Article by Molly Hayes, The Globe and Mail
A $6.5-million marijuana grow-op dismantled north of Toronto was using personal licences to grow medical marijuana as a cover to cultivate thousands of illegal plants, police allege.
York Regional Police Service’s organized-crime bureau executed a search warrant July 27 at 570 Strawberry Lane in the Holland Marsh region of King township, after stumbling upon the industrial-scale grow-op during a safety inspection with bylaw officers a day earlier.
Complaints had been made to the city about the pungent smell coming from the rural property, and dogs that were roaming loose. Neighbours knew the property housed a medical marijuana grow-op, but figured it was legal because three Health Canada grow licences were taped to the front window of the home.
During the inspection, it became evident to police that the grow-op – which spanned 22 industrial greenhouses – far exceeded the limits of those licences, which together allowed for a total of 875 plants to be cultivated at a time.
Officers from the bureau’s guns, gangs and drug enforcement unit seized 635 pounds of harvested cannabis and more than 4,000 plants in the raid, totalling a street value of $6.5-million. Because the property was licensed to grow 875 plants, police officers had to leave that many plants behind after the raid.