Controlling marijuana

A drug bust in Summerland on the weekend should raise some serious concerns about the regulation of medical marijuana grow operations.

A drug bust in Summerland on the weekend should raise some serious concerns about the present regulation of medical marijuana grow operations.

On Friday evening, a Summerland man was arrested and 492 plants were seized from a building on Shale Avenue.

The man had a Designated Person Production Licence issued by Health Canada, but police say he was not following the terms of that licence.

This is not the first time marijuana plants have been seized in Summerland and it will not be the last time either. Marijuana production is an ongoing issue throughout the province and across Canada.

The issue becomes more complicated since some licenses have been issued for the production of medical marijuana.

This year, police have received numerous complaints about grow operations within Summerland, but each one was a complaint about a licenced operation.

Because of the structure of the legislation, it has been difficult for police to ensure that these operations are following the terms of their licenses.

At the end of March, the regulations will change and the production of medical marijuana will then be limited to large commercial operators instead of the smaller outfits.

Still, the future of marijuana production is far from clear in British Columbia.

A provincewide campaign is underway to collect signatures from those who are in favour of a referendum to decriminalize the possession of marijuana. The petition organizers are also urging the province to change marijuana enforcement and want the federal government to repeal its prohibition of marijuana.

At present, tens of thousands of signatures have already been collected.

Whatever the outcome of the petition and a referendum, if one takes place, the concerns and controversy surrounding marijuana use and production are here to stay.