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Calgary Requests to Be Informed on Legal Marijuana Grow-Ops

Posted by Jason Draizin on 05/15/2012 in Canada Medical Marijuana

City officials of Calgary are requesting to be kept in the loop when it comes to marijuana being grown within the city. Calgary’s council had passed a motion that asks Health Canada to disclose the locations of licensed growing operations. At this current time, the city’s police and safety regulators are not told where legal grow operations are located.


Director of Health Canada’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis, Stephane Lessard, said that the sharing of information on legal grow operations is easier said than done. “We have to follow the law. And in this case, the applicable legislation is the privacy act, and also under the terms of the regulations which underpin our medical marijuana program. So, both those regulations and the privacy act combine to make it very difficult for us to share information,” says Lessard.


Canada's Privacy Act

The purpose of Canada’s privacy act is to extend the present laws of Canada that protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves, which is held by a government institution and provides individuals with a right of access to that information.


Calgary authorities shut down a licensed grow operation a couple months ago after discovering that is was being operated in a home. Despite being the site of a licensed grower, the site was in violation of numerous health and safety codes. In the early 2000's, Calgary had a large problem with marijuana grow operations being set up in the basement of homes and sometimes throughout residential homes and townhouses.  Most grow houses have severe building and health hazards associated with them.  The building hazards range from electrical problems to plumbing, heating, roofing, attic and even basic structure.


Suspicion of Grow Operations

Stephane Lessard said if authorities suspect a grow operation, they have to inform Health Canada to verify if it is legal or not. Lessard said, “We have a service that operates 24 hours a day to provide that information to law enforcement, and law enforcement, detachments, either municipal or RCMP or others, are quite aware of this service.”


Health Canada currently has fifteen inspectors who keep track of more than 4,800 growing operations that take place nationwide, but officials do not say how often these legal growing operations are checked out in depth.