VPD crack down on pop-up pot vendors after weeks-long stalemate

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Marijuana in public; a mainstay in Vancouver. Photo shutterstock

Police appear to be cracking down on pop-up stalls selling marijuana as frustrations mount over the open air market operating in a prominent square in downtown Vancouver.

A spokesman for the Vancouver Police Department declined comment on what he called an ongoing investigation, but vendors say officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday and arrested several sellers.

Pop-up pot shops have been setting up with increasing frequency in the pedestrian-only plaza in recent weeks, selling everything from dried marijuana to cannabis-infused edibles.

Vendors say they are protesting against unfair laws that limit access and the type of marijuana that can be sold, arguing they provide a harm-reduction service to people fighting addiction.

Coun. Melissa De Genova says she has heard from more and more residents who are upset about what is happening in the public square and who want the city to step in.

Charles Gauthier of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association says it is unfair to require legitimate street vendors to buy a licence and comply with regulations while others set up shop and sell an illegal product.

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Sgt. Jason Robillard says officers have been keeping tabs on the Robson Square stalls over the past couple of years and will release more details later this week on what took place Sunday.