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Government faces pressure for crackdown on grow-ops

By Hempology | March 5, 2005

OTTAWA - The Liberal government, now considering policy changes to deal with the tragic slaying of four Mounties in Alberta Thursday, will come under pressure from its own grassroots party members today to take a tougher stand on marijuana grow-ops.

BY PETER ONEIL CanWest News Service

A resolution at the Liberal convention here from members in B.C., where growops are believed to be most widespread, calls on the government to establish a minimum sentence for operators.
Federal legislation now before the House of Commons doubles the maximum penalties from seven to 14 years, but has no minimum prison term even for the most serious offences.
The minimum two-year jail term will discourage the recruitment of operators in private homes by organized crime, states the resolution, backed by the South-Surrey-White Rock-Langley riding.
B.C. Liberal Ginny Hasselfield said she doesnt believe tougher prison sentences would have made a difference in terms of the Alberta shootout.
I dont know if any legislation on grow-ops would prevent something like that from happening.
But Hasselfield said a mandatory federal jail term might cut into the ability of organized criminal groups to recruit individuals, including recent immigrants, to operate and tend to the marijuana plants in the grow-ops.
She said some some streets in Surrey have seven to 10 grow-ops. Some are booby-trapped, posing a danger to firefighters if equipment malfunctions in the unoccupied houses. This is a big issue.
The B.C. resolution was endorsed Friday by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which wants both a higher maximum sentence and a minimum jail term for operators.
We think its time to take a look at this, especially now, said association president Edgar MacLeod.
This has been a horrible tragedy and this will hopefully cause us some time for reflection and [to] come back together and take a long hard look at this problem, he told CanWest News Service.

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