Growing Debate Surrounding Medical Marijuana Grow-Ops

A resolution based out of Surrey asks Health Canada to reveal medical marijuana grow-op locations.

Now, an article in the Tyee examines the controversy surrounding the legal grow-ops and the hazards that they may (or may not) pose. 

Surrey deputy Fire Chief Dan Barnscher contends that medical grow operations pose fire and health risks.

That’s why the deputy chief was part of a Surrey delegation pushing the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) to pass a resolution calling on Health Canada to require that licensed grow-ops be obliged to comply with all local zoning and safety regulations, so that municipalities would know of every licensed grow operation within their boundaries.

Speaking to the Tyee, Barnscher insists that he supports medical marijuana, but still wants to see zoning and safety regulations enforced. He argues that Health Canada’s rules for medical marijuana production create risks for the communities in which the grow-ops exist.

The Surrey officials cited the existence of 38 legal but previously unknown grow-ops in their town that they had “stumbled upon” because of tips from neighbours or routine inspections, and invoked the dangers of illicit re-wiring, pesticide contamination and noxious smells they said occurred at unregulated grow-ops, whether licensed or not.

It’s estimated that a million Canadians use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Opponents of the Surrey resolution say that more government oversight would ruin a good thing. Research affiliate with the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C. and Victoria City Councillor Philippe Lucas reiterated that sentiment when he spoke to the Tyee. 

“Whatever happens in terms of decriminalization, we should be trying to make access to medical use cannabis easier, less bureaucratic and more decentralized. We need to increase options for patients.”

It’s important to note that similar resolutions to further regulate the production of medical marijuana have failed in the past. This stems primarily from the country’s confusing drug laws and the fact that the courts have found Canada’s marijuana laws to be unconstitutional on seven occasions, as noted in the Tyee story.

For more on Health Canada’s guidelines for growing medical marijuana check out the government fact sheet by clicking here.

And be sure to read the entire Tyee article.

– Article originally from The Open File.

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