Pubdate: Sat, 27 Jan 2018
Source: Delta Optimist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2018 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc
Author: Ian Jacques


A recent illegal cannabis grow operation in North Delta, busted by
Delta police, is highlighting the challenges law enforcement will soon
face when new marijuana legislation comes into effect later this year.

Chief Neil Dubord updated Delta police board members last week on the
illegal operation police raided in late November.

Dubord said a complaint was received by the mayor's office on Oct. 17
regarding concerns over a potential cannabis grow operation in a home.

"Upon investigation, it was learned that Health Canada issued a
licence dated Nov. 28 allowing 93 plants to be grown at that
location," Dubord said. "Although licensed, drug investigators
continued with the investigation due to evidence that suggested the
operation was not consistent with 93 plants."

He said a judicial application was granted, allowing police to execute
a search warrant on the home, which yielded 541 plants in various
stages of growth. The residence was under the care of a caretaker, who
was employed to maintain the plants and the equipment.

"This was essentially a commercial venture within a residential area
of Delta," Dubord said.

In addition to the seizure, one female was taken into custody, but
later released.

The DPD drug section seized the overages (448 plants), leaving the 93
plants authorized by Health Canada. No charges are anticipated due to
the impending legalization of cannabis.

"This file highlights concerns regarding the overlapping legislation
that will occur between medical and non-medical cannabis," added
Dubord. "Regulations under the access to cannabis for medical purposes
compared to those of the Cannabis Act will create confusion regarding
public consumption, residential cultivation, personal possession
limits, impaired driving investigations as well as implications for
human resource management."

According to Dubord, front line police officers will be the primary
responders to the majority of calls concerning cannabis regulations.
In order to mitigate risk to the organization, and protect the
integrity of police investigations, clarification will be required to
determine how best to approach this issue, he said.

"Enforcing laws associated to cannabis will become increasingly
difficult to navigate in the coming months," Dubord added. "Do we
still need to have production facilities for medical marijuana in
private residences? I would suggest that potentially we consider no."

Board chair Mayor Lois Jackson said there is no way you can police it
because the federal government will not tell you who has the licences
and where they are.

"So if someone goes and rips off the wrong house, you have a
neighbourhood that now is tipped off to this growing activity," she
said. "Will this person continue to produce only 93 plants under three
metres? Call me cynical, but I doubt it. Who will police all of this?
It's going to be an issue for sure."
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