics to see you (and the marijuana-cause)in a better light?

    Perhaps if you could get your face in the news for something other then drug-legalization, you could rally up some new supporters for your own, initial cause (freeing Marc, legalizing drugs, etc., etc.)

    It’s an idea that needs work, but think about it.

  5. Anonymous on

    No, I’m not 13, and I’m not an American either. Have fun paying for your own drugs, suckers. Here in Canada, the welfare folks don’t get tipped off by anybody (other than people who don’t like you). Lots of people have jobs and get disability at the same time here. Sure, it would be easy enough to close the loopholes, but they don’t bother because it’s an industry, I guess. The doctors get paid when they fill out the forms and the social workers get paid for handling your case. I even asked a social worker once if they can find out if you made money and didn’t report it and he said nope. The social workers really don’t give a shit anyway. Do you think I would have wrote that post if I hadn’t actually seen this done?

    Canadians might think that the CPP contributions would somehow be reported to Social Services but apparently not. If CPP pays some money out to you then they know about that but otherwise they don’t have a clue. I know it sounds strange but it’s true. Maybe they could find out if they went to the trouble of contacting CPP and asking them, but apparently they don’t. Every now and then the department will do an audit, but those are maybe once a decade. That’s the only time they look into things like.

  6. Anonymous on

    Until your employer reports your earnings to the State. Uh huh…your scam will work. Sure it will. Are you 13, or something? Give me a break!

  7. Anonymous on

    Here’s another good scam that’s rampant where I live. You tell a doctor who has an office in a bad neighborhood that you’re a drug addict, even if all you use is weed. He gives you a paper that makes you eligible for disability welfare. Then you start driving a taxi or get any other type of job and don’t bother filing an income tax form and they never know you’re making other money. You don’t have to go to any kind of addiction program. You never hear from anybody. You just fill in the little paper saying that you didn’t earn anything that month and drop it in the box and the check comes shortly thereafter. Life is good for drug addicts. Those whole checks go straight for drugs. Why spend your own hard earned money?

  8. Anonymous on

    A favorite cop ploy around where I live used to be having two young female officers go into bars and randomly ask men to get them some drugs. I know people who have gone to prison for six months just for helping out these cop bitches. The give away was that it was always two of them together, so they could corroborate each others testimony later in court. So that’s probably one reason why you can’t just walk up to people you never met in your life and ask them to be nice enough to get drugs for you. Of course, that would be a pretty dumb move anyway, if you were really looking for weed and weren’t a cop, because that person you don’t know might just feel like robbing the stupid tourist. I bet a lot of those Olympic tourists will get their wallets plucked that way this year. There’s a whole lot of scumbags in Vancouver and most of them could use some extra money to get their coke and heroin until the welfare checks come out. Incidentally, the welfare department should just give the scumbags coke or heroin instead of money. That way they could cut out the middlemen. Yeah, we’ve seen the documentaries showing Vancouverites going straight from the welfare check desk to the dealer. Guess who is responsible for the majority of the heroin dealers’ revenue? That’s right, the taxpayers.

  9. Anonymous on

    “It is a pot-friendly city but access to pot is not that readily available to out-of-towners,” said Emery.

    “If you’re here for the Olympics you’ll certainly find it in no time at all but it’s not available like you think in places like Los Angeles, San Francisco or Amsterdam.”

    How insincere, how blatently false- these are weasel words Marc. you are coming off more & more like the Praise the Lord Club TV preacher Jim Baker as the weeks pass

    Ten years of ovreselling the impact of marijuana in BC,
    and now three weeks of underselling it for the Olympics. —– we believe you- NOT
    BC is flooded with dope,and HAS BEEN FOR TWENTY FIVE YEARS.. growers knew the Klondike of tourists would be in Vancouver to be part of the Olympic party so they adjusted their inventory, well in advance to capitalize on the army of out of town suckers looking to score //
    now tell us how BC pot isn;t the strongest and best in the world now- blame that in somebody else when that claim no longer suits you business model.

    And just in time before the Government Overgrows _you