HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Police Put Marijuana Grow Operations Under Spotlight
Pubdate: Mon, 05 Jan 2004
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2004, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: David Sands
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Is your marijuana gang-green, or did you grow it yourself? Inquiring
cops want to know.

The Criminal Intelligence Service of Alberta has launched a
"long-term, strategic analysis" of marijuana grow operations in an
attempt to find out just much organized crime could be involved.

The crime watchers have previously predicted that Alberta is set for a
major expansion of the booming indoor marijuana growth industry, as
the grow biz moves east from B.C.

"That problem continues to escalate and it is estimated that there are
in excess of 20,000 grow operations in the Lower Mainland at any given
time," CISA's most recent report states, adding, "there has been
considerable evidence and intelligence to show that this phenomenon is
moving across Alberta."

A year-old city police/RCMP unit funded by the CISA, called the Green
Team, had laid charges against 120 people connected to marijuana grow
operations by last fall, the report claims. A total of 12,000
marijuana plants and 70 pounds of dried marijuana were seized by the

B.C. criminologist Neil Boyd said the marijuana trade appears to lack
one distinctive trait of gang-controlled crime: turf wars.

"In the cocaine and heroin trade there are numerous examples across
the country of various groups asserting their control. There may be
one or two examples of that in marijuana, but certainly not a lot,"
the Simon Fraser University professor said.

Alberta's criminal insight group could also find itself forced to cite
nearly all grow ops as organized crime, Boyd said.

"You have a group of guys who decide they are going to enhance their
income and invest tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in a
hydroponic operation, harvest and distribute the product.

"That's organized crime," Boyd said.

CISA's report did not state when its study of the industry in Alberta
would be complete, nor whether it would share its results with the
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