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Tory Plan “Hot Air”

By Hempology | January 29, 2007

Grit Demands Crackdown On Grow-Op ‘Plague’A Liberal MP says the Tories are all talk, no action when it comes to tackling the “criminal plague” of marijuana grow-ops infiltrating residential neighbourhoods across Canada.Toronto MP Jim Karygiannis said there is a “resurgence” of large-scale pot operations, and he’s pressing for a sliding-scale formula of stiffer sentences to combat the scourge. 

The Commons justice committee had been studying proposed legislation before the election was called in November 2005, but the Conservative government has done little to fight the problem since taking office, he charged.

“They were screaming and yelling about it when we were there in government. They’ve been in a year and they’ve done nothing,” Karygiannis said. “There was a lot of hot air when they were in Opposition.”

Dramatic Increase

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s spokesman, Genevieve Breton, countered that the number of marijuana grow-ops and the production of crack cocaine, crystal meth and ecstasy increased “dramatically” while the Liberals were in power. She insisted the Conservative government plans to follow through with a campaign pledge to combat illicit drugs and develop a national drug strategy that focuses on youth prevention.

“We intend on fulfilling our commitment, but in the immediate future our focus is to move our justice agenda forward in a minority Parliament,” she said. “If the Liberals are serious about drugs and organized crime, they can help by passing the legislation currently stalled in Parliament which will make a difference.”

Karygiannis plans to press for mandatory minimum sentences that would work on a graduated scale. More than three plants would net two years in jail, between 21-50 would garner a five-year sentence, 50-100 would get seven years and more than 100 would earn a 14-year penitentiary lock-up, he suggested.

Karygiannis said police were making some progress to combat the problem, but have found lax sentences aren’t enough of a deterrent to drive away the profitable enterprises. Grow-houses are now “rampant” in his riding and jeopardizing the health and safety of children and neighbourhoods.

“It used to be that people would buy a house and gut it out and have a grow-house. Now they’re buying a house, living upstairs and they have a grow-house in the basement, so everything looks normal,” he said.

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