Pubdate: Thu, 14 Feb 2013
Source: Abbotsford Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 The Abbotsford Times
Author: Rochelle Baker


Abbotsford Police trimmed a medical marijuana grow operation by 260 
plants on Tuesday night.

APD officers executed a raid at a house in northwest Abbotsford at 6: 
30 p.m., said Const. Ian MacDonald.

Despite getting a green light for the warrant after contacting Health 
Canada twice, police found the owner had a permit to grow medicinal 
marijuana - but only for 35 plants, said MacDonald.

Overproduction at the busted grow and a fire earlier the same day at 
another medicinal marijuana production site illustrates the concerns 
police and fire departments have around uninspected, licensed 
marijuana growers, he said.

"At the end of the day, what safeguards are in place to ensure once 
the licence is granted that the safety codes are being met, or the 
requirements listed in licence are being adhered to?" he asked.

The licensed grower was raising eight times the number of plants he 
was permitted, said MacDonald, adding that abusing licences to 
overproduce marijuana is not uncommon and the excess often finds its 
way into the illegal market.

"It's being resold or redistributed through gangs or organized crime, 
or independently being doled out to friends," he said.

Previous drug convictions don't prevent growers from obtaining 
licences from Health Canada, MacDonald noted.

"We've had people convicted of trafficking and importation get 
licences. The only consideration is whether the person applying has a 
medical issue requiring marijuana."

- - To address the criminal and safety concerns around the current 
licensing system, the federal government has promised changes that 
will shift pot production out of residential homes by March 31, 2014.
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