Pubdate: Tue, 11 Jul 2017
Source: Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Author: Greg Mercer
Page: B1


Highway 7 site believed to be operating legally

BRESLAU - Waterloo Regional Police say they're monitoring a large
marijuana grow-op at the former Waterloo Flowers greenhouse site - and
believe it's operating within the law for medical marijuana for
"personal consumption."

The site isn't owned by one of the 28 federally licensed producers in
Ontario that supply's Canada's mail-order medical marijuana, and its
less-than-discreet cannabis production beside a busy Highway 7 has
prompted rampant speculation among neighbours.

But police say they believe the former greenhouse and garden centre is
growing marijuana for personal use under Canada's evolving medical
marijuana rules - a system that allows a person to grow up to 244
plants at a time.

Those same rules also allow a so-called "home grower" to have as much
as 10 kilograms of dried medical marijuana at any time.

The owner of the former greenhouse, however, has been less than
upfront about what he's doing. A numbered company registered in
Toronto bought the site in December for $1.35-million.

When visited by a reporter, the property's manager denied he was
growing anything at all. But it's been a busy place, with a
large-scale harvesting operation and workers using a forklift to load
a truck backed up to the greenhouse in recent days.

For police, it's a bizarre situation where they have to make sure the
law is being enforced, but have to be wary of privacy rules around
releasing personal medical information.

"We're caught between a rock and a hard place," said Insp. Mike
Haffner, the police service's executive officer.

Health Canada, meanwhile, wouldn't confirm the site's owner has a
medical marijuana licence, citing confidentiality.

Waterloo Regional Police say the grow-op has been on their radar for a
few months, but couldn't say if officers have visited the site to
confirm if it's abiding by restrictions around growing medical marijuana.

"We've been aware of it since February 2017, and have been monitoring
it," Insp. Haffner said.

"It's a big operation, but they're allowed so many plants and so many
kilograms for medical purposes. If they follow that, they're good, if
they go over it, that's where we connect with Health Canada to enforce

Health Canada recommends so-called "home growers" use security
measures such as a tall fence with a locking gate or alarm system
outdoors. But the former Waterloo Flowers site has remarkably lax
security - cannabis plants can been seen growing in between gaps in
the greenhouse walls - and a fence is only partially built around the

But police say they're watching the greenhouse and don't plan to stop
the operation's production cycle, as long as they play by the rules.

"As long as they don't deviate from the rules and regulations, they're
good to go," Insp. Haffner said. "But if there's any deviation from
their licence, they lose their licence."
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