Authorities say marijuana grow ops cause problems in homes regardless of whether they were run criminally or by licensed medical pot users.

Authorities say marijuana grow ops cause problems in homes regardless of whether they were run criminally or by licensed medical pot users.

Medical marijuana grow-ops to move out of homes

Federal government announces that commercial growers will sell all medical pot by 2014.

The federal government is poised to eliminate licensed medical marijuana grow-ops in homes that have long been criticized over safety concerns and connections to the illegal drug trade.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced Sunday a planned shift to a new system of federally regulated commercial producers of medical pot who will supply authorized users who have a prescription from their doctor.

“Under our new rule, only facilities that meet strict security requirements will be able to produce marijuana for medical purposes,”  Aglukkaq told a press conference in Maple Ridge on Sunday.

The new system – which also ends government production of medical pot – is expected to come at a sharply higher price for the nearly 26,000 users authorized to possess medical marijuana.

Local authorities have argued most medical pot home growers are producing far more plants than they require, suggesting rampant abuse of the program by licensees selling into the illicit market.

“The high value of marijuana on the illicit market increases the risk of home invasions,” Aglukkaq noted. “These production operations can also present fire and toxic mould hazards.”

The Fire Chiefs Association of B.C. (FCABC) said the change will improve safety in residential neighbourhoods.

“The fire service across Canada has been raising the alarm about the fire and safety risks associated with growing marijuana indoors for many years,” said FCABC President Len Garis, who is also Surrey’s fire chief. “We applaud the government for taking action on this issue.”

Garis stressed that the fire service has never been concerned about the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

“Our focus is on how medical marijuana is grown,” he said. “The fact is, medical marijuana has typically been grown in a residential setting, which is not suitable or safe for growing marijuana.”

Under the previous regulations, medical marijuana grow operations operated without their local municipal government’s knowledge or approval, and were not subject to health, fire, building or plumbing inspections.

Research indicates that both criminal and medical residential marijuana grow operations result in similar health, fire and safety hazards associated with unsafe electrical work, structural changes and excessive moisture.

Taking marijuana production out of homes and into a licensed commercial environment is a step in the right direction, Garis said.

“We are happy to see Health Canada commit to inspecting and auditing medical marijuana producers to make sure they comply with all regulatory requirements,” he said.

“We would like to see them take a further step and ensure that all previous residential growing sites are remediated, and that future buyers are made aware that these homes were previously used to grow marijuana.”

The federal Ministry of Health said it intends to implement the system by March 31, 2014, at which point all current licences to possess or produce pot would expire.

The government is holding a 75-day comment period for the public to give feedback on the proposal (at http://bit.ly/U4xtqi), which will end on Feb. 28, 2013.

The details of the new regulations are available on the ministry’s website (http://bit.ly/SFDUlX).

– with files from Jeff Nagel and CTV News

Surrey North Delta Leader

Just Posted

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
SURREY NOW & THEN: Little Theatre’s 59-year history ends with big plans for move to Langley

A former church, the theatre building/property has sold for close to $900,000

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Locke seeks breakdown on what Surreyites get for taxes paid to Metro Vancouver

Surrey councillor aims to present motion to council tonight (Monday, June 14) asking city staff to do a cost/benefit analysis

Surrey council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council to consider ‘public engagement’ strategies tonight

Council asked to endorse ‘Public Engagement Strategy and Toolkit,’ and a ‘Big Vision, Bold Moves’ transportation public engagement plan

Old trucks are seen in the yard at the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum in Cloverdale June 14, 2021. The Museum is reopening June 19 after a seven-month COVID closure. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale’s truck museum to reopen

B.C. Vintage Truck Museum set to open its doors June 19

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey council to consider $7.3 million contract for street paving projects tonight

A city staff report recommends Lafarge Canada Inc. be awarded $7,326,667.95 for 15 road projects in North Surrey and one in South Surrey

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read