HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Pot Turns An Ugly Leaf
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jan 2004
Source: Burnaby Newsleader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Burnaby Newsleader
Author: Andrew Holota
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


This country - B.C. in particular - has gone to pot.

And that is an increasingly worrisome fact.

Less than a generation ago, marijuana was virtually a non-issue for
most people. Thinking about it was optional.

If you wanted to use it, you could buy low-grade local stuff from
fairly mellow dudes who peddled little $10 baggies, which yielded a
mild buzz and a raw throat.

Today, B.C. bud is mega-potent, worth more than $10,000 a pound, and
is controlled by vicious thugs in organized crime gangs which have
fingers in high levels of government. Now, marijuana generates
somewhere between $4 billion and $7 billion (US) annually in profits
in B.C., and employs 100,000 people or more (who don't pay taxes). The
pot trade in B.C. has become bigger than the forest and mining
industries combined, with its grow factories invading every

Now, whether you want to or not, you have to think about the pot
issue, because it may come crashing through your front door. Literally.

It did just that recently for three innocent homeowners, who became
the latest victims of a new and entirely unsettling trend in the
marijuana business.

It's called a "grow rip." Locate a grow op, break down the door, wave
a gun around, beat up the occupants, and snatch the dope and any cash
lying around.

There have been 13 rips in the past 30 days in Surrey.

Like most other instances of criminals preying upon each other, this
would be worthy of little attention or concern on the part of the
average citizen.

Except the major hitch in a rip is the first step - locating the grow
op. It seems the rippers aren't too good at getting the right house.
Maybe they have bad information. Maybe the grow was moved. Maybe it
was busted by police, and the home reoccupied by an innocent family.
Maybe that's you.

And one night it happens. The rippers smash through the back door.
They're violent. They're angry when they don't find what they want. If
you are lucky, they leave without doing physical harm. Or maybe not.
An elderly man was shot during a rip a couple of weeks ago.

In any case, your sense of personal security has been violated -
ripped to shreds. You and your children will be emotionally
traumatized for years, perhaps forever.

And there is nothing you can do to prevent this.

Actually, that's not entirely true. We can do something. We can create
a public protest of unprecedented volume and intensity. We can demand
that Ottawa deal with the marijuana issue, decisively.

And to do that, we must finally get past our stubborn naivete and
ideology, and admit that all the cops, courts and prisons in the
nation will not bring down an illegal industry worth more than the
entire economies of some countries.

On pure principle I may not like it, but I'd far prefer to educate my
child on why pot is legal despite warnings about its use, than try to
exorcise the demons left behind after a home invasion - over a damned

Andrew Holota is the editor of The Surrey/North Delta Leader.
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