Pubdate: Wed, 19 Nov 2003
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Matthew M. Elrod,


Re: Surrey strikes at pot-growing operations, Nov. 14

Surrey Police Constable Tim Shields hopes that shutting down three
cannabis growing operations in Surrey will send a clear message: "If
you are growing marijuana in Surrey, it's only a matter of time before
we visit you."

According to a four-year study of police activity, the number of
cannabis growing operations in B.C. is increasing by an average of 36
per cent a year, outpacing police efforts to close them down.

Police estimate there are more than 4,500 grow operations in Surrey,
although no one knows the real figure. The RCMP guesstimate that
Canadians cultivate about 800 tonnes of cannabis a year. In 2001 they
seized 29 tonnes, which is about 3.6 per cent of production, or about
half of what growers would have paid in GST if the herb were legalized
and regulated. We produce so much cannabis that we are able to export
most of our crop to the United States and still meet domestic demand.

Three growing operations down, 4,497 to go, assuming no one planted a
new garden while the "20 officers assigned specifically to combat
growing operations" and "about 10 other agencies" investigated and
raided these three.

The next time someone takes your car stereo to pay for the
prohibition-inflated price of heroin, and the police lack the manpower
to investigate it, remember that they are busy preventing a tiny
fraction of our cannabis crop from reaching American consumers. The
next time the police ask for more manpower and resources to combat
growing operations, ask them when we should expect victory.

Matthew M. Elrod

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