Editorial — Government approved headache

If Canada’s medicinal marijuana carried a warning of side effects, it might read something like this. Warning: may cause home invasions. Can lead to newspaper headlines. Unintended consequences may develop. The mayors of both Langleys and the local RCMP commander have called for an end to licensed home-based pot growing operations, complaining the growth in medicinal marijuana growing permits is out of control. This comes in the wake of reports about three robberies of legal licenced growing operations in Langley over the last six months. Homes in Brookswood, Fernridge and Willoughby were hit by criminals looking to convert the legal non-profit product into something less legal and presumably pricier. RCMP complain they don’t know where the legal grow ops are until someone robs them. In one case, at least, a grow op was located within close proximity of a Langley elementary school. It’s probably safe to say this wasn’t what the federal government had in mind when it agreed, reluctantly, to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Pot has been shown to help cancer patients control the nausea induced by chemotherapy, reduce internal pressure in glaucoma cases and stimulate appetite in patients with AIDS among other things. Allowing its limited use in such cases under a doctor’s supervision seemed to make sense. But what has resulted seems less and less like limited use. In one year, the number of growing permits in B.C. alone has more than doubled. During the same period, the number of legal users has grown even more, with more than 13 times as many people. If the use of private legal marijuana grow ops is going to continue, it is going to have to be better regulated. Letting police and local authorities know where they are located would be a good start. Limiting their numbers could be another. There are now nearly as many people permitted to grow marijuana for their own use or for others (2,585) as there are licenced users in B.C. (2,995). Do we really need that many?

– Langley Times