The RCMP is now publishing online the addresses of homes where marijuana grow-ops and other drug production operations were found.
The new page on the RCMP's website is part of a stepped up effort by the Mounties to target marijuana grow-ops and the organized crime gangs behind them.
The Marijuana Grow Initiative was launched Wednesday and the RCMP says it complements its National Anti-Drug Strategy. Split up by province, the website lists the addresses where search warrants were executed and lists how many marijuana plants were discovered and when. The database also covers clandestine drug labs that were found in homes.
The page also includes links to the websites of local police services in Ottawa, London and Winnipeg. They also list addresses in their cities where search warrants were executed.
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RCMP Commissioner William Elliott said publishing the addresses is part of the deterrence and awareness elements of the new strategy. He said the RCMP has worked hard on the law enforcement to combat grow-ops but that a broader strategy with more community engagement is needed to fight what he said is an increasing problem.
"Illicit marijuana grow operations in our neighbourhoods and the criminal organizations that run them are a danger to us all. Wherever there is a marijuana grow-op the surrounding community is at greater risk of fires, explosions and increased criminal activity, including violence," he said at an event in Ottawa to launch the new strategy.
The website will provide information to landlords and homeowners, he added, and inform neighbours about the risks posed by properties used for drug cultivation.
"Current and future homeowners will now have a tool that will lower their risk of being victimized by unknowingly buying a home that was used to grow marijuana or produce chemical drugs," he said.
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Elliott said that if people have concerns about property values going down because of the published addresses, the concerns would be noted, but that the initiative is worthwhile.
"We think that if the public is better informed we will be able to more effectively combat the problem," he responded.
When pushed for more details about the list, Elliott said properties will remain on the list for a period of one year. Homeowners and landlords have no recourse to get off the list before that time, he said. Following the dismantling of a grow-op, if the homeowner makes all necessary repairs to ensure the property is safe, the address still remains on the list for 12 months.
Conservative MP Shelly Glover was on hand for the announcement and said publishing the locations will help public safety and homeowners.
"We are going to make sure that the public has access to information because information gives them the power to protect themselves," she said.