Illegal Marijuana Operations On The Rise

Illegal Marijuana Operations On The Rise
Posted by CN Staff on December 18, 2003 at 07:53:57 PT
By Colin Freeze
Source: Globe and Mail 
Ontario's homegrown marijuana industry is an expanding multibillion-dollar export business, one that is making gangsters rich as it threatens neighbourhoods, taxpayers and children, police said yesterday. The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police released a report on the province's marijuana business. In Green Tide: Indoor Marihuana Cultivation, police offer their best estimates on a crime that they say is overwhelming law enforcement. 
According to the report: The number of grow operations in the province has more than doubled in the past two years to as many as 15,000, mostly in homes in suburbs or small and medium-sized cities. Since 2000, as many as 10,000 children have lived in homes that have been converted into marijuana factories, which are often located within half a kilometre of schools. These so-called grow ops are estimated to have illicitly generated as much as $12.7-billion during the past three years. At the same time, taxpayers were stuck with paying $260-million, largely because of electricity stolen from Ontario utilities by growers who want to escape the scrutiny that accompanies large electricity bills.Typically, rows upon rows of hydroponically grown plants are tended by new immigrants and their families, who face increased risk of fires, violent robberies and exposure to toxic chemicals.The findings in the Ontario report are consistent with conclusions reached in an RCMP report on national trends last year. While criminal syndicates in B.C. pioneered indoor growing in Canada, the practice has proliferated across the country in recent years.One reason is that marijuana cultivation is highly lucrative and it is relatively risk free here compared with the United States. While Americans can face stiff. multiyear jail sentences if convicted of growing marijuana, in Canada conditional sentences -- such as house arrest or other non-jail punishments -- are the norm. Authorities estimate a typical grow op can generate $600,000 a year. Police, who say Ontario's 11 million citizens couldn't possibly smoke the entire crop produced in the province, believe there is an increased demand for Canada's supply from the United States. At a press conference at Queen's Park yesterday, police called for tougher laws and more public awareness.Ontario Provincial Police deputy commissioner Vaughn Collins said that marijuana cultivators should face a two-year minimum sentence. While the RCMP report clearly places much blame on biker and Vietnamese gangs, Mr. Collins said that organized criminals of all stripes are involved in the trade. Canada's proposed marijuana-decriminalization legislation would have actually increased maximum penalties for cultivation, even as it would have fined smokers for possession instead of charging them. But the bill died when the parliamentary session ended in the fall. A recent court decision has made possession a clear criminal offence in Ontario once again, overtaking a previous decision that made it impossible for police to charge people with marijuana use.  Note: Law enforcement overwhelmed, report warnsComplete Title: Illegal Marijuana Operations On The Rise, Police SaySource: Globe and Mail (Canada)Author:  Colin FreezePublished: Thursday, December 18, 2003 - Page A16 Copyright: 2003 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Court To Issue Ruling Soon on Pot Law Toke or Not To Toke? Advocates Get Day in High Court 
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Comment #19 posted by jose melendez on December 19, 2003 at 04:11:17 PT
hear, hear
"Shame on those police who would put job security over public safety." - JR Bob Dobbs
crooks with guns and badges fight pot, but drink, smoke and pop pills.
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Comment #18 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on December 19, 2003 at 03:46:17 PT
Sirs,  Why this boom in the number of illegal grow operations? Supply and demand. Canadians are demanding marijuana in great quantities, and since there is no legal (and taxable) way to obtain it, the criminal element will gladly step in. Each criminal gang will price itself only slightly lower than its competition, so when the police raid one grow op, the others simply raise their prices accordingly. Marijuana is currently priced comparably to gold. If the laws allowed one and all to grow it freely, the price would plummet, and the criminals would leave the business almost immediately. So why are police calling for tougher laws? To raise the price of pot, or to ensure that the only people who grow the stuff will be hardened criminals? Shame on those police who would put job security over public safety.
