Police Let Legal Pot Grow On
Prince George RCMP are showing signs of growing up about legal grow-ops, said a medical marijuana activist.
Last week local Mounties executed a search warrant on an Alward Street home and found it to be loaded in marijuana plants, some packaged for sale and some still growing. They also found a makeshift doorway from that residence through the wall into the adjoining home.
The second home was also the site of live marijuana plants but the federal government had issued a license for a certain number of cannabis plants to legally be cultivated there -- but allegedly not as many as police found.
Police seized all the marijuana in the home without a license. Police also seized all the marijuana from the licensed property over and above the terms of the license. They left the licensed amount still growing and in the care of those named by the license.
It has not been disclosed if those facing charges are the same as those who were given permission by Health Canada to grow medical marijuana.
"I think that what the police did in that situation is refreshing to hear," said Chad Clelland, director of online and community relations for medicalmarijuana.ca, an online community of doctors, patients and growers gathered around the use of marijuana for its medical purposes.
"At the end of the day, there is a patient involved in this operation who is relying on that medication," Clelland said. "If those designated growers are charged, their license won't be renewed next year, so this is a great scenario that those patients will not lose their medicine all of a sudden. If that supplier is lost to them, if they were trying to overstep the rules of their license, then those patients can make new arrangements for their prescriptions. If the police had seized all of that marijuana, it would have been instantly lost to a patient with no other short-term option."
Mounties were aware before they entered the second home that it was allowed to grow at least some of the marijuana inside. Prince George RCMP spokesman Gary Godwin said this is checked out in advance with Health Canada, as part of acquiring all search warrants.
"We had information on the property that was not registered for the legal growing of marijuana. We determined with Health Canada that the address in question was not licensed," Godwin said.
"Once we went in, we found the marijuana and also the doorway to the side. We then checked with Health Canada again and indeed that new address in question was a legal address for a Health Canada license, but the allegation then was that it was not compliant with the terms of the license."
Clelland said the situation was "unfortunate to hear.
"It definitely gives a bad reputation to people who are operating within the parameters of their license," he said.
"Some people are going to be inclined to get away with what they can, and the people that we know understand that they must conform to their license the same as the stipulations on your drivers license. You have to follow it. The rules of each license are very clear, they are easy to understand. It is a controlled substance, and this is part of the federal control of that."
Godwin said it was the RCMP's on-site determination that the holder of the license was authorized to possess a certain amount of live marijuana, so police had no right to take that prescribed amount, no matter what other plants were involved. If laws were broken, they would be dealt with.
NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Prince George Citizen (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 Prince George Citizen
Website: Prince George News, Events & Classifieds | Prince George Citizen
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Author: Frank Peebles