Illegal Pot Grown in B.C., and Exported From B.C., Stats Confirm

Article by Lori Cuthbert, The Province

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Texada Island, a large Gulf Island tucked away in the northern Georgia Strait, has long been a hotbed of illicit marijuana production, according to an exclusive Postmedia database on pot-related crime.

In 2015, it had the second-highest number of per-capita police investigations into pot production in the country (nearly four for every 1,000 residents), trailing Quebec’s Nicolet-Yamaska Region by a small amount.

Postmedia analyzed 12 years of crime data and found Texada has consistently been at the top or near the top nationally for the number of police probes into pot production compared to the size of the local population, including in 2014 and 2009 — when there were 70 police investigations into growing cannabis for every 1,000 residents.

Texada, which requires three ferries to get to from the Lower Mainland and has about 1,000 residents, is home to retired people growing medicinal marijuana as well as others tending to recreational pot.

These findings are based on police-reported numbers compiled by Statistics Canada, which Postmedia downloaded, analyzed and turned into several online searchable databanks and maps that contain information on 1,132 municipalities across the country — including 200 in B.C.

Nine of the top 20 municipalities in Canada for per-capita pot production investigations were in B.C. in 2015, and nearly all were off the beaten track: Texada, Lytton, Bella Coola, Sooke (rural), Boundary/Midway, Kaslo, Castlegar (rural), Alexis Creek and Salmo. (StatsCan defines rural as outside a city’s core or fringe areas.)

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