Grow Ops Sprout Across Country

  Grow Ops Sprout Across Country

Posted by CN Staff on November 03, 2003 at 14:00:43 PT
By Don Martin, For The Calgary Herald  
Source: Calgary Herald  

Five years ago, "offence-related material" stored in federal government warehouses pending a court verdict meant the odd seized boat, stolen car or swiped stereo system. Today, up to 80 per cent of the storage space is filled with hydroponic growing equipment. This does not mean criminals have discovered the joys of healthy, home-grown vegetables.
It's all dope, all the time, a growing mountain of evidence from what police describe as a proliferation of marijuana growing operations which already exist, or are coming soon, to a neighbourhood near you.The government is struggling to cope with the proceeds of rampant hydroponic activity, which is rapidly spreading east across Canada from its aquacultural origins in southern B.C. The Public Works warehouse in Edmonton is so jammed with the huge lights, fans, power generators, air conditioners, wires and tubing needed to convert a bungalow into a cannabis factory, that workers are having trouble reaching the buried cases of evidence they've been cleared by the courts to destroy. The cavernous 40,000-square-foot warehouse in Chilliwack, B.C., home base for the legendary 'B.C. Bud' marijuana harvest, is also nearing its functional storage capacity, an official told me this week.The department estimates the nine warehouses cost taxpayers more than $2 million per year in operating costs linked to storing hydroponic apparatus. The seized material is often held for more than a year until legal proceedings are finished, just in case police have mistaken a three-metre-high cannabis stalk for a genetically modified tomato plant and are legally obliged to return the growing equipment to the owner.Before the government was overwhelmed by the volume of material, they used to sell some equipment back to the public. It gradually occurred to the bright lights in government that anyone loading up on 1,000-watt bulbs, trays, tubing, pots and light shields might actually be using the stuff for . . . um . . . growing marijuana. So now the glass is crushed in garbage trucks, the plastic screens are recycled and heavy metal ballasts are sold to scrap metal dealers. It took me four months and the tireless intervention of Public Works communications director John Embury to secure permission for a tour of the smallest facility, a nondescript 6,000-square-foot warehouse in southeast Ottawa.  Snipped: Complete Article: Calgary Herald (CN AB)Author: Don Martin, For The Calgary Herald Published: Monday, November 03, 2003Copyright: 2003 Calgary HeraldContact: letters theherald.canwest.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Organized Crime Grows as Marijuana Profits Rise Pot Laws Lure Criminals To Canada 

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Comment #6 posted by schmeff on November 04, 2003 at 09:10:51 PT
Thanks for the info., GCW
I keep thinking that Johnny Pee would label the good doctor "In-Sain". Dr. Sain simply has too much common sense and a non-ideological approach, so in Walters' up-is-down, black-is-white fantasy world, the doctor couldn't possibly be Sain. ;)
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on November 03, 2003 at 18:59:55 PT
FROM CANNABIS TO CARBURETOR CANNABIS TO CARBURETOR U Of T Prof Makes Autoparts From Hemp Amid the clutter of textbooks, journals, papers and reams of notes in the office of Dr. Mohini Sain sit a car door, a bus seat, an instrument panel, a deck plank, and a car bumper-all of them made from hemp. Dr. Sain is a professor in U of T's Faculty of Forestry and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, and has conceived of more things to do with hemp than you can think of to do with the strongest ( mechanically speaking ) of hemp plants, cannabis. "We look at the potential for hemp in automotive parts, sports apparel, the furniture industry, aeronautics, and the medical industry," Dr. Sain said. You can make skis, dashboards, bumpers, I beams, cross ties for railroad tracks, canoes, tennis rackets, basketball stands, car door panels, roof shingles and a myriad of other things from the materials that he and his collaborators have developed. And hopefully, in the very near future, we will be able to make biomedical supplies, like bloodbags, and even airplane parts from hemp. "Our direction is to move away from fossil fuel based synthetics to more natural alternatives," said Dr. Sain. How does he manage to turn fluffy green cannabis plants into car siding capable of withstanding a full-on impact? A long chemical process allows Dr. Sain to extract long, thin strands of pure starch, or cellulose ( a long chain of sugar ) from hemp. In the plant, many of these strands put together make a hemp fiber. By first isolating individual strands and then reassembling them back into fibers, chemists make fibers with as few defects as possible, making them much stronger. They can also control the length and diameter of the strands-the longer and thinner the strand, the stronger it is. By enmeshing hemp fibers into a matrix of glue, Dr. Sain has been able to create plastics almost identical to conventional plastics ( save for their brown colour ). The glue could be synthetic, or it could be natural-there are already many bioplastics made from soy or corn being used. Dr. Sain is particularly interested in producing construction materials from a glue of wood resin interwoven with hemp fibers. The wood resin could easily come from leaf litter and forest floor debris, he said. Fewer trees would have to be cut down than are needed to support our current construction business. The technology is not entirely new-for years Dr. Sain and many other scientists have been making biomaterials, or industrial materials made from natural products. You may even have already ridden in a car made with hemp parts. Dr. Sain's fiberglass-like hemp material has been used in car door siding for two years now. Transit seats made from 100 per cent hemp with a polyester glue are already in widespread use. "The first generation of biomaterials has already been in use for several years. For example, in the construction industry, if you go to places like Home Hardware, you can find decking materials made from synthetic plastics combined with wood fibers or rice husks," said Dr. Sain. Dr. Sain is working towards improving the strength and durability of these materials, and devising even more ways of using hemp commericially. He hopes that he will be able to create steel interfused with hemp. Weaving hemp fibers into steel makes the metal stronger, which would allow auto manufacturers to lower the thickness of the steel they use. Not only would this mean using less steel, but it would also mean making a much lighter car that would use far less fuel, costing less for everyone and creating less pollution. Win-win. With such a development you could literally build a car from the inside out with hemp-the steel frame and body, hubcaps, bumpers, instrument panel, seats, and seat coverings all could be made with hemp. Dr. Sain is also optimistic that within a few years we will have blood bags and other biomedical supplies made from hemp. Syringes and gloves and other medical gear, by and large, cannot be reused, but ones made from hemp would be 100% biodegradeable. He and his associates will first have to ensure however that these biodegradeable materials will be safe for human use. No matter how fond you are of environmentally friendly alternatives, an IV bag that slowly disintegrates into your drip and your veins is not a pleasant thought. Hemp alternatives not only make environmental sense, says Dr. Sain, they make economic sense. "We look to make environmentally and economically sustainable materials." By creating industrial products with hemp, "you can bring some of this value back to the farmers who grow the plants, and then you can develop some small industries and employ some people to make these materials. You not only give added value to the farmers, you also get additional employment. "This is a public issue. That's why we are scientists-we are interested in accepting the challenges and finding solutions. We meet the concerns of the public." 
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on November 03, 2003 at 18:16:17 PT

