Pubdate: Sat, 10 Oct 2009
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Dustin Walker, Canwest News Service
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


RCMP Gets Better At Spotting Outdoor Growing Areas From The

This was possibly the "best year ever" for outdoor marijuana crops on
Vancouver Island, with both growers and Mounties hauling tens of
thousands of plants out of the forests.

Although the West Coast doesn't always provide the sunny, dry growing
conditions that pot plants crave, the Island has historically been
home to more outdoor marijuana farmers than other parts of British

This season both police and growers credit a warmer, drier summer for
their respective bounties of bush bud.

The RCMP says their seizure of about 29,000 pot plants this year -- up
from 23,000 the previous year -- is also due to officers getting
better at spotting them.

Meanwhile, one marijuana advocate says stronger pot-plant genetics and
a few more people growing the drug outdoors could have also boosted
the total amount of pot harvested.

"This is one of the most successful, if not the most successful,
[harvests] we've seen in the industry," said Ted Smith, who also
teaches a free Hempology 101 course and is the founder of the Cannabis
Buyer's Club of Victoria, which provides pot to sick people.

Smith said the combination of heat and lack of rain at the right time
helped create conditions for marijuana to flourish.

In past years, rainy weather, leading to mould, has ruined people's
carefully hidden gardens of marijuana.

Also, the kind of plants put into the soil are heartier than in the
past, he added. "People have some pretty good strains these days, have
produced some pretty high-quality medicine in some pretty good yields."

Smith also suspects that the faltering economy has motivated some
people, such as laid-off forestry workers who have a strong knowledge
of the backcountry, to grow the plant to supplement their income.

Cpl. Darren Lagan, with the Vancouver Island District RCMP, said that
police have been finding more pot plants every year while conducting
their aerial surveys for the plants.

"I think we get better every year at finding these locations. We go
back to where we were before and then we add on more sites," he said.

Just 16 per cent of police cases involving marijuana production in
B.C. came from outdoor grow-ops between 1997 and 2003, according to a
2005 report from the criminology department of the University College
of the Fraser Valley.

However, on Vancouver Island 33 per cent of pot production cases in
this period involved outdoor grow-ops, with only the Kootenay region
- -- at 39 per cent -- showing a higher proportion.

For 2003, the last year information was collected for the study,
Vancouver Island had the highest proportion of outdoor marijuana cases
in the province at 45 per cent. 
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D