Pro-pot pastor proclaims partial win

Robin Douglas at odds with landlord, City of White Rock and Vancouver Police.

Robin Douglas shows his eviction-hearing notification to White Rock bylaw and RCMP officers

A White Rock man who was facing eviction from a home where he operates a cannabis-centred church said he has won an appeal of the notice to leave.

“The eviction was thrown out,” Robin Douglas told Peace Arch News the day after the hearing. “The landlord-tenancy advisor ruled in our favour.”

Douglas opened his Church of the Holy Smoke on the Marine Drive rental property earlier this year. He was handed an eviction notice in June, and a hearing on the matter was held Aug. 12.

Monday, officials with the province’s Ministry of Natural Gas Development, which is responsible for housing, would not confirm the decision, citing privacy. It could also not be confirmed with Douglas’ landlord, who spoke to Peace Arch News during a confrontation at the property earlier this month, but declined to identify himself.

Douglas said while the victory is “definitely” his, he is still waiting to receive the decision in writing.

A second tenancy hearing is to take place next month regarding his roommate, he added.

Douglas said he has yet to take legal steps in response to actions by the City of White Rock with regard to his use of the property. He has been issued a series of escalating fines in connection with a tent structure that was being used as a church, in contravention of city bylaws.

The structure now houses his vehicle, and church operations are held on Douglas’s porch.

“I’m not going to pay the fines,” Douglas said, adding he has “a few other things” that are currently taking precedence over his plans to initiate his own legal action against the city.

At the same time, he is optimistic that a complaint of unnecessary force that he made against the Vancouver Police Department last month will also conclude in his favour.

Douglas filed the complaint with the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner last month, after he says officers used unnecessary force in detaining him on July 1 in Vancouver, during Cannabis Day events outside the art gallery.

According to an Aug. 10 letter confirming the complaint’s admissibility, Douglas reported that when he walked across the street and stood in front of police that day, “a member of the police took him down, smashed his head and glasses, and handcuffed him.”

“Another officer jumped on him and a second officer put his knee in Pastor Douglas’ back,” the letter states.

Douglas told PAN he was “surrounded.”

“I would’ve walked away. He took me down in such a rough fashion, it screams police brutality… and I’m not going to put up with it.

“We have rights in this country.”

If substantiated, the actions would “constitute misconduct,” the letter states, noting such investigations must be completed within six months, but could be granted an extension.

 

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