Pubdate: Tue, 13 Jan 2004
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Kevin Connor
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Equipment Legal, Enforcement Lax

Toronto's marijuana grow operation problem is blossoming because other
jurisdictions have been cracking down on large scale hydroponic
producers, a pot guru says. In Barrie, Ont., police busted a
$30-million grow operation on Saturday.

"This is the largest (bust) in the history of those that have been
discovered," said Marc Emery, the Canadian millionaire dubbed "The
Prince of Pot" for his role in this country's marijuana movement.

"Toronto grow operations are gathering steam and quickly expanding
because so many grow operations in B.C. are getting busted," Emery

"Aggressive pot busts (elsewhere) have spawned a new market in
Toronto. They are spilling over to other cities and it's just going to

Calgary police committed themselves this year to eliminating one
marijuana grow operation a day and so far they are on a roll, Sgt.
Roger Morrison with the Calgary Police Service drug unit, said.

Police here estimate there are 10,000 grow operations in the GTA and
that number is growing because the business is so lucrative.

"Every $1,000 invested in hydroponic equipment yields $12,000 in
revenue in the first year. You can harvest a crop every 2 1/2 months,
or five times a year," Emery said.

It's simple setting up a large hydroponic grow operation because the
equipment isn't illegal or that expensive, York Region morality and
vice-Sgt. Det. Karen Noakes said.

A closet can be turned into a grow operation for a couple of hundred
dollars, but the large-scale criminals set up entire houses, Noakes
told The Sun.

Many times the houses are booby-trapped to keep police

"Most often, they have surveillance cameras to watch if police have
been around. But, there are cases where steps have been rigged to
electrocute people or chemicals are rigged so that, when police open a
door, they are overcome when they enter," Noakes said.

"It can be dangerous ... and we usually recover weapons -- firearms
and machetes."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin