Authorities say marijuana grow ops cause problems in homes regardless of whether they were run criminally or by licensed medical pot users.

Medical marijuana grow-ops to move out of homes

Federal government announces that commercial growers will sell all medical pot by 2014.

The federal government is poised to eliminate licensed medical marijuana grow-ops in homes that have long been criticized over safety concerns and connections to the illegal drug trade.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced Sunday a planned shift to a new system of federally regulated commercial producers of medical pot who will supply authorized users who have a prescription from their doctor.

“Under our new rule, only facilities that meet strict security requirements will be able to produce marijuana for medical purposes,”  Aglukkaq told a press conference in Maple Ridge on Sunday.

The new system – which also ends government production of medical pot – is expected to come at a sharply higher price for the nearly 26,000 users authorized to possess medical marijuana.

Local authorities have argued most medical pot home growers are producing far more plants than they require, suggesting rampant abuse of the program by licensees selling into the illicit market.

“The high value of marijuana on the illicit market increases the risk of home invasions,” Aglukkaq noted. “These production operations can also present fire and toxic mould hazards.”

The Fire Chiefs Association of B.C. (FCABC) said the change will improve safety in residential neighbourhoods.

“The fire service across Canada has been raising the alarm about the fire and safety risks associated with growing marijuana indoors for many years,” said FCABC President Len Garis, who is also Surrey’s fire chief. “We applaud the government for taking action on this issue.”

Garis stressed that the fire service has never been concerned about the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

“Our focus is on how medical marijuana is grown,” he said. “The fact is, medical marijuana has typically been grown in a residential setting, which is not suitable or safe for growing marijuana.”

Under the previous regulations, medical marijuana grow operations operated without their local municipal government’s knowledge or approval, and were not subject to health, fire, building or plumbing inspections.

Research indicates that both criminal and medical residential marijuana grow operations result in similar health, fire and safety hazards associated with unsafe electrical work, structural changes and excessive moisture.

Taking marijuana production out of homes and into a licensed commercial environment is a step in the right direction, Garis said.

“We are happy to see Health Canada commit to inspecting and auditing medical marijuana producers to make sure they comply with all regulatory requirements,” he said.

“We would like to see them take a further step and ensure that all previous residential growing sites are remediated, and that future buyers are made aware that these homes were previously used to grow marijuana.”

The federal Ministry of Health said it intends to implement the system by March 31, 2014, at which point all current licences to possess or produce pot would expire.

The government is holding a 75-day comment period for the public to give feedback on the proposal (at http://bit.ly/U4xtqi), which will end on Feb. 28, 2013.

The details of the new regulations are available on the ministry’s website (http://bit.ly/SFDUlX).

– with files from Jeff Nagel and CTV News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Boulders near Harrison vandalized with derogatory word

Vandalism likely occured between Sunday evening and Tuesday evening

Clothing charity returns to Chilliwack to hand out free goods

Clothes2U will be back at local church to give away clothing, household items, more to those in need

First rainstorm of the season pelting the Lower Mainland

Batten down the hatches as heavy rains, wind, and some localized flooding possible

Atchelitz Threshermen’s big garage sale in Chilliwack goes ahead this weekend

The annual fundraiser for the association was delayed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Return-It depots change beverage container deposits from 20 to 10 cents

Change will be implemented on Oct. 1, with a transition period being held until Oct. 11

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Young man assaulted, left for 12 hours until help called in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park

Vancouver police are looking to identify the victim as they investigate an assault on Monday evening

Most Read