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Comment #17 posted by Virgil on December 18, 2003 at 23:10:17 PT
Illinois does not count. Florida does not count.I would say 10 because that is the highest number that can be defended. I called it the Eight State Debate before Maryland passed their law last year. This comes from comment5 in this thread before the Maryland law- You can add Maryland if you are gracious enough to count their weak MMJ defense when arrested and charged. This is the MPP reference to what follows-, this subject is often confused by reporters. There is no excuse for omitting any of the 9 except Arizona. I've seen each of the other 8 omitted, but more often Arizona.According to MPP:Effective laws. The only laws that currently provide meaningful protection for patients are ones that remove state-level criminal penalties for cultivation, possession, and use of medical marijuana. Eight states -- Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington -- have effective laws of this nature, all of which were enacted since 1996. note, Arizona voters passed a medical marijuana initiative at the same time [Arizona 200 in 1996, same time as Calif 215], but it turned out to be only symbolic because it used the word "prescribe" rather than "recommend." I think Arizona has been troublesome, in part, because of the unusually high level of opposition by state politicians.
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Comment #16 posted by aolbites on December 18, 2003 at 22:50:31 PT
-how many states?!
well, how many states have med laws .. really? i've read 6, 8, 9, 10 ... which is it really? does IL count?
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Comment #15 posted by afterburner on December 18, 2003 at 17:22:11 PT:
Recrim, not Decrim
If as we hope, the Canadian Supreme Court rules that prohibition of cannabis possession is unconstitutional, then Paul Martin's cannabis bill will not be decrim, but recrim. Since he plans a free vote, it probably won't pass, and if it's already legal, he'll have to justify why it should, in his view, be recriminalized. Debate, further study, this time scientific and medical instead of racist scare stories, would be necessary. Great progress has already been made on this website and others in informing public opinion about the true nature of cannabis, cannabis prohibition, and medical benefits. Many European countries have liberalized their cannabis laws; the Netherlands is providing medical cannabis by prescription; Australia and New Zealand have decreased criminal penalties; Canada has provided government-sanctioned medical cannabis to a very small percentage of those patients in need of its palliative benefits; South American countries are jumping off the bad ship Prohibition; United Kingdom is reclassifying cannabis downward again; in Canada cannabis is Schedule 2; even the United States has eight states with medical cannabis laws, six of them protected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. This is the environment into which the Canadian government would have to justify a return to the evils of cannabis prohibition. Free debate! Free the scientists to study the medical benefits! Free vote! Free cannabis from its chains! Free cannabists from unjust persecution and oppression!ego transcendence follows ego destruction, we watched them try to put the genie back in the bottle in the 1970's, we've come too far for a repeat performance, as the President would say, "That dog won't hunt."
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Comment #14 posted by yippierevolutionary on December 18, 2003 at 16:08:08 PT
Isnt it ironic, dont ya think?
Isn't it hilarious that we are rooting for a decriminalization bill not to pass?
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Comment #13 posted by yippierevolutionary on December 18, 2003 at 16:07:04 PT
FoM I worry about that too
Legislative paralysis with any kind of pot bill is our best friend at the moment.
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on December 18, 2003 at 16:00:31 PT
I don't like how the new pot bill and the ruling are happening so close together. Will something go wrong and will they be able to throw a good decision out if one comes on the 23rd with this new bill? It seems like Paul Martin is trying to get in good with John Walters. I hope I'm wrong and am just worrying for nothing.
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Comment #11 posted by afterburner on December 18, 2003 at 15:50:12 PT:
Another Globe and Mail Cannabis Story Today
Martin to roll his own pot bill
Online Edition: Thursday, December 18, 2003 06:32 PM
Prime Minister plans to introduce his own marijuana decriminalization bill 
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on December 18, 2003 at 13:03:40 PT
Related News Brief from The Associated Press
Canada Promises to Revive Pot BillDecember 18, 2003 Ottawa -- Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said Thursday his government will reintroduce legislation to decriminalize simple possession of marijuana when Parliament sits again in the new year.Martin indicated that the bill, first brought in under his predecessor Jean Chretien, could be toughened in committee before it passes."I think that one's got to take a look at the fines," Martin said. "I think that you have to take a look at the quantities, and I think that there has to be a larger effort against the grow-ops and against those who distribute."But the prime minister said he agrees with the principle that young people should not be dogged throughout life by a criminal record if they are caught in possession of small amounts of pot.The Supreme Court of Canada is set to rule next week on a challenge to the current marijuana law in which the key issue is whether criminal penalties, including jail time, for simple possession violate the Charter of Rights.Martin's comments signaled that even if the high court upholds the constitutionality of the present law, his government will still move to change it.The United States opposes any plan by Ottawa to decriminalize marijuana possession in Canada, saying it could inflate already burgeoning cross-border pot smuggling.The United States Drug Enforcement Agency estimates smuggling from the western province of British Columbia alone is worth more than $1 billion a year.
