By Alfa · Oct 24, 2004 ·
  1. Alfa

    Province Targets Grow Ops

    Toronto police Chief Julian Fantino likened decriminalizing marijuana
    to legalizing murder yesterday as he rejected arguments that legal pot
    would cut down on organized crime now growing it. "I guess we can
    legalize murder too and then we won't have a murder case. We can't go
    that way," Fantino said.

    "I don't know what the medical properties of marijuana are or aren't,
    or whether it's good or bad," he added. "The fact remains that
    marijuana today is a very, very significant concern and it's illegal
    and, as such, we have to deal with it."

    He said legalizing pot would simply mean it would be grown in Canada
    and shipped to the U.S. and other places where it's still illegal.

    His remarks came after Ontario Minister of Community Safety Monte
    Kwinter announced new legislation combatting the public safety hazards
    of grow ops across the province. The legislation includes the doubling
    of several Ontario Fire Code fines reaching up to $1 million for
    activities such as rewiring electricity around a meter for the sake of
    powering basement pot projects.


    If passed, the new law would also enshrine into law the right of local
    hydro companies to disconnect electricity without notice for emergency
    or safety reasons and require inspections of all homes confirmed to
    have contained a grow op.

    Kwinter said homes containing intensive pot operations in their
    basements are 40 times more likely to spark a fire. They also contain
    toxic chemicals, breed mold and often harm the structure of the home.

    OPP Detective Chief Superintendent Frank Ryder said the provincial
    police have executed search warrants at 629 homes converted into grow

    Much of that pot is then shipped across the border in exchange for
    harder drugs, guns and cash, Ryder said.

    Conservative critic Garfield Dunlop called for tougher trafficking

    New Democrat MPP Peter Kormos said the federal government would be
    well advised to regulate the sale of pot and collect taxes on the industry.

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