Vancouver police will focus on vendors selling to minors at 4/20

Ahead of 4/20, VPD is urging parents to talk to teens about ‘risks of attending a large, unsanctioned cannabis event’

With the city’s annual 4/20 event set for this Saturday at Sunset Beach, Vancouver police Wednesday urged parents to talk to teens about the “risks of attending a large, unsanctioned cannabis event.” And, while it is illegal to sell marijuana outside of a licensed dispensary, officers will be keeping an eye out specifically for vendors selling cannabis products to minors.

“With the warm weather, the long weekend, and the free concert, we recognize that this year’s 4/20 event may be a big draw for teens,” said media relations officer Sgt. Jason Robillard. “Like other large public events, our focus will be on the safety of attendees, the general public, and first responders, but we will be paying special attention to vendors to ensure they are not selling to minors.”

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Robillard said police are encouraging booth operators to make it a priority to identify minors and to post signs in front of each booth discouraging sales to young people.

“There will be a visible police presence at the event,” he said. “In addition to patrol officers, the VPD’s public safety unit, our gang crime unit, will be on site will be focusing on monitoring the sales to those who appear to be minors and will be taking action if sales are observed.”

Robillard said officers will also be on the lookout for drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol throughout the day.

“The VPD will continue to do anything possible, including enforcement as required, to maintain the safety of the public and reduce any negative impact to the people not associated to the event who are living, working and visiting the area,” Robillard said.

And while the debate over 4/20 and where, or if, it should take place, continues, Mayor Kennedy Stewart this week said that his main concern is getting the city, the park board and organizers on the same page.

Earlier this year, park board commissioners passed a motion requesting city council, Stewart and 4/20 organizers look into finding “a more appropriate location” for the event starting in 2020.

The mayor said staff is already working to identify other possible locations.

“We’ll be working with the park board to try to make this into a celebration rather than a conflict… I would think if we could just get beyond all this conflict, if we could all settle down, and then look for a way to make this a celebration in the future because it was a protest, the protesters won, they got cannabis legalized and so I do think we should find a way to move this forward, to celebrate the victory but also think how can we use this to generate some positive economic activity for our city,” Stewart said.

@JessicaEKerr

jkerr@vancourier.com

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