Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tory Wants Grow-Op Registry

From The Star:

Ontario's Liberal government should move quickly to establish a province-wide registry for homes used to grow marijuana, Opposition Leader John Tory said today.

A good idea in principle, but difficult to implement successfully. The Star piece notes one possible concern:

Landlords who own property and find out after a police raid that their tenants were growing pot don't want to see their properties on a public list that would discourage new tenants or potential buyers, Kwinter said.

"The owner is saying, `Just because my tenant did it, why do I have to bear the responsibility?' " he said.

Another issue is that in most cases grow-ops are not discovered after a police raid. They are discovered after a tenant moves out, and an inspector examines the place and tells the property owner he's almost certain that the building was used to farm marijuana. What the owner is required to do at this point, or to disclose when he attempts to sell the property, is murky.

And of course another issue is the hazard involved in keeping such a list. For example, should a property tagged as a grow-op remain on it after the appropriate repairs have been made? And if the body keeping the list does not make an ongoing effort to maintain its accuracy, then lawsuits will surely follow. I have been told, for example, that both Toronto/York Region police considered the idea of hosting an inventory of grow-ops on their websites, but were talked out of it by legal counsel.

As a side note, its not surprising that grow-ops should be moving into high-rise apartments, especially older ones where the units are not individually metered. By contrast, a grow-op in your standard detached home is lit up like a Christmas tree to a police helicopter with an infra-red scanner.

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