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B.C. Pot Industry Grows Despite Raids

By Hempology | November 23, 2002

Daily crackdowns not enough, police say.

From the Globe and Mail, November 23, 2002

By Robert Matas

The lucrative marijuana trade continues to expand in British Columbia, despite almost daily police raids to close down illegal growing operations. U.S. drug chief John Walters appealed to British Columbia authorities earlier this week to curb the province’s marijuana trade.

He said in Vancouver he had been told that the B.C. crop is worth as much as $6-billion a year and 95 per cent is sent into the United States. Police forces in B.C. have been aggressively pursuing marijuana-growing operations in the past five years.

In the most recent campaign, which they called Operation Greensweep, Vancouver police raided several locations this week.

Despite their efforts, police say, British Columbians are producing more marijuana than ever before.

“It’s a growing problem,” Constable Tim Shields, a RCMP spokesman in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey, said yesterday in an interview.

“We’re putting a 110-per-cent effort into this,” he said.

Nevertheless, police estimate Vancouver and its suburbs have as many as 10,000 marijuana-growing operations.

Constable Shields said most of the marijuana is not grown for personal use. The businesses are often attract violence and homicides. The RCMP would need many more police officers to put the illegal operations out of business, he said.

Constable Shields said police are aware that marijuana is being smuggled from Surrey across the Canada-U.S. border, in vehicles and backpacks.

“We just have more tips than we can investigate. Already, we are getting search warrants to enter marijuana-growing operations almost every day.”

Earlier this week, the RCMP in the Vancouver suburb of Delta broke up the largest marijuana-growing operation in their history.

Police confiscated 2,500 mature marijuana plants from a rented barn in a semi-rural area.

Constable Sharlene Brooks said yesterday the police force in Delta has closed down 182 marijuana-growing operations since the beginning of last year.

“Our goal is to eliminate them all,” she said.

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