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Police: no policy on pot

By Hempology | October 8, 2003

From Monday Magazine, October 8th, 2003

By Andrew MacLeod

For years, the word on the street has been that police in British Columbia don’t bother to
arrest or prosecute anyone for possessing small amounts of marijuana. The conventional
wisdom said that while pot wasn’t officially legal, in effect, it might as well have been.

That’s what Jon Lipton thought, and why he was so surprised in February when he was busted
with less than a gram – barely enough to roll one decent fatty – of the plant. “It’s just a
shock to me,” says the 36-year-old, who has had five court appearances on the charge already,
with a trial set for October 15.

Marijuana use should be a personal choice for responsible adults, he says, and crown
prosecutors have put into putting together a case against him. “There are so many people
involved in my little case, it’s a crime that so much taxpayers’ money has been wasted on

Victoria police sergeant Todd Wellman says, “Typically, members have been using their
discretion … I think police have been reflecting the general public’s view around
possession of small amounts. It’s not a blanket coverage that you can carry around small
amounts of marijuana and police won’t charge you. It’s not a blanket policy. There is no

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