Pubdate: 26 Apr 2012
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2012 Sun Media
Author: Daniel R. Pearce


Local police are asking the feds to cough up the locations of legal
pot growing sites in Norfolk County.

Right now, there are a "staggering" number of medical marijuana
operations in the area that have set up in former tobacco greenhouses
and drying kilns, police board chair Peter Hellyer said.

The problem, Hellyer said, is that police can't determine which
grow-ops are legitimate and which aren't and as a result the lines
between legal and illegal trade in pot are getting blurred.

In at least one case, police raided an operation only to find out it
was licensed, he said.

"You see a grow-op. Do you raid it or not? At this point, you have to
assume they are legal."

Canadian law allows for licenses to be granted to growers to supply
people with medical conditions. Crop sizes are restricted and spelled
out in the licenses.

Police, however, can't tell if growers are over the limit and slipping
some illegal pot out the door to be sold or if reported "thefts" of
the crop aren't actually a veiled form of trafficking, Hellyer said.

As well, police have discovered some permit holders have drug
trafficking convictions or have outsourced to people who have, he
added in a letter to Health Canada.

In 2010, feds told the police they couldn't release the information
due to privacy reasons and suggested police report to them "production
sites that violate health and safety requirements."

Now Hellyer has written a second letter in the wake of the theft in
February of an estimated $60,000 in pot from a licensed site in Norfolk.

"Our request for (the information) serves to protect both the legal
grower and their customers as well as the neighbours of the illegal
growers," Hellyer said in his latest letter. "This is a reasonable
crime prevention strategy and locational knowledge would provide for a
much better use of scarce police time especially when all of the . . .
sites are known to the Ministry of Health."

At the Norfolk County Police Services Board meeting on Wednesday,
members of the board expressed frustration with the lack of response
from Health Canada.

Board member Roger Vermeulen called the government's response "just

Simcoe Coun. Peter Black said the situation is "just ridiculous. We
ask for the information and they write back and ask for the
information we are asking them for."

Hellyer said changes are coming to laws that will make it easier to
find out who has a medical marijuana license, "but it won't happen
before 2013." 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D