Pubdate: Thu, 11 May 2006
Source: Packet & Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006, Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Teviah Moro
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine - Canada)


Councillor, Police Say Home Buyers Need To Be Protected

Legislation that will oblige municipalities to inspect residences used
to cultivate marijuana will protect future homeowners, says Coun.
George Morano.

"The regular Joe who buys a house needs to be protected," Morano said

Bill 128, passed in the Ontario legislature in December, requires
municipalities to oversee inspections when they're notified by local
police of buildings used for marijuana grow-ops.

After inspections, the residence must be made safe for the public, the
bill states.

Morano, a retired Orillia police officer, noted indoor grow-ops can
badly damage homes. Heat and moisture can create mould, something that
poses health concerns for future residents.

"You need someone with the expertise to go back into that house and
inspect it," he said.

The Ontario Association of Police Services Boards notes forces spend
hours investigating, identifying and dismantling grow houses.

Police also take charge when it comes to removing chemical fertilizers
and re-storing appropriate hydro connections.

To avoid high costs and detection, hydroponics operations meddle with
connections, which can lead to fires and electric shock.

The owners of buildings used for grow-ops should be on the hook for
associated costs, not taxpayers, Morano added.

Peel Regional police have seen cost-recovery bylaws enacted in
Brampton and Mississauga.

In a March 7 letter to Orillia's mayor and council, the Orillia Police
Services Board asked for a bylaw to authorize the recovery of costs
associated with grow-ops.

Council hasn't yet discussed the request.

There are some grey areas when it comes to determining who should be
dinged for cost recovery, Mayor Ron Stevens said.

For example, he question-ed whether unsuspecting landlords should be
held accountable if grow-ops take root in their properties.

"I think we'd have to look long and hard on that before that sort of
thing is put in place."

Simcoe North MPP Gar-field Dunlop, meanwhile, said the provincial
bill doesn't go far enough and should also apply to other illegal drugs.

"Why would we create legislation for only one drug?" Dunlop

Crystal-meth laboratories have caused explosions across the province,
he said.

Moreover, the bill hasn't properly addressed the risks inspectors face
when entering buildings, Dunlop said.
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