HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html T.O.'s Top Cop
Pubdate: Wed, 20 Oct 2004
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004, Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Alan Findlay, Queen's Park Bureau
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino likened decriminalizing marijuana
to legalizing murder yesterday as he rejected arguments that legal pot
would cut down on organized crime operations now growing it. "I guess
we can legalize murder too and then we won't have a murder case. We
can't go that way," Fantino said.

'Significant Concern'

"I'm not making a moral statement on any of this. I don't know what
the medical properties of marijuana are or aren't, or whether it's
good or bad. The fact remains that marijuana today is a very, very
significant concern and it's illegal and as such we have to deal with

His remarks came after Ontario Minister of Community Safety Monte
Kwinter announced new legislation combatting the public safety hazards
of grow ops.

The legislation includes the doubling of several Ontario Fire Code
fines reaching up to $1 million for activities such as rewiring
electricity around a meter for the sake of powering basement pot projects.

If passed, the new legislation would also allow local hydro companies
to disconnect hydro without notice for emergency or safety reasons and
require inspections of all homes confirmed to have contained a grow

Kwinter said homes containing intensive pot productions in the
basement are 40 times more likely to spark a fire. They also contain
toxic chemicals, breed mold and often harm the structure of the home.

Ottawa police drug section Staff Sgt. Marc Pinault said the various
agencies fighting to shut down grow operations just want solutions
that work.

'All for It'

"I certainly don't know the details of the legislation, but if it's
something that helps us to combat the grow ops, or eliminate them and
recover the (hydro) line losses, I am all for it," he said. "But if
it's just legislation that turns out to be weak and have no teeth,
then it's just political lip service (and) I have no interest in it."

Opposition parties dismissed the announcement as a photo op with
little substance. 
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