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More Calgary Children Seized From Grow Ops

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
Family Services Praises Police For Protecting Kids

More than 60 per cent of all children seized from drug houses in Alberta under the year-old Drug Endangered Children Act were in the Calgary region. Alberta Children's Services figures show 23 of the 38 children apprehended under the act came from the Calgary area, which includes Banff, Cochrane and High River.

The figures show that to Oct. 1, just 39.5 per cent of the children came from elsewhere in Alberta, including Edmonton, rural areas and towns.

Calgary and Area Child and Family Services spokeswoman Dawn Delaney said the numbers reflect the hard work being done by police and other services.

"I think the number really speaks highly to the effective work the police are doing here in Calgary, following up tips, making use of the ( act ) and cracking down on drug dens," Delaney said.

The Drug Endangered Children Act came into force in Alberta on Nov. 1, 2006, so police could charge parents of children found living in grow ops or other drug houses, such as meth labs, with endangering the life of a child.

It gives authorities the right to automatically seize the children for up to two days without having to prove endangerment before a court.

Under the act, Calgary Child and Family Services workers have removed children as young as one month.

In one case, four siblings were removed from their parents' grow op, which smelled pungently of dope and had electrical wires -- used to power the grow operation -- running through their rooms.

Others have been found sleeping in cots beside ventilation closets that spilled out toxic fumes, while others had open access to the rooms where the marijuana plants were growing.

A Calgary woman, 33, was charged under the act after she was reportedly found in a Temple grow op with 780 plants and her newborn.

Her trial is set down for May.

Ald. Diane Colley-Urquhart, who chairs the Stop Grow Ops Calgary Coalition, called the legislation "a success from every aspect."

"It has led the way and saved the lives of children in these homes," she said.

The act is the first legislation of its kind in Canada and carries a maximum fine of $25,000 and two years in jail.

Calgary police drug unit Staff Sgt. Monty Sparrow said the act could have an effect because parents are very attached to their children.

"If you start taking children away from people, I would hope drug dealers would reflect on their lifestyles and make decisions that are positive for their children," he said.

Research has found that drug-endangered children are at high-risk for chronic respiratory disorders, neurological damage, cancer and physical, emotional and sexual abuse, police say. They are also at greater risk from criminals entering their parents' home.

But Marc Emery said the act is unfair and designed to punish pot people who have children.

"There's nothing wrong with having children around plants and plants that are growing," said Emery, dubbed Canada's "Prince of Pot."

"It is an exciting time for them."

Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2007 Calgary Herald
Contact: letters@theherald.canwest.com
Website: canada.com
 
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