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York Regional Police Chief still opposes marijuana grow-op registry

Submitted by Jasmina on Wed, 2006-12-13 01:17.

YORK REGIONAL - Regional News Story: A provincial or national registry of marijuana grow operations would offer a false sense of security to those who rely on it, York Regional Police Chief Armand La Barge said. A major problem with that kind of warning system, is grow-ops that have not been discovered by police would not be part of the registry, Chief La Barge said. Instead, Chief La Barge supports Provincial Bill 128, which allows police to inform municipalities a grow-op has been discovered and requires city administrators to ensure an inspection is done to make sure a home used as grow-op falls under the building code before it is resold.

A recent phenomenon is people purchasing known grow-op homes at reduced prices and refurbishing them to make substantial profits in a resale. That could lead to criminals showing up at the address believing it's still a grow-op, which could be dangerous for the new homeowners, Chief La Barge said. York's top cop suggests a thorough home inspection before buying goes a long way to expose past criminal uses.

According to York Regional Police, 82 grow-ops have been found in the region this year, down from 101 in 2005. "We've been seeing these numbers coming down since we've been waging a war against them," he said. "But I'm not naive enough to think we've found them all."

Law enforcement and politicians have been calling for more stringent controls on grow-ops and the public identification of buildings and homes used to grow marijuana.

In September, former York police chief and current OPP commissioner Julian Fantino, who was chairperson of Vaughan's task force on community safety and security, released a report recommending councillors in that city explore the possibility of creating a local grow-op registry, accessible to the public.