NEW POT PENALTIES LONG TIME COMING
Sun, 28 May 2006
Homeowners caught cultivating marijuana would pay for the police investigation and cleanup, under a bylaw that also restricts drug equipment and resale of grow houses.
Ald. Diane Colley-Urquhart will bring the bylaw to city council after two years of consultation with police, fire officials and other experts, and it's hoped a crackdown in Calgary will make marijuana an expensive risk.
"It has taken us nearly two years to unravel the problem and decide on how to fix it," said Colley-Urquhart.
"We are at that point, so now we need the heavy arm of bylaws and regulations to shut down these neighbourhood drug factories."
The proposed bylaw, to be debated by aldermen in September, calls for regulations on the sale of hydroponic growing equipment and related drug paraphernalia, and strict safety rules covering the re-sale of homes condemned as grow ops.
Calgary will look to copy a bylaw that has seen property owners in Surrey, B.C., on the hook for as much as $30,000, after the municipality passed legislation allowing it to pass the cost of investigations and cleanups to the person holding the mortgage.
One of those involved in developing the bylaw was city bylaw boss Bill Bruce, and he expects the rules to deter some pot farmers.
"By putting some regulations in place, it makes it less lucrative as a business," said Bruce, the city's chief bylaw officer.