Mounties granted pot-growing licence

Mounties granted pot-growing licence

Crime Reporter Lisa Clifford, The Chronicle-Herald
May 17 1997, Nova Scotia.

Marijuana cultivation. It’s not just for criminals anymore. The RCMP are
getting in on the act, fertilizing, watering and weeding an indoor marijuana
patch. But the Mounties aren’t breaking the law. Health and Welfare Canada
has granted them a licence to conduct a marijuana cultivation and yield
study analysis. “We’re not looking to make money here,” RCMP Const. Eric
Slinn said.

Four members of the RCMP’s Halifax subdivision drug section and one Halifax
regional police officer are spending several months growing marijuana at a
secret metro location. They hope the experiment will provide insight into
how illegal labs are built and how much pot they can produce. “We want to
take a real good look at the yield these guys are getting,” RCMP Const. Marc
Gorbet said. “Then we can become experts to testify in court.”
But the Mounties say they have a lot to learn about growing drugs. Creating
a stable environment in the grow area proved difficult and so far only about
10 plants have survived. “This is two guys that got booted out of science,”
Const. Gorbet joked.

The five-member team was set up in early May to bust the ever-increasing
number of indoor marijuana operations in Nova Scotia. In addition to the
growing experiment, the team is asking for tips from the public and using
other drug intelligence and investigative techniques to bring growers before
the courts. “We’re not being inundated by calls at the moment,” Const.
Slinn said. “But we’ve identified this as a real problem.”

This year, Mounties in the Halifax subdivision — which includes the
metropolitan area, the Eastern Shore, and New Minas to Bridgewater — have
investigated at least one grow per month. The cultivators are hard to
catch, and selling marijuana can be as financially lucrative as dealing
cocaine, Const. Gorbet said. Homegrown pot is definately the drug of choice in metro, police say.
It’s readily available and potent, with a THC content as hgh as 15 to 18 per
cent. THC is the buzz-producing substance in marijuana. “They call it
wheelchair weed,” Const. Slinn said. “It’s so potent it’ll knock you into a

Police are urging landlords to beware. They say that cultivators usually
rent the properties where they set up their growing operations and often
cause major damage to the house. “They’re creating a jungle environment in
the basement,” Const. Gorbet said. “There’s high humidity and that ruins
the windows. Sometimes they cut holes through floors and walls.”

Cultivators are usually men between age 20 and 35 living in rural areas,
he said. Most growers keep unusual hours and leave someone in the house 24
hours a day to guard the crop. Police advise landlords to watch out for
people who move in without any furniture but a large dog, blacked the
windows and won’t socialize or answer the door.