(GlobalNews) July 1 is not just Canada Day, it’s also Cannabis Day in downtown Vancouver and it started off with a confrontation between police, city workers and marijuana protesters.
Police say they made two arrests at the annual smoke-in at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which went ahead despite the efforts by the City of Vancouver to shut down the event. Due to ongoing construction around the VAG, this year’s event is being held at a smaller space on the south side of the building.
Cannabis Day organizers handed out marijuana to participants as they started a day-long smoke-in complete with speeches and vendors, amid a large police presence. Global News witnessed two attendees being arrested by police following a heated confrontation between the protesters and VPD.
“We’re here as the Marijuana Party of Canada, this is an election year,” said one Cannabis Day attendee.
“We have every right to set up a table and a tent to inform the public of what our beliefs are…. they don’t want us to set up tables and tents for some arbitrary reason done by City Hall… [there’s] no reason other than to attack our community.”
VPD Cst. Brian Montague said in a statement that officers observed a man “overtly selling marijuana, including to young people.” Montague says officers asked him to stop, but the man said he intended to openly sell to anyone despite police requests and warnings.
The man was arrested and police say they “were required to pepper spray at least one person to complete the arrest.”