Sam Mellace on CBC – Rip-offs at legal B.C. grow-ops a growing concern

March 11, 2011Leave a reply

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CBC News Posted: Mar 10, 2011 6:18 AM PT

Recent home-invasion robberies at legal marijuana grow-ops in Langley, B.C., needn’t have happened, according to one grower who has fortified his Fraser Valley property.

Sam Mellace is licensed by Health Canada to produce medical marijuana on his family farm, where his nearly 300 plants make him a potential target of robbers.

“It used to be the RCMP were going to kick your door in,” said Mellace.

Mellace has taken extraordinary security measures, including prison-styles gates, 45-cm tube spikes formed into a crash barrier, surveillance cameras, guard dogs and motion sensors.

“There’s not much more I can do,” outside of hiring an armed guard or having an RCMP cruiser parked in his driveway, he said.

Mellace has reason to be cautious.

Health Canada blamed

In the early hours of Sunday morning, two armed men burst in on a licensed operator in Langley’s Brookswood area and stole his medicinal plants.

It was the third similar case in Langley in the past six months and police believe it’s part of an organized criminal campaign.

“We’re very concerned,” said Supt. Derek Cooke of Langley RCMP. “This is a significant problem for the community..”

But Mellace believes some growers have brought trouble on themselves by promising tough security to get their licenses from Health Canada, but then cutting corners — and the government doesn’t do follow-up checks.

“I put a lot of the blame on Health Canada,” said Mellace, who he alleged are “not doing their job.”

There are now more than 800 legal medicinal marijuana grow-ops in B.C., Cooke said.

With files from the CBC’s Eric Rankin

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