Kawartha Lakes police occasionally need to assist landlords when it comes to evictions, but it hardly ever involves having to remove more than 8,000 pounds of marijuana.
“It was certainly an unusual situation,” said Kawartha Lakes Police Service Chief Mark Mitchell of the Aug. 26 removal and disposal of property left behind by a Mount Hope “tenant” who had been operating a Health Canada-approved cannabis production operation.
“The thing is, they were approved for 880 plants, and officers would up removing more than 10,000.”
On the black market, the plants could have earned close to $4 million.
Chief Mitchell told Kawartha Lakes Police Service Board members during their Thursday (Sept. 17) meeting that the building owners were “caught in a nightmare scenario” when it was discovered the licence approved by the federal agency had not only expired but “grossly exceeded” the approved numbers.
According to Chief Mitchell, the property owners did try to get assistance from Health Canada to deal with the situation but received none, so requested help from police.
“Maybe we should send a bill for policing and disposal costs … It might send a message to Health Canada that they need to do a better job monitoring their licensees,” said board member and Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham.
Chief Mitchell explained that when Health Canada issues licences, there is no obligation to notify police, nor are any follow-ups conducted. Producers are required to conduct their own licence management.
As well, as long as the individual complies with zoning and has the correct permits in place, they don’t even need to register as a business.
However, police did notify the municipality of the situation as the property has to be listed with the land registry office in order to advise of any potential issues such as mould growth and amendments to electrical services.