For everyone out there that thought Canada was a relatively safe haven for smokers on the USA side of the world I'm sure have been getting a wake up call over the last few months. Never underestimate the paranoia of the general populace and their desire to annihilate Marijuana consumers. Our community needs to pull together and evolve because the persecution is not going slow down much less stop. While we're peacefully puffing away in hopeful anonymity there are sober, conniving, and manipulative hypocrites plotting to wipe us off the motherfucking planet through unreasonable drug enforcement policies. They're out for blood and guts, shouldn't we be too? <O</O Watch your backs brothers and sisters because I guarantee you, if you don't the government will. <O</O New tool for cities to bust grow-ops <O</O <O</O By Robert Freeman The Progress<O</O <O</O <FONT color=#000000><FONT size=2><FONT][COLOR=#000000><FONT]CHILLIWACK class=inlineimg title="Stick Out Tongue" alt="" border="0" src="images/smilies/tongue.gif" smilieid="17" ST1<img font]< size][ color][ [ />Apr 11 2006 BC Hydro will be required to give municipal governments information about residences with unusual power consumption after new legislation announced by the B.C. government last week. "It will help local governments target and shut down marijuana grow-ops," Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for housing, told The Progress on Thursday. "(Grow-ops) pose a danger to our neighbourhoods and we're determined to shut them down." Power consumption data was previously considered confidential and protected by privacy legislation, putting it out of reach of authorities. B.C's privacy commissioner David Loukidelis has expressed concern about the new legislation, saying such initiatives "amount to a form of surveillance" and he asked the government to re-word the law so only city inspectors can use it - not police to launch criminal investigations. Solicitor General John Les, former Chilliwack mayor, says the legislation is not aimed at criminal activities, but those that pose a safety hazard to communities. He cites one case encountered in <ST1Surrey</ST1 where the pilot program that preceded the legislation was held. Consumption data revealed a homeowner using four kitchen ranges at the same time - not for any illicit purpose, Les says - but a safety hazard that was resolved with an electrical upgrade. "This is not a criminal proceeding, this is simply a civil power to deal with uses causing an unsafe condition, and get rid of that condition," he says. "I don't have any problems with people interested in civil liberties taking a critical look at this legislation," he adds. "It's always important to be balanced and not tread on personal privacy any more than absolutely necessary. I think we have struck that balance." Les says Chilliwack</ST1lace can ask BC Hydro for a list of homes with "unusual consumption," and based on safety concerns; give the homeowners 48-hours notice of inspection. Grow-ops can be taken down quickly, he agrees, but the safety hazard will go with it and the city can declare the residence unsafe for occupation under an existing bylaw and order the owner to restore it to health and safety standards. Both Les and Chilliwack Mayor Clint Hames say they have no quarrel with criticism that the legislation may infringe on civil liberties, but say a balance must be found between citizens' privacy and the safety of neighborhoods. "If laws are being broken and communities are being hurt ... we need to think about giving up some civil liberties to ensure safety," says Mayor Hames. "I appreciate what civil libertarians are saying, but help us out here," he says, to find a solution that protects residents living near grow-ops, and society in general from the marijuana industry that "bankrolls" other criminal activities. Legalizing marijuana would remove the profit motive that makes it attractive to criminals, the mayor agrees, but that is a federal government matter and would not likely deter the criminal element moving to other hazardous activities like crystal meth production. "If they can't make a profit with marijuana ... they'd increase the number of meth labs," he says. "As a society, you have to say, 'where's the line drawn' and make the best of it." And should the federal government ever legalize pot, Hames believes it would simply put Canada</ST1 in the same position that it was during the U.S. </ST1prohibition on alcohol when it became a huge black market for illegal sales. "You can't be the island among nations that makes marijuana legal," he says. "From a community perspective this is a war on unsafe conditions, and a war against organized crime."<O</O Link: http://www.theprogress.com/portalscode/list.cgi?paper=39&cat=23&id=625892&more=<O</O Here's my questions to John Les and Clint Hames: Name three instances in 2006 where grow-ops actually caused damage to other residences? And what instances specifically made this legislation necessary? (If there were an epidemic of electrical fires by all means create legislation but if it's persecution designed to look like a safety concern law well...) "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing." ~Edmund Burke~ Stay safe and stay green!