So What?
"If the fear factor of a pot-possession criminal record is eliminated, demand will rise and the hydroponic market will go even more hyperactive. For the federal government, that comes with a hidden cost -- they'll need to rent more warehouses."Aside from the feds having to rent more warehouses(which is comically futile!), I fail to see a negative aspect here, even if demand does rise. Outright legalization remains the only solution. Thanks for posting the rest,GCW...and to FoM, of course!The way out is the way in...White House Stonewalling 9/11 Documents: Prior Knowledge/Government Involvement Archive: CitizensWatch:
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Comment #2 posted by Rainbow on November 03, 2003 at 18:13:36 PT

DEAth is on its way to save the dayyyyyyyy
Watch out Canada only Amerika has the know power to rid you of this problem.One a good news light I was able to rid the Catholic School System in Rochester Minn. of the DARE program. I just kept showing them evidence.This includes 4 or 5 elementary schools. It took 2 or 3 years but my small piece is cleaner.Cheers,
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on November 03, 2003 at 16:58:34 PT

The rest...
It took me four months and the tireless intervention of Public Works communications director John Embury to secure permission for a tour of the smallest facility, a nondescript 6,000-square-foot warehouse in southeast Ottawa. There was only half-joking talk of being blindfolded for the ride there, lest my disclosure of the location prompt a break-in by green cannabis thumbs in need of more agricultural equipment. Suffice to say, my request for pictures was vetoed. In typical bureaucratic style, officials waited until a few days after 80 crates of growing equipment had been hauled off for sale or destruction before reluctantly opening the door to a journalist's inspection. Despite the housecleaning, the warehouse still contained stacks of wooden crates rising off the floor five metres high, each carefully labelled with case numbers and the name of the accused. There were even a couple of tractor lawn mowers parked inside, which suggests somebody was producing a helluva pile of grass. But perhaps this is being too flippant about a crime surge very clearly getting out of hand. The number of plants seized in Ontario alone has skyrocketed to 345,000 from just 3,000 stalks in 2000.A confidential report by the Criminal Intelligence Service of Ontario, which fell into my hands, quickly dispels the quaint notion of home-ops as mom-and-pot operations, growing recreational drugs for local consumption.A $25,000 investment in equipment can grow 600 plants twice a year, each worth $1,000 retail, and the penalty for being caught is usually measured in a few months of incarceration, not years. It's increasingly viewed as an organized crime racket where upscale executive homes are converted into multi-level pot-producing factories powered by stolen electricity or buried generators, the harvest aimed primarily for export to the United States. The signs of a grow-op should theoretically be easy to spot, which doesn't say much for my detection abilities after I failed to detect a grow-op dismantled right behind my Ottawa home. There'll be a garage to facilitate the loading of product into trucks or cars and a fireplace to air out the dwelling. But you'll also notice the new neighbours, if any, keep very much to themselves, the windows are blacked out and the roof is the first to shed snow. Take a whiff during a walk around the block at night and you might catch operators trying to air out the dwelling of pungent fumes.If the fear factor of a pot-possession criminal record is eliminated, demand will rise and the hydroponic market will go even more hyperactive. For the federal government, that comes with a hidden cost -- they'll need to rent more warehouses.Don Martin is the Herald's Ottawa bureau chief.

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