How To Stop Grow-ops? Legalize Pot

How To Stop Grow-ops? Legalize Pot
Posted by CN Staff on February 21, 2004 at 08:16:12 PT
By John Barber
Source: Globe and Mail 
At the time, you couldn't help but laugh at last month's big pot bust in Barrie. The size of the operation, its location (an abandoned brewery), its blatancy -- it was all too funny. It was as if Monty Python had descended from comedy heaven to demonstrate the absurdity of Canadian drug laws.Looking ahead, however, Ontarians may well remember the winter of 2004 as the last time any of them laughed about a marijuana grow operation.
This week's news -- a bust in a postcard-perfect Toronto suburb, with plants strung across the living room, and six children, now in the care of the state, sleeping on bare, urine-soaked mattresses in the corner -- was not funny at all.Nor was it amusing to learn from police that such operations are becoming increasingly common. "Grow houses not only bring a dangerous criminal element into our community," York Regional Police Chief Armand La Barge said, "but the fact that children are being raised in this environment is a major concern." Two people have been murdered in connection with York Region grow-ops over the past two years, he added.Grow-ops in high-rise apartment buildings are the latest scourge south of Steeles Avenue, according to Toronto police. This week, Chief Julian Fantino highlighted the proliferation of marijuana grow-ops as a major pressure on the police budget. Toronto cops busted 33 of them in 2001, 81 in 2002 and 140 last year, according to the chief.So they are not only acutely dangerous to the people involved, who live under the constant threat of raids from gangsters who sniff them out before the cops do, grow-ops are also irrepressible. There is nothing funny about that combination of attributes; it is the birth of a serious social problem.But the saddest thing of all is the response from the governments that have the clear ability to head it off. Indeed, the latest legislation introduced by the Martin government is guaranteed to speed the crisis on.Justice Minister Irwin Cotler confirmed that when he re-introduced the Chretien government's retrograde anti-pot law last week. Although touted as a decriminalization initiative -- once it is passed, Canadians will be able to possess small amounts of pot without fear of a criminal record -- the real intent of the new law is to nail the growers, to "be tougher on large-scale grow-ops," according to the minister.Any scale grow-op, in fact. The new law will put people who grow as few as four plants in jail for five years. Under its terms, the Richmond Hill parents busted last week could go to jail for 15 years each. As marijuana activists are fond of pointing out, the maximum sentence for conspiring to commit terrorism in Canada is 10 years.Monty Python would have fun with a law that encourages consumption of a substance while redoubling penalties against those who supply it, but the judiciary is not necessarily amused. Last week, Mr. Justice Stephen Hunter of the Ontario Court of Justice in Belleville criticized decriminalization as "an inadequate compromise" that "gives all the wrong messages.""If you decriminalize it, who's going to supply the product?" the judge asked, pointing out the obvious contradiction in the upcoming law. Like a growing number of informed observers, he favours legalization."If you legalized it and grew it and sold it as a product like alcohol, and regulated it and controlled it as much as you can, kept it out of schools, kept it out of people's hands who are under 19 -- as much as one can -- then you would probably be better off in the long run," he told the Belleville Intelligencer.That view will undoubtedly become more commonplace as underground grow houses proliferate and police bust down doors everywhere in their fruitless quest to suppress them. Late last year an Ottawa grower blew himself up trying to make marijuana oil. There were no children present, but more accidents and more violence seem inevitable, especially as the growers continue to decentralize and domesticate their operations in response to Ottawa's new law.It's unlikely, however, that the problem will have worsened sufficiently by next month, when the province hosts a so-called "summit" in Toronto to address the grow-op problem. Virtually all politicians seem to think that greater police power -- at ever-increasing cost to urban taxpayers -- is the answer. Last week Ontario Community Safety Minister Monte Kwinter declared himself to be "quite pleased at what the federal government is doing."If marijuana grow-ops must be suppressed -- and nobody, least of all proponents of legalization, wants the current situation to persist -- governments would be smarter to do it with their revenuers, not police. The job could be assigned to Integrated Proceeds of Crime (IPOC) units, with more private-sector investigators than detectives on board -- and broad powers to seize the assets of growers. The units would pay their own way and the police they free up would surely find more important work.The defence bar would go crazy at such a blatant revenue grab, but it would also get rich. (Canadian law allows defendants in such cases to pay attorney fees out of their seized assets.) But it would make for an interesting argument; at the very least it would nudge the current debate closer to reality. Even legalizers agree that pot must pay.Newshawk: afterburnerSource: Globe and Mail (Canada)Author: John BarberPublished: Saturday, February 21, 2004 - Page M2 Copyright: 2004 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Cannabis News Canadian Links A Place To Live & Grow Video Hunter Favours Legalization of Marijuana Your Own? It's a Bummer Up on Pot Growers, Canada's on a Roll
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Comment #8 posted by afterburner on February 22, 2004 at 16:02:47 PT:
Truth in Schools: Canadian Edition
Truth in Schools 01 Mar 2004 
Cannabis Health
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on February 22, 2004 at 15:40:15 PT:
The Marc Emery road show is back in gear 
Emery to tour Canada's Universities 
"The Marc Emery road show is back in gear starting March 2, when the world-famous seed seller begins a series of college speaking engagements with a visit to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver." F U L L S T O R Y
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Comment #6 posted by John Tyler on February 22, 2004 at 06:38:41 PT
Re: Principal article
The article further states that cannabis and some assorted pills were found in the principal’s desk at school. These guys are not authorized to keep “evidence” themselves as far as I know. Shouldn’t the principal be arrested for possessing “drugs” in school also, not to mention the false accusation of a child? This guy should be in deep legal trouble
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Comment #5 posted by 420eh on February 22, 2004 at 06:33:20 PT
more vids
here is a link to another video like the one FOM has posted below. it also has another video with it based on the old "i am canadian" molson candian joe rant ads
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Comment #4 posted by breeze on February 21, 2004 at 14:11:07 PT
Principal of school plants pot- in kids locker...
Yes- a PRINCIPAL planted marijuana in a students locker- read it here; again here... would say that this is definitive proof that if the ability to frame just about anyone for a crime is easy as this, then there needs to be a review of ALL policies involved with marijuana legalization. He could have had the same effect using alcohol or cigarettes, but he went for marijuana because it serves up more sentencing and fines, plus a record that does not get removed.Shouldn't this open an element of doubt from this date on that this could happen in ANY high school across America? And if a student happens to be caught with cannabis in their locker, can they now proclaim that it may have been planted? It just makes the legalization issue that much prelevant.We NOW live in a police state that has spiraled out of control! There is NO doubt in my mind- there should be no doubt in yours!!
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 21, 2004 at 13:51:00 PT
I haven't been this frustrated with the news on tv as I have been recently. It's such non news that I'm seeing. I don't care about the different murder trials or other things they put on the news. I might have to get a movie channel to keep from being bored. I can't even find anything really interesting to read on the Internet. That's bad.
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Comment #2 posted by goneposthole on February 21, 2004 at 13:14:47 PT
you know what?
It's time for MORE grow-ops. It's gettin' more depressing all of the time.not much fun in all of the hideous news from Iraq and the entire rest of the world.the only real good news is that cannabis works.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 21, 2004 at 08:49:47 PT
If You Haven't Seen This Video
I put this video in the article's links and I recommend people check it out if you haven't seen it. It will make you smile!Ontario: A Place To Live & Grow Video:
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