Pubdate: Fri, 01 Oct 2004
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2004 Calgary Herald
Author: Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


An incumbent alderman is calling on the city to address the increasing 
prevalence of marijuana grow operations in residential areas.

Last month, police seized more than $2 million in marijuana after raids on 
five Calgary grow operations in one week. The raids took place in Oakridge, 
Scenic Acres, Sundance, Edgemont and Royal Oak.

Diane Colley-Urquhart, incumbent for Ward 13, where two of the recent raids 
took place, said the problem is hitting every community.

"We are becoming known as the capital of marijuana grow ops in the 
country," she said.

"And we really need to get the noose around the neck of these guys to say 
we are not open for business."

If re-elected, Colley-Urquhart said she will bring a motion to the Nov. 8 
council meeting to have a report prepared on what it would cost to address 
the problem.

The report would also address issues and risks associated with marijuana 
grow operations; identify ways to address it; launch a public awareness 
campaign; and find ways for city departments to co-operate on dealing with 
the problem.

Candidates challenging Colley-Urquhart for her council seat were supportive 
of the move.

"Even though I disagree with her on a lot of things, we definitely need to 
look at that," said Mark Dyrholm.

The 33-year-old chiropractor said a co-ordinated approach is the key to 
solving the grow op problem, since it requires such departments as police, 
bylaw and Enmax, the city-owned utility, to work together.

"We must deal with it," Dyrholm added.

Bob Krengel, another candidate in Ward 13, also said it's a good idea to 
get a handle on the grow op situation.

"We need more control," he said.

Statistics for 2003 show that Calgary police seized 44,000 plants with an 
estimated street value of $53 million, up from $18 million in 2002 and $9 
million in 2001.

Colley-Urquhart said the numbers show the problem of grow ops is rising at 
a rapid rate in Calgary -- and it affects everyone, from the neighbours of 
the grow op to the cops who raid the homes.

"The risks to our communities are far-reaching, from structural decline of 
the home to risks of fires and explosions, to environmental air quality."
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