January 12, 2018 9:50 pm
Updated: January 12, 2018 10:41 pm

In Vancouver, you need a licence to sell street shawarma. But weed? That’s easy

The growing number of unlicensed cannabis vendors plying their trade along a section of Robson Street in downtown Vancouver is raising concerns. Aaron McArthur reports on why it's allowed, and what, if anything, the city plans to do about it.

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You need a licence to sell just about anything on the streets of Vancouver.

Shawarma or hot dogs, for instance.

But the City of Vancouver and the police appear to have adopted a lax attitude about an open market for marijuana that’s cropped up on Robson Street downtown.

Coverage of marijuana on Globalnews.ca:


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There are sometimes enough pot sellers on Robson Street near the courthouse to take up the whole block.

They sell products like marijuana and pot brownies.

The market has been operating for over a year and a half, said vendor Herb Sonmor.

“It’s important to get medicine to people that need it,” he told Global News.

Both the city and the police know about the market, but so far, it looks like the extent of enforcement has been bylaw officers showing up and handing out tickets.

Vendors often don’t pay the fines and it doesn’t appear that authorities are willing to do much else.

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“We are looking at ways of dealing with this,” said Vancouver police Sgt. Jason Robillard.

“And from a police perspective, we are aware of what’s going on there.”

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For his part, Sonmor said vendors take care to ensure that young people can’t access their products.

“We ask for ID if we think they are underage of course,” he said.

“That’s our biggest fear is minors, that’s not something we want to push.”

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