August 2, 2018 8:32 am
Updated: August 2, 2018 12:27 pm

B.C. fire chiefs push for ban on homegrown pot as legalization looms

WATCH: B.C. unveils legal marijuana sales plans

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The Fire Chiefs’ Association of British Columbia says it won’t give up on a ban restricting the personal production of cannabis in residential buildings.

Association president Phil Lemire says there’s no reason marijuana should be grown in any residential building, with cannabis soon to be legally sold in retail stores.

He argued that growing pot at home remains dangerous, pointing to a fatal fire a few months ago in a licensed medical grow op at a Surrey residence.

“The legalization is there, it’s a matter of those that take it beyond what’s legal and how they do it,” Lemire said.

“That’s where it becomes a concern, and yes, that incident in Surrey is a prime example of that.”

WATCH: Deadly fire raises safety questions about marijuana grow-ops


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Fire officials have warned about the potential for electrical hazards or unsafe modifications to properties made with an eye to growing pot.

READ MORE: Two killed in fire at Surrey home growing legal medical marijuana

Lemire added that under the proposed regime, local governments are extremely limited in terms of how they can check on whether people are complying with regulations.

“The home production piece is fairly hard to have any added layers there, because there isn’t that ability to do the inspection side,” he said.

“At this point it’s hoping for a level of compliance and keeping the safety systems that are in place and not doing alternations to that in any way, shape or form.”

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Lemire says at the very least, legal medical marijuana operations and personal grow operations should be monitored.

Under Canada’s legislation to legalize recreational marijuana, people are allowed to grow four plants at home.

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

But critics like Surrey fire chief Len Garis have warned that it will be difficult for municipalities to know whether someone is growing four plants or 40.

Garis has also warned that homegrown pot can create problems such as humidity, which encourages the growth of mould and mildew.

Realtors have also raised concerns about homegrown cannabis.

Both the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) and Fraser Valley Real Estate Association (FVREA) have raised concerns similar to those of Garis’ regarding mould and damage to properties.

Realtors have called for a provincial registry of homes used to grow pot or produce other drugs, along with clear guidelines on how to remediate such properties to ensure they are safe.

B.C.’s own legal pot framework does allow landlords to bar tenants from growing cannabis in their rental units.

Recreational cannabis will be legalized on Oct. 17.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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