A marijuana growing operation in B.C.
Photograph by: Vancouver Sun, RCMP handout
The RCMP has launched a website listing the addresses of where marijuana grow-ops were found.
The National Grow Initiative is an RCMP-led project launched Wednesday in Ottawa that will focus on enforcement, deterrence and awareness as part of the National Anti-Drug Strategy.
Categorized by provinces, the website lists the addresses of homes, outbuildings and businesses where search warrants were executed. It also lists when the busts were made and how many marijuana plants were found. Clandestine drug labs are also included in the database.
The addresses will remain on the RCMP website for a period of one year.
"Marijuana grow operations harm communities. Wherever they exist, there's the potential for an increase in criminal activity and a greater chance of fire, explosions and violence," said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Mike Cabana.
British Columbia leads the list with the most grow-ops discovered, with several dozen locations listed, mainly in the Surrey area. A property in Hope, B.C., displayed on the website, was said to have had 6,496 marijuana plants found on it in June.
"(Marijuana) grow operations pose a serious threat to Canadians, the safety of our communities and the law enforcement officers fighting against these illegal operations," said Conservative MP Shelly Glover, in a news release on behalf of Vic Toews, the public safety minister. "The government of Canada is taking action to combat illicit (marijuana) cultivation in Canada, as well (as) the organized crime elements behind it."
Pauline Aunger, an Ottawa realtor and one of the Canadian Real Estate Association's board of directors, said grow-ops are a major concern for home buyers and realtors across the country.
"The (website) puts the information in the hands of the buyer," said Aunger, explaining how there is no national database for the public to know if their homes were former grow-ops.
So far, the only way for a buyer to know if a home was a grow-op is for the seller to disclose that information.
Aunger said a grow-op can compromise the structural integrity of a home and create health hazards, such as mould.
"The buyer needs to know what happened to the house, what kind of grow-op and clandestine operation was there," she said.