Pubdate: Fri, 05 Mar 2004
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Toronto Star
Author: Betsy Powell, Crime Reporter
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Emery, Marc)


One Aims at Co-Ordinated Strategy

The Other Ridicules the Effort

Heavy hitters in law enforcemant, government, banking, real estate,
insurance and public utilities are participating in a two-day
"Green-Tide Summit" to find ways to combat the explosion of indoor
marijuana grow operations in Ontario.

Down the street a shadow summit called the "Green Truth Summit," was
taking place yesterday comprised of a small group of marijuana
advocates who were also setting strategies to fight what they call the
"destructive" and ultimately futile attempts to stamp out marijuana
grow operations.

Billed as the first summit of its kind in the province, the Ontario
Association of Chiefs of Police summit is the initial step in
developing a co-ordinated action plan to fight a war against illegal
grow-ops that police clearly have no hope of winning on their own,
said Monte Kwinter, the minister of community safety and correctional

The summit, held at provincial government offices near Queen's Park,
was open to the media for the first hour. It began with several
"overviews" of marijuana grow operations in Ontario, including a slide
show accompanied by the ominous theme music from the movie Pearl Harbor.

Opening remarks by Kwinter and police stressed the theme that law
enforcement agencies need private-sector help to eliminate grow-ops.
"This is a community problem that can be addressed only if we pool our
talents and resources and work together," Kwinter said.

Outside the conference room, he didn't specify what role banking, real
estate and the insurance industry could play in combatting grow-ops.

Kwinter was pressed to explain how he can favour the federal Liberals'
promise to eliminate criminal records for those caught with small
quantities of marijuana while calling for the elimination of indoor

"This product (from grow-ops) is not being used in Canada," Kwinter
told reporters. "There is marijuana grown in the fields. Thar growth
is being used for domestic use."

New Democrat MPP Peter Kormos, who attended both summits, said Kwinter
and the organizers of the Green Tide Summit are missing the point that
prohibition of marijuana is what fuels the grow-ops. "It's the huge
profits in marijuana that draws organized crime to marijuana
cultivation. This conference ... should call on the federal government
to legalize marijuana, one of the most popular intoxicants in North
America, regulate it, tax it and control its distribution and that
would get organized crime out of the picture."

In the afternoon session across the street at the Green Truth Summit,
Vancouver pot activist Marc Emery, who obtained media credentials to
the Green Tide Summit as an editor of Cannabis Culture magazine, took
delight in recounting the presentations he had seen earlier, referring
to the many "exaggerations and dramatizing."

"Everything they're advocating is more of the poison we have got
today," he said. "This summit is here just to make sure the
information about what's really going on gets out." 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake