HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Citizens Tipping Off Police On Marijuana Grow-ops
Pubdate: Fri, 13 Feb 2004
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2004 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Bruce Owen


'Frankly, I think they're fed up,' constable says

HOURS before the Martin government retabled legislation to decriminalize 
possession of small amounts of cannabis, police in Winnipeg shut another 
two marijuana grow houses.

Police say they could uproot even more grow houses if they had the manpower 
to respond to all the tips they get from upset Winnipeggers.

"Frankly, I think they're fed up and that's why they're calling us," 
spokeswoman Const. Shelley Glover said. "One person even phoned me to pass 
on an address."

She said people can learn more about the dangers of marijuana grow houses 
by going to the city police website at

Since Jan. 1, Winnipeg police have closed down more than a dozen grow 
operations and seized thousands of plants worth more than $4 million on the 

The most recent seizures happened on Truro Sreet at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and 
a half-hour later on Marble Avenue. The Truro haul netted police 30 
marijuana plants, one five-pound bag of pot, a small amount of cocaine and 
some cash. The estimated street value of the marijuana is more than 
$58,000. Police arrested a 30-year-old man and later released him on a 
promise to appear in court. He faces several drug-related charges. The 
investigation continues.

At the Marble Avenue address, the drug and gang units uncovered a 
hydroponic grow-op with more than 600 plants. The estimated street value of 
this seizure is more than $1 million. A 30-year-old resident and 
18-year-old man face marijuana cultivation charges. They were also released 
on promises to appear in court.

The two seizures come on the heels of one made earlier Wednesday when 
officers raided a bungalow at 92 Eaglemere Dr. Police seized 668 plants 
that had a potential street value of $1.8 million.

Ottawa's new plan to decriminalize simple pot possession proposes that 
possession of under 15 grams of the drug will result in a fine. It also 
provides increased penalties for growers.

Any changes would have to be proposed by MPs, said an official in the Prime 
Minister's Office.

The government wants the law to pass before the next federal election, 
expected in the spring, in the hope of muting any criticism. The bill was 
reintroduced at third reading yesterday, meaning it won't have to be 
re-examined by a parliamentary committee. That would change if the House of 
Commons reduces maximum possession to 10 grams, as was suggested by some 
Liberal and Conservative MPs.

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said while marijuana use must be discouraged, 
it should not result in a criminal record for possessing small amounts.

As it stands, the proposed law would not impose criminal sanctions for 
possession of enough pot to make about 20 joints. However, fines of up to 
$400 could be imposed for adults, less for youth.

The Senate would review the bill for several weeks after it passes the Commons.

Critics, including police agencies across the country, fear it will 
encourage organized crime to get even more involved in the growing and 
trafficking of marijuana, much of it now grown in quiet residential homes 
throughout Canada.
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