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Updated: 8th January 2019 20:36

Calgary officials have legal grow-op concerns

Calgary police, bylaw officers and other city officials have voiced their concern with the process surrounding the regulation of licensed grow-ops.

Calgary police, bylaw officers and other city officials have voiced their concern with the process surrounding the regulation of licensed grow-ops.

The city shut down a Health Canada licensed medical marijuana operation at a southeast Calgary home on Wednesday.

This southeast Calgary home, which housed a federally-approved medical marijuana grow op, was boarded up after it was shut down by the city for safety violations. (Tara Weber/CBC)

They found numerous safety violations, including contaminated drinking water, toxic chemicals and improper air intake.

Health Canada is in charge of licensing the operations and making sure they comply with regulations, but because of privacy concerns it does not tell local police where the grow-ops are — unless that information is specifically requested.

Instead, Health Canada has 15 inspectors that keep track of more than 4,800 operations nationwide.

That works out to one inspector for every 325 grow-ops, and Health Canada won’t say how often legal grow-ops are checked on.

Health Canada also won't comment on investigative techniques, saying that it "uses a risk-based inspection program to assign duties to (those) 15 inspectors."

Sam Mellace, who runs Canada's biggest medical marijuana grow-op, has a licence to grow marijuana in B.C. and says he's seen many unsafe operations.

"In my opinion, Health Canada is to blame for the simple fact that they do not send regulators out to check to make sure that the fire and safety codes are being met," he said.

According to Health Canada’s website, there are more than 300 licensed medical marijuana growers in Alberta.

With files from Meghan Grant, CBC Calgary

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