A medical marijuana grow operation producing nearly 15 times more than allowed by
Health Canada has been busted in Chilliwack.
Acting on BC Hydro reports of stolen electricity, Chilliwack RCMP executed a search warrant on March 5 at a rural property in the 7300 block of Ramsay Place in the Eastern Hillsides.
Prior to the search, Mounties learned the address was home to multiple designated personal production licences (DPPL).
After a search by the Chilliwack RCMP drug section-also attended by the Chilliwack Fire Department, BC Hydro personnel and City of Chilliwack inspectors-nearly 2,000 plants were seized.
"We have encountered several abuses to the medicinal marihuana system but this one was pretty significant," said RCMP spokesperson Const. Tracy Wolbeck in a press release. "This is a continued focus for our drug unit due to the danger these operations pose to the community."
Also found was an improperly stored firearm, a "significant" amount of cash and dried marijuana "that looked ready for distribution."
A 32-year-old Abbotsford man was arrested without incident and will appear in court in June.
According to information obtained by the Times, there are 590 legal medical marijuana growers in Chilliwack, a per capita number approximately three times the provincial rate.
Nearly half of the DPPLs and personal growing licences in Canada are in British Columbia.
The topic of medical marijuana growing in rural, residential and commercial areas has been in the news lately as neighbours complain about odours, safety and property values.
On one rural road in Chilliwack, neighbours of a suspicious medical marijuana grow operation were alarmed when in February at least 10 semi trucks dropped off shipping containers to the five-acre property.
"This grow-op appears to be under a time crunch and is in full gear expanding to a commercial size grow-op," one neighbour said.
Changes to Health Canada's medical marijuana access regulations will likely come into effect by April 1, 2014, taking growing out of residential areas.
Concern has been raised by Chilliwack city hall that growing will be allowed on farmland in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
What is more likely is that all growing licences will be revoked and a handful of largescale, industrial growers will provide the marijuana for the entire country.