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Mission Residents Sue Over Marijuana Grow-op Searches

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
B.C. - Dozens of Mission homeowners whose houses have been inspected as suspected marijuana grow operations are launching a class-action lawsuit to recoup the thousands of dollars the inspections have cost them.

The district had passed a bylaw allowing authorities to inspect properties with higher-than-average hydro usage, charging the homeowners up to $10,000 for the inspection and repair fees, even when no grow ops were found.

The class-action lawsuit is supported by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, which is holding a press conference Wednesday to announce it.

"Every house that has been searched is automatically included in the lawsuit unless they opt out," said homeowner Stacy Gowanlock, a Mission contractor who was dinged $5,200 for inspection fees and $680 for a repair bill to his hot tub after his home was targeted under the district's controlled substances property bylaw.

"I would like to see everybody who was affected by this bylaw to recover their costs," he said.

He said there were "well over 300" households affected.

Mission municipal council in January placed a 30-day moratorium on the searches, which Gowanlock said has been extended to at least May 24.

He said he predicts the district won't return to the inspections, considering the lawsuit.

"But the damage has already been done," he said.

In addition to the costs, homeowners who have been targeted have lost market value in their homes, been subject to ridicule by their neighbours and had their children taunted at school – and some have even been forced to sell their homes, he said.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has said the searches put "innocent people under horrible duress" and that "fining people for imaginary grow ops does nothing to increase safety in Mission."

The next step is for the class action to be certified by the courts.

Gowanlock said he hopes if the lawsuit is successful it will also preclude other municipalities from drafting similar bylaws.

NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
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Website: Mission residents sue over marijuana grow-op searches
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