Privacy Legislation Impedes Pot Battle

Privacy Legislation Impedes Pot Battle
Posted by CN Staff on March 06, 2004 at 08:08:07 PT
By Jonathan Fowlie
Source: Globe and Mail 
Overrestrictive privacy laws are preventing corporate Ontario from helping police and governments in their fight against marijuana grow operations, a two-day summit organized by the province has heard."Changes in legislation are required for us to be able to pass information through to police, and for proper search warrants to be taken out," John Sanderson, president of Aurora Hydro Connections Ltd., said at the conclusion of the Green Tide Summit yesterday.
He argued that current legislation severely limits what electricity companies can tell police, even though abnormally high levels of power consumption often reveal where illegal grow operations are located.More than 160 delegates from the private sector, police organizations and all three levels of government met in Toronto this week to determine ways to better prevent and detect grow operations across the province.Calling it an "unprecedented" response to the issue, Ean Algar, president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, said yesterday he is "very excited" about the changes he believes will be made as a result of the conference."It's not just the police that are struggling here. It is other agencies that have been impacted as well, and there is an element of co-operation I've never seen before."He said marijuana grow houses are a serious problem not only because they pose a fire and safety hazard, but also because of their association with organized crime."The marijuana grow ops are feeding a sinister cross-border exchange between organized crime in this country and in the United States, and that is fuelling the importing of cocaine, heroine, ecstasy and other dangerous drugs into Ontario," Mr. Algar said."They also bring in guns that are the root of escalating violence that we are seeing on the streets of Toronto and other cities throughout this province."Police have said that almost half of the guns used in Toronto are smuggled across the border from the United States. They have blamed gangs protecting their turf in the growing drug war for much of the recent gunplay in the city."[Marijuana] is a high-priced commodity; people fight to protect it," Staff Inspector Gary Ellis, head of the city's homicide squad, said in a recent interview.The summit brought together a variety of leaders from the private sector, many of whom agreed on the need for greater sharing of information with police and governments.Ian Smith, a representative from the Ontario Real Estate Association, said he would like to see privacy legislation changed so that police can tell real-estate agents whether a house used to be a marijuana grow operation -- a practice prohibited under current law.Mr. Smith said his organization also hopes to draw up new contracts that would provide home buyers with official avenues of recourse should they purchase a house with hidden structural and electrical problems from a grow operation.Officials from the insurance industry also indicated their desire to see privacy legislation changed so that they can get more information from police and fire officials when determining whether a fire or explosion was the result of growing operation. Many insurers refuse to cover damages that result directly from illegal drug operations.Mr. Smith also said his organization would ask real-estate agents to report to police any clients who appear to be looking for a property to start a grow house. Typical warning signs include people who pay a deposit in cash, as well as "individuals who are more interested in a basement of a house than they are the bedrooms."Mr. Algar said other ideas discussed include lobbying lawmakers for tougher penalties for those found guilty of operating a grow house, amending the Electricity Act to allow for easier enforcement, and improved communications with the public about what can be done to help police in the battle against the illegal drug trade.Note: Current laws limit communication between police, private sector.Complete Title: Privacy Legislation Impedes Pot Battle, Crime Summit ToldNewshawk: afterburnerSource: Globe and Mail (Canada)Author: Jonathan FowliePublished: Saturday, March 6, 2004 - Page A13 Copyright: 2004 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Campaigned Against Marijuana Menace Want Private Sector To Fight Grow-Ops How To Stop Grow-Ops? Legalize Pot Up on Pot Growers, Canada's on a Roll
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Comment #5 posted by John Tyler on March 07, 2004 at 19:30:11 PT
On Privacy
Several years ago our local paper quoted our police chief who said the nature of the drug war required the suspension of privacy. How else can people committing consensual acts be caught and punished. They have to be spied upon, and their personal affairs have to be open to the organs of the state for investigation. For the Drug War to be won the people must give up their privacy and personal freedom.  Who is for that? Not me.
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on March 06, 2004 at 13:25:45 PT:
Make no mistake, this is a major assault
Forgive me if I seem like the proverbial 'broken record', but what we are witnessing up in Canada is the antis counter-attack against the gains we have been making in the arena of public opinion.Back in the late 1970's and early 1980's, here in the States, we saw the same kind of moves being made.First, the police and their cat's-paws, the 'parent's movement', began beating the drum about how 'harmful' cannabis was. Then they began pounding on the desks of the more harebrained, impressionable and less discerning legislators, demanding 'action'...against a non-existant threat. This in turn caused said vacuous legislators to need to appear 'tough on crime' that began to escallate rapidly into a "My law is tougher than your law" spiral. And we have over 2 million people in prison because of it, and an ineffectual gaggle of government agencies who seem Hell bent into turning this country into a North American version of the late, unlamented Sov Union. All to "Saa-aaa-aave the Chil-druhn!"Any laws meant to safeguard privacy against unwarranted government intrusion were essentially gutted in order to 'fight' this new 'menace'. Each new law, each new agency, each new turn of the scew was presaged by these kinds of articles showing up in our media. Just as Hitler telegraphed his intentions in MEIN KAMPF, *your* antis are letting you know in no uncertain terms that they intend to ape the failed American experiment, come Hell or high water. Including forfeiture. Especially forfeiture; your police have been green with envy at ability of our police to rob us with impunity and pay no penalties. Or, as the old saying goes, "making out like a bandit."They have, indeed. And your cops want a share of the loot.Canux, I hope that you're doing some desk pounding of your owen, for with all the talk of 'greater interconnectedness' witht the US I keep reading about up there, you are risking falling into the same horrendous Pit we already reside in. America has been smelling brimstone so long, we think it's air freshener. Don't let that happen to you.
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Comment #3 posted by Petard on March 06, 2004 at 13:20:40 PT
Those darn Rights
What a shame that CITIZENS have such rights as privacy. Heck without stuff like basic rights the cops would have societies whupped into shape in no time (And I do mean "whupped", as in a step beyond whipped). It might be a big boon to generator sales/manufacturing if they opened up utility records though? Yep, those darn rights, always getting in the way of Totalitarianism and giving people a false sense of freedom as those rights have to be slowly eroded to the point of mere human existence is up to the determination of the "authorities". Throw another entire treasury on the fire, there's a War on People to be funded.
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on March 06, 2004 at 12:26:59 PT
Electric companies
You know the electric companies don't want to reveal usage - that will just drive more growers to steal the electricity by circumventing meters. Which increases the danger of fire. 
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Comment #1 posted by afterburner on March 06, 2004 at 08:25:16 PT:
Oooh, the UN Is Coming: I'm So Scared
Switzerland: Web: UN Drugs Body Slams Switzerland 04 Mar 2004 
Swissinfo / SRI Criticizes Vancouver's Safe Injection Sites
Vancouver's "Activist" Mayor Bites Back! ( CBC Radio. A report by a UN agency criticizes the site  calling it a violation of international drug control treaties, for allowing people to use illegal drugs in a government-sanctioned site. Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell correctly calls the UN report the US War on Drugs working through the International Agency. The audio link is on the lower portion of the CBC show-page. Green Tide -
Pot Problems Newsworld spotlight on the "Pot Problem" and the president of the Ontario Association of Police Chiefs Ean Elgar's comments on the Green Tide Summit.
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