Pubdate: Fri, 11 Mar 2011
Source: Langley Advance (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Matthew Claxton, Langley Advance


Local Leaders Are Upset That Medical Marijuana Growers Are Targets Of

Legal marijuana is proving a major crime headache for the

On Sunday morning, a medicinal marijuana grow operation in Brookswood
was raided by armed thieves, the RCMP say.

Two men knocked on the door at about 3:30 a.m., claiming they had car
troubles. They forced their way past the residents, and tied up and
blindfolded the victim.

The two home invaders, armed with a rifle and a knife, ransacked the
home looking for drugs, money, and weapons, said Cpl. Holly Marks,
spokesperson for the Langley RCMP. The legal grow op in the garage was
cut down and taken.

Police arrived 10 minutes after the suspects had fled, at around 6
a.m. The suspects had fled in a red GMC pickup and a 1996 brown Buick
Regal stolen from the homeowner.

This is not the first time a medical marijuana grow op has been the
target of violent crime in Langley, and the repeated incidents are a
worry for politicians and police officers.

Supt. Derek Cooke, head of the Langley RCMP, said it's a significant

Officers know of one particular medicinal grow in the Township, he

"It's been subjected to two attempted grow rips, and it's right across
the street from an elementary school," Cooke said.

There have been several invasions and armed robberies of these legal
marijuana farms over the past year, he said.

Two days after the most recent attack, the mayors of both Langleys
officially sent a letter to the federal government, asking for changes.

"We believe that the time for consultation is over and that action
needs to be taken," the letter, sent by City Mayor Peter Fassbender
and Township Mayor Rick Green, reads.

The issues are a lack of knowledge of who has a medical marijuana
license, and where they are growing, an inability to regulate grows
for safety, the home invasions, health issues due to indoor growing in
homes, and the fact that some medical grow ops produce far, far more
than they are licensed for.

The letter asks that current licenses to grow medical marijuana be
cancelled, and that the drug be distributed through pharmacies and
grown in government-regulated facilities.

Cooke agrees the drug should be sold by pharmacies, if it is used
medically at all.

If that doesn't happen, he would still like to know where the legal
grow operations are in Langley.

Police would be aware of the risks of a given property, and they could
help owners reduce their likelihood of becoming targets for violent

Police are still seeking the armed robbers from the most recent
attack. The two Caucasian men are in their early 20s. One stands about
5'8" and has short blonde brush-cut hair. The other is almost 6' and
thin, with dark hair.

Anyone with information that could help police can call the Langley
RCMP at 604-532-3200 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
CrimeStoppers, which is anonymous, can also be reached online, through
its own website or through Facebook. 
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