 Copyright: 2003 Associated Press 
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Comment #9 posted by yippierevolutionary on December 18, 2003 at 11:01:26 PT
Virgil How Can I get tested?
I would like to get tested for contaminants in my body. I know there is lead, mercury, dioxin and PCBS floating around in here. Like in Bowling for Columbine when Moore asked the cop who can you arrest for the smog in the air, who is responsible for the poisons in my blood?This is facism of the worst kind. Only you should be the gatekeeper of what goes in and out of your body, that freedom died a long time ago. I think the polluters use tobacco smoking to keep the public distracted. It creates a group that is much unhealthier than the general public. It makes non-smokers look much healthier in comparison. Do you see what I'm saying I am having trouble articulating this point. 
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Comment #8 posted by Virgil on December 18, 2003 at 10:45:44 PT
On Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde made an appearance in discussion at DU several weeks ago when studies questioned the link to it and Alzeheimer's. It is a very dangerous thing and even 20 years ago you had to have people buying a new mobile home sign a formaldehyde statement because it is in the carpets. You can do a Google search on Formaldeyde and qualify for conspiracy loon by Nazi standards in just a few minutes.There are dioxins and PCB's in almost every Americans body. They do not want testing like that to occur on nationwide systematic basis such as sample testing of school children. Testing for drugs is clearly the wrong priority. They keep saying go this way, go this way and have their media amplify it so that the best path is not only taken, but ignored. Oprah had them sample her blood once for a show on environmental pollution in the bodies of Americans.
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Comment #7 posted by yippierevolutionary on December 18, 2003 at 10:21:21 PT
Formaldehyde and the School Nurse
The biology teacher used to have us dissect dead cats that were soaked in formaldehyde. On the box there were all kinds of warnings about using flow hoods to suck away the smell. But we didnt have any, so she would put a fan in the room. The whole upstairs of the school would be filled with the formaldehyde fumes and kids would get headaches and there noses would burn. I would ask to go to the nurses office because it was downstairs. The teacher would get mad at me like there was something wrong with me. At the nurses office I would try to point out the health hypocrisy. She couldn't get it. "marijuana makes you stupid, if formaldehyde were bad they wouldnt let us use it" she would say.Imagine if the upstairs were filled with cannabis smoke, how fast they would evacuate the building! The people responsible would be prosecuted!We were required to wear uniforms as well. We would have to buy them from one company, and they were wrinkle resistant which means treated in formaldehyde. When I found that out I ordered hemp pants and shirts and ties that looked almost like the uniform and asked the VP if I could wear them because I didn't like being poisoned by my clothes. He said he would ask the nurse. He didnt get back to me so I asked the nurse what she thought about it. "I think it's a crock of shit. We don't wear hemp to school." It's just a shirt and pants I said. "Cotton is the most natural fabric you can wear that" I think the readers of Cnews don't need to be reminded about what goes into cotton production.I wore A hemp suit to the prom, from my shoes to my tie. Ahh the school nurse, I remember her fondly.
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Comment #6 posted by yippierevolutionary on December 18, 2003 at 10:14:38 PT
The Great Sugar Poisoning
In my Catholic high school's theology class we would have discussions. One time we were talking about alcohol use by gasp people under 21. I pointed out that it would be far better for the health of the students to put lagers in the machines than soda. Of course everyone laughed, thats so ridiculous! Beer is evil, soda is normal. The food they sell in the cafeteria is despicable. Kids eat fried everything, tons of sugar and almost no vegetables.
ple responsible would be prosecuted!When I learned how bad sugar was for humans I started to avoid it. How hard that is in America today! Sugar, high fructose corn syrup is in everything! I have to basically eat everything from scratch, processed food is out. It takes a lot of time and money to eat right in America. Bill Mahr was talking about this on Larry King he asked "why are we so sick? Is it normal to be this fat and sick? Why do we have to spend billions and billions on pills and healthcare?"I've been on a couple cruise ships where the cheapest entertainment for the passengers is food. They have morning buffets, lunch buffets dinner buffets and midnight buffets. You can get food 24 hours a day. It would be better for the health of the passengers if they had cocaine buffets, as bad as cocaine is obesity is even worse. 
