POLITICS

Vancouver police board to hear complaint about approach to pot dispensaries

06/25/2015 05:43 EDT | Updated 06/25/2016 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Police Board will formally consider a complaint alleging its police department is failing to enforce the law against medical marijuana dispensaries.

The board sent a letter to Pamela McColl, the executive director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada, confirming it will hear her complaint at a Sept. 17 meeting.

McColl claims Vancouver police have failed to uphold Canada's drug laws and allowed the illegal pot shops to flourish, profit from crime and threaten public safety.

The news comes a day after Vancouver city council voted to regulate the booming marijuana retail industry, imposing a $30,000 licence fee and strict location requirements.

Const. Brian Montague says police have the power to conduct investigations and make arrests, but can't simply shut down illegal businesses without due process.

He says officers have executed nine search warrants at dispensaries in the past year and a half, but in all cases the stores re-opened within a day or two.