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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN AB: City in Dark on Legal Grow Ops
Title:CN AB: City in Dark on Legal Grow Ops
Published On:2012-01-20
Source:Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Fetched On:2012-01-21 06:02:54

Licensed Marijuana Operation Shut for Safety Code Violations

The city admits it has no idea how many federally licensed medical
marijuana grow operations are active in Calgary.

The city inspected and shut down a Health Canada approved pot growing
operation Wednesday, finding numerous safety code infractions inside
the southwest house.

The home, which was said to be unsafe and contaminated, is now
shuttered and deemed unfit for human habitation.

The discovery is raising safety concerns about bylaw and safety codes
not being met, and about Health Canada's efforts to inspect the homes.

In October, a different licensed home in the 400 block of 51st Avenue
S.W. suffered an explosion after residents were cooking a byproduct on a stove.

A resident of the home had a federal waiver allowing them to have
marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Two men were badly burned.

But just how many more homes are legally operating is unknown to city
officials, he said.

"We really don't know that. Health Canada doesn't divulge that
information to anyone. We did know of this one and one previously
that had an explosion. We only know of these two, so as we find
additional medical marijuana grow operations we're hoping to inspect
them as well on behalf of the city," said Wayne Brown, who heads the
city's Co-ordinated Safety Response Team.

"It's frustrating to a point. We would like all of these houses to
comply with regulations with bylaw and safety codes. I think working
with Health Canada in the future we'll get a handle on this," said Brown.

The CSRT works with city police whenever illegal grow ops are found also.

"We will be speaking with Health Canada on this. We do want these
legal medical marijuana grow operation houses to comply with the
bylaws and codes of the City of Calgary."

City building regulation inspectors and police showed up at the home
in question Wednesday.

Inside, they found officials concluded the owners were in violation
of numerous safety infractions.

"We do believe this house is in unsafe condition," said Brown.

An inspection of this nature is the first of its kind for building regulations.

"To find this number of safety infractions in a federally approved
medical grow operation is very disturbing," Brown said.

Multiple safety infractions were found in the federally licensed grow
operation including: building code infractions, compromised air
intake, toxins, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer and potential
contamination of drinking water.

The house is fenced and signs are posted barring anyone from entering.

"It is the owner's responsibility to comply with all City permits
including an Environmental Restoration Permit.

"Evidence of this situation poses a serious safety risk to the
community," said Brown.

"Operators of licensed Health Canada marijuana grow operations need
to take public safety seriously and should ensure that they are in
compliance with all applicable bylaws and safety codes that are
required in the City of Calgary."

Requests to speak with Health Canada have not yet been answered.

As of Jan. 8, Health Canada says, 631 individuals in Alberta were
licensed to possess medical marijuana
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