Throughout early 2013, Alberta Justice has been leading stakeholder consultations on how to reduce the number of marijuana grow operations (grow ops) within Alberta. The AAMDC had the opportunity to participate in two of the consultation sessions, which were led by MLA Rick Fraser. In addition to the municipal perspective, Alberta Justice has sought input from police agencies, fire officials, health, safety and building investigators, utilities, mortgage and real estate companies and the ministries of Energy, Health, Municipal Affairs, and Service Alberta. The information gathered through the stakeholder consultations will be summarized in a What Was Heard document that will be part of a final report and recommendation to the government.

Alberta’s communities are affected by grow ops in a number of ways. Examples may include:

  • Introduction of other criminal activity such as neighbouring properties being mistakenly targeted for home invasion and growers often possess illegal weapons and other drugs
  • The time consuming process of remediating a former grow op property can reduce the marketability of a neighbourhood, potentially lowering neighbouring property values
  • Grow ops can involve a variety of harmful moulds, toxins, and chemicals that can potentially harm air quality, water quality and even contaminate soil and water supply
  • Significant health, fire, and safety concerns for future home buyers if a former grow op property is not remediated to a reliable standard

In 2011, there were a total of 168 confirmed grow ops across the province. Reducing the number of grow ops requires a partnership between a variety of agencies including municipalities. For instance, when an owner of a former grow op home fails to step forward to take responsibility of the property, the municipality can place the costs of demolishing the house on the property tax roll and follow the standard legislated process until the property taxes become delinquent and the municipality disperses of the property through public auction.

To learn how to identify a grow op, visit the Ministry of Justice’s interactive website. For more information about the impacts of marijuana grow operations and background on the ministry’s review, please visit the ministry’s grow op free website.

Enquiries may be directed to:

Darren Reedy

Policy Analyst

780.955.4096

Kim Heyman

Director of Advocacy and Communications

780.955.4079

 

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