According to Oxford County OPP, thousands of illegal cannabis plants were seized in a recent raid that resulted in 10 people being charged. According to a recent tweet by the Oxford County provincial police, officers searched a commercial address on Spruce Street in Tillsonburg on April 8.
Street crime units, including Brant, Middlesex, Haldimand-Norfolk OPP officers, the OPP West Region emergency response team and canine units were all involved in the investigation. As a result of the investigation and seizure, 10 people were charged with cultivating or harvesting cannabis at a place outside their residents, in contravention of the Cannabis Act.
The investigation is currently ongoing and more charges are pending. The individuals who were charged as part of the investigation will appear in Woodstock court at a later date.
Earlier in January, the Chatham-Kent Police Intelligence Unit has seized over 25,000 illegal cannabis plants worth $25.5 million in the past six months.
According to the Chatham-Kent Police police service, they had located, investigated and dismantled four illegal cannabis grow operations in the community.
“The goal of locating and dismantling these illegal production sites is to safeguard our community from the dangers that inherently come with the illegal cannabis industry, such as; violent criminal activity, human trafficking and public health concerns due to a lack of regulatory oversight in the illicit market,” reads a statement released by the police service.
The police reported sophisticated operations being used to exploit the existing regulations created by Health Canada by diverting cannabis authorized to be grown for a personal medical purpose to the illegal market. “By cutting off the illegal supply, we can reduce the criminality that results from these lucrative criminal networks,” the Chatham-Kent Police police service said in a statement.
The police service has also highlighted the fact that these facilities are not regulated or inspected by Health Canada, and the way they operate is definitely a concern for the municipality, especially when it comes to the potential for unsafe electrical outlets, building code violations, use of illegal pesticides and where the waste water is being dumped.
This past year, a significant amount of cannabis associated to illegal drug operations has been found in Chatham-Kent,” Chief Gary Conn told CTV News. “These operations will not be tolerated here in our community as we know their actions may lead to violent behaviour, property crimes and organized crime. Our officers, have and will continue to investigate reports of illegal drug activity to ensure the safety of everyone here in our community.”
According to current legislation in Ontario, cultivating 4 cannabis plants per household is legal, as long as it is not forbidden by the lease agreement or condo rules. The individuals growing must be over the age of 19 years and the cannabis must be for personal use only, selling it is prohibited. How many plants are allowed to be grown per household varies across provinces, you can find a link to what the rules are for your province on the government website, here.