Surrey Fire Chief renews call for home-grow ban as Senate green-lights pot

File footage of a marijuana grow-op. Global News

Surrey’s Fire Chief says he likes one potential change put forward as Canada’s Senate voted Thursday to approve legislation legalizing recreational marijuana.

The Senate bill contained some four dozen amendments, and will need to return to the the House of Commons, where MPs will consider the changes, before it can become law.

Most of the Senate’s amendments are minor but several are significant.

One amendment would allow provinces to prohibit home cultivation of marijuana if they choose, rather than accept the four marijuana plants per dwelling allowed under the original bill.

Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis says growing pot plants in homes is unsafe.

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“I think we’re going back to the early 2000’s when marijuana was growing in our neighborhoods and it was quite prolific and it was very dangerous,” he said.

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Deadly fire raises safety questions about marijuana grow-ops

He added that a recent deadly fire at a legal growing facility in Surrey should serve as a case in point.

“It was a licensed grow op, but it was not inspected,” he said.

“The basement of the home was fortified, and because of that two individuals were trapped, they didn’t have the ability to exit and they perished in that fire.”

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Garis also said the four plant rule could be abused if owners aren’t being inspected, with unscrupulous growers scaling up to 40 or even 400 plants.

He added that growing pot indoors requires high levels of humidity, which can contribute to the growth of mould and mildew, while potentially attracting pests and predators.

The BC Fire Chiefs Association has passed a resolution asking the government to prohibit the growing of pot in homes for personal use.

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