Thursday, April 06, 2006

New law targets marijuana grow-ops

CBC News British Columbia

B.C. municipalities will soon be given the power to shut down marijuana grow-ops, by targeting homes with unusual patterns of electrical consumption.

A new law introduced in the B.C. legislature on Thursday is aimed at shutting down grow operations, but it may not result in criminal charges.

Many B.C. municipalities and fire departments have been lobbying for the change, in an effort to get grow-ops out of residential neighbourhoods.

"This legislation provides local authorities, in most cases municipalities, with the tools they need to more effectively combat grow-ops in the communities," said Solicitor General John Les of Bill 25.

If local authorities do find a record of high power consumption, they can post a notice the property will be inspected by fire officials within 48 hours.

Surrey fire chief Len Garis, who has been leading the campaign, says if the inspectors find weapons, they can call the police, who may pursue criminal charges.

But he maintains their first priority will be to ensure the grow op isn't a fire hazard. "This initiative is to do with making that location, that building, safe electrically."

The solicitor general said he realizes that many pot growers may simply move somewhere else. But Les saids the new law should help to ensure residential neigbourhoods are inhospitable places for grow-ops.


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