Officers want details on medical grow-ops

The Village of Lumby is joining the fight to identify those using marijuana for medical purposes.

Council is backing an RCMP initiative to have the federal government notify enforcement agencies and municipalities on where licenses to grow marijuana have been issued.

“Everyone involved should know where these grow-ops are,” said Mayor Kevin Acton referring to the police, fire department and bylaw enforcement.

“I was shocked to find out that they don’t know.”

The local RCMP have asked all local jurisdictions to pursue the matter at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September.

“All are aware of the issues and concerns arising from these currently unregulated or at least uninspected grow operations,” said Supt. Reg Burgess, the officer-in-charge for the North Okanagan region.

Presently, Health Canada, which licenses medicinal marijuana operations, is not obligated to notify local authorities about location, ownership or inspection.

“Police and fire services have identified community safety issues regarding medical marijuana grow sites such as increased participation by organized crime groups, home invasions because of the potential profits with the illicit sale of marijuana, health issues for children living in houses where marijuana is grown, increased residential fires, use of dangerous chemicals, chemical dumping in sewer systems and electrical injury to growers and their families,” states a resolution drafted by the RCMP.

Acton is also concerned that police officers may be pursuing what they think is an illegal activity when it is a resident who has a license and isn’t breaking the law.

“What a waste of money to investigate a grow-op that has a medical license. The RCMP are already shorthanded,” he said.