Article by Rachel Browne, Vice News
The Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are continuing their annual joint search-and-destroy mission against illegal outdoor cannabis grows — another example of how the war against the plant is alive and well, despite legalization.
But one Liberal Member of Parliament is calling on his own government to end the long-standing aerial mission dubbed Operation Sabot that he describes as wasteful and futile.
Under Canada’s legal recreational weed regime, only those with government licences are allowed to produce and distribute the product. Some jurisdictions allow adults to grow up to four plants at home for personal consumption. Medical growers also require a licence. That all means that producers who had been illicitly growing cannabis, sometimes hidden in farmers’ fields, are still running afoul of the law.
Since 1989, the RCMP and the Canadian military have teamed up on Operation Sabot to patrol outdoor marijuana crops from military aircraft, typically towards the end of the summer or early fall. Once the crops are located, officers seize them and they are destroyed.
The multi-million dollar mission, which was renewed in 2016 until at least 2019, boasts the seizure and destruction of millions of cannabis plants, something the RCMP says has made a significant dent in the illicit cannabis trade.
This year’s operation took place only in Quebec, according to an RCMP spokesperson, but over the years it has been carried out across the country.