Mayors want end to medical marijuana growing


Source: The Vancouver Sun

Copyright: The Vancouver Sun

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By: Matthew Claxton

Published: March 12, 2011


The mayors of Langley Township and the City of Langley are calling on the federal government to cancel licences for medical marijuana growing operations.


Legal marijuana is proving a major crime headache for the Langleys, which saw another violent attack on a legal growing operation last weekend. On Sunday morning, a medicinal marijuana growing operation in Brookswood was raided by armed thieves, the RCMP say.


"We believe that the time for consultation is over and that action needs to be taken," a letter sent to the federal government by City Mayor Peter Fassbender and Township Mayor Rick Green said.


Supt. Derek Cooke, head of the Langley RCMP, said the repeated attacks are a significant concern. Officers know of one particular medicinal growing operation in the township, he said.


"It's been subjected to two attempted grow rips, and it's right across the street from an elementary school," Cooke said.


There have been several invasions and armed robberies of legal marijuana farms over the past year, he added.


The issues raised by the mayors to the federal government include a lack of knowledge of who has a medical marijuana licence, and where they are growing, an inability to regulate grows for safety, and the home invasions.


The letter asks that current licences to grow medical marijuana be cancelled, and that the drug be distributed through pharmacies and grown in government-regulated facilities.


Cooke agrees the drug should be sold by pharmacies, if it is used medically at all. If that doesn't happen, he would still like to know where the legal grow operations are in Langley. Police would be aware of the risks of a given property, and they could help owners reduce their likelihood of becoming targets for violent thugs.


In the most recent incident, two men knocked on the door at about 3:30 a.m., claiming they had car troubles. They forced their way past the residents, and tied up and blindfolded the victim. The two home invaders, armed with a rifle and a knife, ransacked the home looking for drugs, money, and weapons, said Cpl. Holly Marks, spokeswoman for the Langley RCMP. The marijuana being grown in the garage was cut down and taken.


Police arrived 10 minutes after the suspects had fled, at around 6 a.m. The suspects left in a red GMC pickup and a 1996 brown Buick Regal stolen from the homeowner.


Police are still seeking the suspects from the most recent attack. The two Caucasian men are in their early 20s. One stands about 5-foot-8 and has short blond hair. The other is almost six feet and thin, with dark hair.


Anyone with information that could help police can call the Langley RCMP at 604–532–3200 or CrimeStoppers at 1–800–222–8477. CrimeStoppers, which is anonymous, can also be reached through its website or Facebook.