1. Alfa

    MONTREAL (CP) -- More marijuana plants are seized in Quebec and British
    Columbia than any other province, a coalition of public officials said Monday.

    The coalition, which includes police services and federal and municipal
    authorities, told a news conference nearly 580,000 marijuana plants were
    seized in Quebec last year.

    Police in British Columbia pulled up nearly 461,000 pot plants in 2003
    while Ontario was a distant third with 232,000 plants seized.

    Montreal police spokesman Robert Chartrand said increased demand for the
    drug has prompted growers to step up their operations.

    "Most of the people are consuming a little bit more year after year," he said.

    "That's why people who are trying to give that kind of service are
    expecting ... much bigger production."

    Officials released the statistics at a technical briefing to coincide with
    the annual fall marijuana harvest when illegal growers collect mature
    plants for processing and sale.

    Quebec provincial police said the province's proximity to the U.S. border
    might explain the proliferation of grow operations here.

    They added the mild B.C. climate could be enticing growers to cultivate the
    plants on the West Coast.


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