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By Hempology | November 24, 2005

Marijuana Busts Taking Up More And More Of Officers’ Time

Five years ago, 95 per cent of Ontario Provincial Police drug enforcement was proactive work.

Now, it’s 95 per cent reactive, and more than half of the workload centres around marijuana, Det. Insp. Frank Elbers said at OPP headquarters yesterday.

“There has been a large increase of plants seized in rural Ontario… and the amount of farm-sized marijuana operations is growing,” Elbers said at a press conference to draw attention to the increase in rural marijuana grow operations.

In 2004, OPP drug officers seized 216,448 marijuana plants.

This year, up until September, officers have dismantled 600 indoor and outdoor operations and seized more than 400,000 plants.

“This increase is definitely alarming,” he said.

He said the trend seems to be elaborate, farm-style grow-ops, most of which are run by organized crime groups.

In 2005, police across the province located 15 grow-ops ranging from 7,000 to 24,000 plants.

In Orillia, growers tend to favour the terrain, Elbers said.

“We find large grow operations in swampy areas where they could be left without a lot of maintenance,” he said.

The street value of each plant is about $1,000, but Elbers said the drugs don’t stay local very long.

“This marijuana is destined for the U.S.,” he said. “What heads to the U.S., the return is cash and cocaine.”

MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman

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