Targeting Marihuana Growing Operations in British Columbia

Marihuana growing operations are an enduring crime and social problem for British Columbia. At the end of the 20th Century, the province had witnessed a surge in the number of marihuana growing operations coming to the attention of police forces. Growing in sophistication and increasingly moving indoors into residential neighbourhoods to avoid detection by law enforcement, the problem became just as much one of public safety as it was about the control of an illegal substance. Moving into the 21st Century, while the number of marihuana growing operations coming to the attention of police appeared to plateau, the size and sophistication of these operations had increased to the point where the same number or fewer of what had become much larger operations were producing far greater yields, supplying not just domestic consumption, but also largely fuelling international organized criminal drug trafficking. It became evident in many of the more urbanized centres that the traditional police response of waiting for public tips and complaints or coming across growing operation in the course of other police investigations was not adequate to combat the problem. Therefore, police tactics began to change in various locations around the province, accompanied by innovative, targeted approaches by other relevant stakeholders.

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