Video shows group smoking illicit drugs in Maple Ridge Tim Hortons

Click to play video: 'Open drug use in Maple Ridge Tim Hortons'
Open drug use in Maple Ridge Tim Hortons
There is shock today over a video that shows open drug use in a Maple Ridge fast food restaurant. As Troy Charles reports, it has prompted increased calls for tougher drug laws - and more treatment options. – Mar 29, 2024

A video posted online showing open drug use in a Maple Ridge, B.C., Tim Hortons is generating a lot of controversy.

A group of men are seen smoking drugs in a booth, right next to two women who are seemingly unaware of what’s happening.

Staff at the Tim Hortons on 224th Street tell Global News that the fumes from the drugs forced them to evacuate the restaurant.

They said this type of problem is something they have to deal with on a weekly basis.

Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety, said he was disgusted upon seeing the video.

“There’s absolutely no place for that,” he said.

“It’s illegal. People should not have to put up with that. It’s … absolutely just disgusting.”

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Farnworth said he would like to see the offenders hauled off and charged.

“When you see that, it’s just disgusting,” he added.

“It’s very concerning. People should not have to put up with that. That’s why we’re trying to get the law changed so that we can regulate … open drug use in the same way we can regulate alcohol, we can regulate the use of tobacco, we should be able to regulate drug use, and it should not, under any circumstances, (be) taking place indoors in a restaurant.”

Click to play video: 'Theft, threats force Maple Ridge business to move'
Theft, threats force Maple Ridge business to move

In March, the B.C. Court of Appeal refused to grant the province leave to appeal an injunction blocking Bill 34, the Restricting Public Consumption of Illegal Substances Act.

That bill was passed in the legislature in November, allowing for fines and potential imprisonment for people who refuse police orders not to consume drugs in certain public places.

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In December, the B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction pending a legal challenge, blocking the legislation until March 31, 2024, ruling it could cause “irreparable harm” to drug users at risk of a fatal overdose.

The province said the possession or consumption of drugs remains prohibited at schools and child-care facilities, or within 15 metres of playgrounds and pools under other provisions separate from Bill 34.

In a statement, the Harm Reduction Nurses Association said it opposes Bill 34 and wants it declared unconstitutional.

“Everyone wants to feel safe in their communities, and everyone wants to know that laws properly balance everyone’s safety,” the organization said.

“This law does not accomplish that goal. The HRNA wants all communities and members of our communities to thrive. But that can’t happen when the government passes a law that
almost certainly will lead to more fatalities. In short, Bill 34 threatens the health, safety, and Charter rights of people who use drugs in B.C.

Farnworth said businesses can call the police for incidents like the one in Tim Hortons.

Global News contacted Tim Hortons and Ridge Meadows RCMP but did not hear back.

Click to play video: 'Maple Ridge city councillor upset police aren’t charging break and enter suspect'
Maple Ridge city councillor upset police aren’t charging break and enter suspect

Maple Ridge councillor Ahmed Yousef echoed Farnworth’s comments.

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“It is very disturbing and shocking that this level of conduct is now open with a table of seniors seated immediately behind the person,” he said.

“First and foremost, smoking indoors is not allowed of any kind, let alone mind-altering substances, the effects of which on non-users are not exactly clear.”

Yousef said Maple Ridge is a community of young families and seniors, for the most part.

“And this is what they’re being exposed to at our local Tim Hortons, right in the heart of our downtown,” he said. “It’s utterly unacceptable, and it is a direct result of these provincial policies that need to be revisited.”

Click to play video: 'Shop overcomes devastating vandalism again'
Shop overcomes devastating vandalism again

Next to the Tim Hortons is Gold Rush Jewellers, whose owner told Global News in February that he has made the decision to close his shop and find a new location due to rampant drug use, threats and crime on the street.

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“Every day I (have to) call security at least four to five times,” Adnan Polat said. “This is a bad situation. I (ask them) to please move, they do drugs and do not want to be interrupted. Most of them do not listen and argue with me. They threaten you, ‘I will break your window.’”

His window has been broken in the past, costing him $3,000.

According to Polat, the constant loitering and petty crime are affecting his customers and, in turn, costing him money.

Yousef said more businesses are closing than opening in Maple Ridge.

“It’s a direct result of this level of conduct,” he said.

“If someone is struggling with drug addictions, they need to have a path to treatment. They need to have a path to a better life. Because when we see them out on the streets, they’re not living their best lives. They’re not having a good time.”

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