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

Vancouver Giants to stream 2007 Memorial Cup championship game Saturday night

Giants versus Medicine Hat Tigers can be viewed on YouTube at 7 p.m.

Fraser Valley Regional Library branches offer curbside pick up

After two and a half months of being closed, people can once again check books out of the library

Nearly 6,200 Langley students set to return to school June 1

School district shared COVID-19 update during board meeting

Langley hospice hosts experts on planning for your future health care needs

The annual advance care planning workshops are an online format due to COVID-19

Langley teen warms hearts with anti-bullying hoodie campaign

Raya Crone was surprised at how the campaign took off, and a second shipment has been ordered

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

B.C.’s police watchdog probing death of Richmond man in alleged shoplifting incident

Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is asking any witnesses to come forward

Most Read