Cannabis thefts on the rise as harvest season reaches midpoint

A series of cannabis thefts have been reported in and around Waterloo Region, according to police.
Cannabis is generally ready for harvest between mid-September and mid-October, according to a former federally regulated grower. (Siavash Dezvareh/CBC)

A series of cannabis thefts have been reported in and around Waterloo Region, according to police, as the midpoint of the plant's harvest season arrives. 

In the early hours of Sept. 19 Wellington County OPP attended a rural property in Guelph, responding to a break and enter in progress. 

When police arrived they saw people running toward a parked car. After a short investigation, police said the individuals were taken into custody and "a duffel bag containing fresh marijuana was seized."

"During the harvesting season, plants are targeted by thieves," said Waterloo Region Police Service (WRPS) public information officer André Johnson in a statement. 

Johson also said WRPS has seen a recent increase in the theft of cannabis plants. 

Depending on the variety of cannabis plant, the ideal harvest time is some point between the middle of September and middle of October, according to Matt Soltys, a former federally-licensed cannabis grower and University of Guelph student. 

Those who have been growing the plant outdoors would have likely planted their seed or seedling in May, Soltys said. The plant grows through the summer and begins to flower as nights become longer in the fall. 

"I think any time I've ever heard of a plant getting stolen it's frustrating because it's earlier than the ideal time to harvest," he added. 

"It's kind of annoying, as a person who cares about horticulture," said Soltys. 

Though only two years ago police wouldn't have done much to intervene in a stolen-cannabis case, legalization has changed the dynamic. 

Waterloo regional police are encouraging anyone who has experienced plant theft to report it online or call 519-570-9777.


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