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Police Defend Campaign of Grow-op Busts

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Number of raids up as cops target homes - not growers

Vancouver police are intensifying their campaign against tenants who grow
marijuana and the landlords who rent to them.

So far this year, city police have busted 375 marijuana-grow operations -
up from 192 raids in 1999.

Yesterday, police spokeswoman Anne Drennan defended the raids on growing
operations - even though few cases end up in the courts.

She admitted that most sentences meted out in the courts to home-grow
operators are lenient and are simply absorbed as a cost of doing business.

It used to be that culprits who were charged and who went through the
courts returned to their raided properties and resumed tending marijuana

But police have found that growing operations can be shut down and homes
rendered off limits to this branch of horticulture by increasing the
certainty that a raid, with its attendant costs, will occur.

Growing equipment is seized and landlords are hit by cutting off their
power and making it impossible to rent to new tenants until inspection and
reconnection fees totalling $510 have been paid.

Landlords also suffer loss from being unable to rent until their properties
pass muster and the power is back on.

Drennan said it's possible that growers simply move to other parts of the
city to resume operations, but police are trying to make life so uncertain
for them that they move out of town or give up in frustration.

"We want to make it impossible for them to find a neighbourhood in
Vancouver where they can operate. We believe we are making a difference."

The bulk of marijuana harvested in the city is shipped to the U.S.

"Only a relatively miniscule amount ends up on our streets," Drennan said.

Newshawk: Herb
Pubdate: December 12, 2000
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Page A12
Copyright: 2000 The Province
Contact: provedpg@pacpress.southam.ca
Address: 200 Granville Street, Ste. #1, Vancouver, BC V6C 3N3 Canada
Fax: (604) 605-2323
Website: The Province
Author: Mark Wilson