News that Chilliwack RCMP busted a medical marijuana licence-holder producing 15 times more than allowed for by Health Canada is surprising.
Not surprising it was happening. Surprising someone got caught.
Those in the know who actually witness what really goes on in basements and outbuildings under the auspices of the federal government's medical marijuana access regulations (MMAR) know that many, many licence holders grow more than they are allowed.
Exorbitant hydro bills alone mean many (mostly) legal growers attempting to (mostly) follow the rules have to grow a little (or a lot) extra to pay the bills.
Just about every medical marijuana licence holder is producing more than allowed.
How do we know? Well, actually we don't. Almost no one does officially.
City hall doesn't know if bylaws are being broken. The fire department doesn't know if fire codes are violated. And, in most cases, the cops don't know if illegal activity is connected to medical grows because they aren't allowed to know due of privacy concerns.
Combine important health care privacy rights with a medicine that is legal in a framework of prohibition and what you get is a situation where no one is happy.
But with 77 designated growing licences in Chilliwack operating in such an incredibly flawed system, this recent bust is the tip of the iceberg.
With change coming to the MMAR by April 1, 2014, those making money growing marijuana using a legal loophole not only won't stop over the next 12 months, they might just ramp up production.
Given how their hands are mostly tied, we'll be curious to see how much of this iceberg the Mounties can uncover.