The head of the RCMP marijuana enforcement team in British Columbia wants to crack down on hydroponics stores that sell equipment to marijuana grow-ops, but one store owner says innocent gardeners will be targeted.
RCMP Inspector Paul Nadeau says his unit is in the process of drafting a new bylaw that will be submitted to all police jurisdictions in the province. It would be up to the local police to submit the proposed bylaw to municipal authorities.
The bylaw would force hydroponics stores to operate much like pawn shops are required to. Customers would have to provide picture ID, and the store would be required to keep a list of who buys what equipment. Police would then have access to that list.
"There's absolutely no doubt in our minds that these stores cater to people who grow marijuana," Nadeau says, defending his idea. "The people who are growing marijuana -- that's who's using these stores. It's not gardeners. "
Xari Moffitt, who owns The Grow Room on Vancouver's Victoria drive, challenges Nadeau's assertion. She says her customers aren't pot growers. She even posts a sign at her cash register telling customers not to ask about marijuana cultivation.
"I have clients who grow orchids, do food production," she told CTV News Vancouver. "I have one lady who's trying very diligently to grow strawberries hydroponically."
Moffitt admits that pot growers do use the type of equipment she sells and says, "I would imagine they're shopping somewhere."
But targeting all hydroponic stores isn't fair, she says, and doubts it will make a dent in the province's billion-dollar industry. "Forcing small business owners into being the regulators and monitors isn't the way to solve that problem.".
Nadeau says if people really are buying hydroponic equipment to grow fruits and vegetables, then they won't mind going on record, and stores that cater to that type of gardener will have nothing to worry about.