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CP Rail Holiday Train arrives tonight The train rolls into Port Haney train station at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Spectators are being asked to bring a cash or non-perishable food donation for Friends In Need Food Bank, story A22… Tuesday, December 18, 2012 Prime Minister bestows award on long-time Pitt Meadows basketball coach Rich Goulet. Page A28 • LOCAL NEWS, SPORTS, WEATHER AND ENTERTAINMENT • • 604-463-2281 • 36 PAGES Health Canada Medical pot growing rules changing Producing medical marijuana in homes will be phased out, according to proposed new regulations announced Sunday in Maple Ridge. by Roxanne Hooper A Sunday afternoon press conference in the training room of Maple Ridge’s main fire hall saw changes announced that could put the kibosh on people growing medical marijuana at home by spring 2014. Under the guise of being legal, there are many pot growing homes around Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows – and likewise across the country – that must be banned, Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq told a room of media, local politicians, as well as police officers and fire officials. The number of Health Canada approved growers has skyrocketed from 500 a decade ago to 26,000 today, and with no Roxanne Hooper/TIMES substantive rules in place to govern the Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, local MP Randy Kamp, and RCMP Supt. Dave Walsh fielded questions during a operations, the rapid increase has created medical marijuana press conference in Maple Ridge on Sunday. Also in attendance was Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie an unmanageable risk to public health, Daykin (inset) who applauded the efforts, noting it has been in the works for at least three to four years. safety, and security, she said. As the program has grown, so too has the cost to Canadian taxpayers. It has were on hand and welcomed the proposed Grootendorst said it is long overdue. become unsustainable, Aglukkaq said. changes and lobby for it to happen sooner. They noted firefighters are put in jeopAlways Growing Green Society (TAGGS), Proposed new regulations announced The two mayors were in agreement that ardy whenever responding to fires at a medical marijuana dispensary in Maple Sunday remove Health Canada from the the existing system unnecessarily taxes homes where occupants are licensed to Ridge, said Health Canada set up the application process, and instead require municipal resources because grow medical marijuana. program to give people licences to grow health-care practitioners to write local governments have become Several such fires in the past two years marijuana medicinally in their own the equivalent of a prescription the de facto enforcers. Further, have put firefighters at risk, including homes, many of whom have invested that must then be filled by a it depletes the housing pool, a blaze in Whonnock last year where money into equipment. licensed commercial producer. impacts negatively on neighbourGrootendorst was blown over by a “Now they’re going to take it all back,” Subsequently, producers will hoods, damages the water supply “violent” propane explosion just as he Joinson said. have to get licences to produce with high volumes of unknown approached a burning outbuilding. It After the changes announced by Health and sell the marijuana in an fertilizers, attracts criminal activturned out the structure was Canada on Sunday, More appropriately zoned industrial or ity – including grow rips – and being used to grow about Joinson said he doesn’t “It has no place Photos agricultural area, then sell at a puts emergency responders at four times the legal amount think a licensed comin residential price set by Health Canada. Online unacceptably high risk. approved by Health Canada. mercial producer would “Current medical marijuana Supt. Dave Walsh, the top cop But still, no charges were ever necessary provide the neighbourhoods.” regulations have left the system open to at Ridge Meadows RCMP, is hopeful the filed. in-depth knowledge to Don Jolley abuse,” Aglukkaq said, noting that local changes will curtail the criminal element. “It has no place in residenhelp use cannabis as law enforcement agencies and the munici“Will there still be grow ops? Sure… but tial neighbourhoods,” added a medical product, for palities have not only been very vocal on as long as they deliver [on the proposed Jolley, who noted two fires occurred in example, how it should be ingested or the issue, but critical of how criminals are regulations] and don’t back down, it’s all the past three months in Pitt Meadows what are the different strains to use. hiding behind the existing system. positive,” Walsh said. subdivisions in so-called legal home “Just because you are a gardener, it Both local mayors, Maple Ridge’s Ernie Likewise, Pitt Meadows fire chief Don grows. doesn’t mean you know how to use canDaykin and Pitt Meadows’ Deb Walters, Jolley and Maple Ridge fire chief Peter The president and founder of The nabis medically,” Joinson said. Don’t miss important information from the City of Pitt Meadows on pages A5 and A6 Your BEST Mortgage is One Call Away Online, all the time... 604-466-1976 Donna Telep 22718 Lougheed Hwy. 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Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Times December 18 2012

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