MP Marc Dalton has petitioned the government to eliminate loopholes around medical cannabis production. (The News files)

MP Marc Dalton has petitioned the government to eliminate loopholes around medical cannabis production. (The News files)

Dalton petitions government to close medical cannabis loopholes

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP says existing system allows organized crime to thrive

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Marc Dalton called on government to add more enforcement and oversight around medical cannabis production.

Dalton presented a petition to the government on behalf of people, including his own constituents, “who are tired and frustrated with inaction by this government to clamp down on illegal marijuana production, including the exploitation of medical marijuana permits,” he said.

The petition states licences for the production of medical cannabis are often abused, with production in excess of personal use amounts being diverted for sale on the black market. The amounts of cannabis people are being authorized to possess for medical purposes would be impossible for an individual to consume, it states.

“The federal government has failed to subject personal registered medical cannabis production to examination and inspection, allowing grey and black-market cannabis growing operations to flourish under this program,” Dalton’s petition reads.

READ ALSO: Lack of retail cannabis fuels the black market, say store owners

The petition calls for the government to reform licensing and oversight of cannabis grown for personal medical use. He also says provinces and cities need resources and authority to regulate and enforce production for personal use.

“Our communities are becoming less safe, and less livable, as organized crime outfits are taking advantage of a system full of loopholes and absent of any real compliance and enforcement measures,” said Dalton as he presented the petition.

Dalton told The News this is a local issue, with Maple Ridge residents complaining to him about a medical cannabis grow operation in their neighbourhood. Police can do nothing about it.

“They’re very upset with what’s happening in their neighbourhood – the smell, the in and out [traffic] and the lack of a sense of security,” said Dalton.

The Niagara Regional Police Service recently urged Health Canada to crack down on cannabis producers using medical licences. Health Canada treats cannabis growing certificates as medical information, said the police service, which means growers need not provide certificates to municipalities or police.

READ ALSO: New cannabis retailer coming to Maple Ridge this spring

Illegal production is seen to be a problem in Ontario. A facility licenced for 2,000 plants in St. Catharines, Ont. was found to be growing 17,000 plants in July 2020. From July to October last year, the Ontario Provincial Police conducted raids that resulted in the seizure of 122,000 plants and 195 arrests.

“There’s a lot of abuse, adn the government doesn’t seem motivated to do anything about it,” said Dalton.

There are 74 names on Dalton’s petition.

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