March 9, 2012, Winnipeg, MB – REALTORS ® threw their support behind the RCMP today as they launched a province-wide program to identify homes that have been used as marijuana growing operations before the homes come on the market for resale.
The purchase of a new home is an investment which is often the most significant financial commitment in a family’s life, and such an investment should not put a family’s personal or financial health at risk if they unwittingly buy a former grow op that has not been properly repaired, said Lorne Weiss past-president of the Manitoba Real Estate Association.
“REALTORS® are now required to disclose when a property has been a grow op. Former grow ops may have been patched up, but there may still be mould,” said Weiss, who spoke on behalf of REALTORS ® at a press conference held at the RCMP “D” Division Headquarters about the effects that grow operations have on homeowners.
In February police launched a five-week operation called Project District, ultimately seizing 3,300 marijuana plants. The project is part of the Marijuana Grow Initiative, the RCMP’s national strategy to combat grow ops and the organized crime groups running them in our communities.
Once a home has changed hands, the new owner may have difficulty getting home insurance and there is no standard for cleaning up and remediating grow op properties that are prone to developing mold in the walls and floors. “Grow ops represent a growing threat to the people who create them, live near them, and responders that get called out to them,” said Acting Fire Commissioner David Schafer.
“With the volatile mix of chemicals, lights, and unsafe electrical, structural and plumbing modifications, they become a significant risk to health and safety, and can destroy a perfectly good home.”
The RCMP began publishing former grow op houses in an initiative announced in September, which means properties seized as grow operations are published on the RCMP website, and the page also links to the websites of local police services in Ottawa, London and Winnipeg.
“We are very pleased the RCMP has started publishing former grow ops to protect consumers. Being able to identify these stigmatized properties is a first step in a much needed and important piece of consumer protection.” Weiss added.