An illegal open pot market thrives in downtown Vancouver, as B.C. seizes $40K in whiskey

Click to play video: 'Questioning Vancouver City Hall about the Robson Square pot market' Questioning Vancouver City Hall about the Robson Square pot market
Little action has been taken on an illegal pot market on Robson Street in Downtown Vancouver. Jordan Armstrong set out to ask Mayor Gregor Robertson about it – Jan 20, 2018

On the same day that B.C. liquor control officers seized $40,000 in whiskey from a restaurant on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive, an open and illegal pot market continued to thrive on Robson Street in the city’s downtown.

The market is located outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, and it’s a place where vendors sell all manner of marijuana products such as gummies, cookies and brownies.

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A man had an outburst at the market on Friday, shouting and removing his shirt in front of tables where marijuana and pot-based products were being sold.

One vendor wanted Global News to stop filming, claiming the man had no connection to the market. But another said the man is a regular visitor.

“Sometimes he gets in the way, sometimes he doesn’t,” said marijuana advocate Dylan Delaurier.

“We usually just let him be, let him sit, smoke some weed. He’s usually calm but sometimes he has little outbursts.”

Members of the business community are fed up that the market has continued to operate.

“I think people are embarrassed, I think people are disappointed,” said Charles Gauthier, president and CEO of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA).

“I think people are angry. Why are there double standards that if someone else came in here and was operating illegally would be able to continue?”

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

The City of Vancouver and the police are aware of the market, but so far enforcement hasn’t gone too far beyond bylaw officers stopping by and issuing tickets.

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“Clearly these people are flaunting [sic] the laws and they’re a nuisance at this stage,” Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said Friday.

But he wouldn’t commit to a deadline to shut the market down.

Global News pointed out to Robertson that he’s chair of the police board.

“I am but in terms of operations, it’s up to the chief to make those next steps,” he said.

READ MORE: B.C. Government unveils how cannabis will be sold once legalized

Vancouver police spokesman Const. Jason Doucette said officers are “not ignoring” the market.

“We are considering various options and hopefully we can come up with a solution with the vendors.”

~With files from Simon Little

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