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Comment #5 posted by Virgil on December 18, 2003 at 09:53:28 PT
Is the truth a joke?
Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Heaven, God went missing for six days. Eventually, Michael the archangel found him, resting on the seventh day. He inquired of God, "Where have you been?" God sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, "Look Michael, look what I've made." Archangel Michael looked puzzled and said, "What is it?" "It's a planet," replied God, "and I've put LIFE on it. I'm going to call it Earth and it's going to be a place of great balance." "Balance?" inquired Michael, still confused. God explained, pointing to different parts of Earth, "For example, Northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth while Southern Europe is going to be poor; the Middle East over there will be a hot spot. Over there I've placed a continent of white people and over there is a continent of black people," God continued, pointing to different countries. "This one will be extremely hot and arid while this one will be very cold and covered in ice." The Archangel, impressed by Gods work, then pointed to a large landmass in the top corner and asked, "What's that one?" "Ah," said God. "That's Canada, the most glorious place on Earth. There are beautiful mountains, lakes, rivers, streams and an exquisite coastline. The people from Canada are going to be modest, intelligent and humorous and they're going to be found travelling the world. They'll be extremely sociable, hard working and high achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as diplomats and carriers of peace. I'm also going to give them super-human, undefeatable ice hockey players who will be admired and feared by all who come across them." Michael gasped in wonder and admiration but then proclaimed; "What about balance, God? You said there will be BALANCE!" God replied wisely. "Wait until you see the loud-mouth bastards I'm putting next to them...." 
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Comment #4 posted by SystemGoneDown on December 18, 2003 at 09:24:15 PT:
Joshua Wolf Shenk 
Very Intersting essay. It thouroughly provokes ANYONE to show how hypocritical and misled we as Americans view drugs...
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Comment #3 posted by Virgil on December 18, 2003 at 08:50:18 PT
So what
Since 2000, as many as 10,000 children have lived in homes that have been converted into marijuana factories, which are often located within half a kilometre of schools. 
In the schools they sell sugar water and with snacks that are full of refined sugar and trans-fats. They let them get fat and breathe polluted air. In this country it is federal law that they must sell cow milk and it has growth hormones in it that cut the lifespan of the cow in half.So here we have demonization. I can understand selling pot in the open at a lemonade stand near a school or on the playground or at a car on the curb. But it is all disingenuos. The kids either use it or they don't.But the real kicker is tobacco. One in three high school kids in this country smokes the evil weed. Now yesterday, I had the unfortunate meeting with a mom that smoked and bought her daughter cigarettes. Nobody questions that tobacco is highly addictive, yet there are no laws saying people cannot fill a room full of smoke, day in and day out with a child in the room. Not only are they polluting a developing body, they are spreading addiction.Then once they get addicted they buy them cigarettes even though that is a terrible way to start life and is highly illegal. Did they drug raid at Goose Creek produce any cigarettes? Does zero tolerance mean everything but tobacco.We are used to demonization. We are used to wrong priorities. We are used to hypocrisy. We are used to the waste of big monies. We have lived our whole lives in a nationwide prohibition with global ambitions. We know it is all upside down.The article has bias for prolonging prohibition. It sucks.
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Comment #2 posted by yippierevolutionary on December 18, 2003 at 08:14:06 PT
Bikers Gangs: The Ultime Boogeymen
Has anyone read Hunter Thompson's Hell's Angels? I only got through the first few chapters of it but I think the gist was there was nothing more terrifying to Middle America than the Hell's Angels. As a little kid I remember my mom telling me the Hell's Angels were the most evil men that ever lived and that they were satan worshippers. Hunter rode with them for a year and concluded that yes they were barbaric, they loved to get loaded and brawl amongst themselves but were just another case of mass hysteria."Since 2000, as many as 10,000 children have lived in homes that have been converted into marijuana factories, which are often located within half a kilometre of schools." I swear they pull these numbers out of their ass. What does it matter if a school is close by?Its amazing how dangerous plants are, I never knew house plants were so scary, especially when The Vietnamese are growing them!! I know lets spray Agent Orange all over Ontario.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on December 18, 2003 at 08:13:26 PT
Legalize Cannabis and the price will drop. It's the money that causes the volume of growers not the plant itself.
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