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Cannabis Cultivation in Canada. Serge Brochu, Ph.D Valérie Beauregard, Doctorate Student. Cannabis cultivation in Canada. 1923/1938. Illicit drug use prevalence (12 months ) in Canada from 1989 to 2004. (Enquête sur les toxicomanies au Canada, 2004). Genetic modifications.

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cannabis cultivation in canada

Cannabis Cultivationin Canada

Serge Brochu, Ph.D

Valérie Beauregard, Doctorate Student

illicit drug use prevalence 12 months in canada from 1989 to 2004
Illicitdrug use prevalence (12 months) in Canada from 1989 to 2004

(Enquête sur les toxicomanies au Canada, 2004)

genetic modifications
Genetic modifications

Marijuana plants, hidden in a field of pumpkin

Leafs transformation

Source: Chartrand, Sûreté du Québec, 2007

new process and equipment
New process and equipment

Vertical hydroponic greenhouse

Rotating garden

with central light

Source: Chartrand, Sûreté du Québec, 2007

indoor outdoor production
Indoors production is rising

Large number of private households

24X fire hazard

Electricity stolen: 2 781$ (Plecas et al., 2002)

Link between organized crime and real estate:

Some individuals known for their criminal involvement started an official career as realtors

The presence of hydroponics shops is vital to indoors culture

Link between criminal organizations and hydroponics culture

Some individuals involved in criminal networks become legal facilitators: they provide an easy access to the necessary equipment and give information on its proper use

Indoor/outdoor production

Types of plantation

Quebec, 2004

Source: Chartrand, Sûreté du Québec, 2007


Cannabis producers: good customers for the hydroponics market

Hydroponics shops

Cannabis production cases

Large Increase

No increase of production

in the food industry???

Does not necessarily

incriminate retailers

93 new shops

  • Bouchard & Dion (2007)
indoors production
More sophisticated regardless of the type of producers

Large networks

Small producers


Year-long production

High quality product (higher THC content)

Higher yield per plant (Bouchard & Dion, 2007)

Hidden from police forces and thefts (Department of Public Safety, 2004)

Indoors production

Source: Chartrand, Sûreté du Québec, 2007

production importation in canada
Production / Importation in Canada

The Canadian market is mainly supplied by locally grown cannabis

2003: 95 % of cannabis seized in Canada was of domestic origins (RCMP, 2004)

The annual production of cannabis ranges from 960 to 2 400 tons

Produced mainly in


British Columbia

Ontario(Department of Public Safety, 2004)

A fraction of the market comes from the outside

2000 – 2003: Canada seized 7.8 metric tons

16 % of this quantity came through or from the United States

2000-2003: American and foreign authorities seized 4.3 metric tons destined to Canada

30% came through or from the United States

Source: Department of Public Safety, 2004

british columbia 1997 2003
British Columbia 1997 - 2003

Souce: Plecas, Malm and Kinney, 2005

  • Average number of plants per grow:
    • 1997: 149
    • 2003: 236
  • Average harvest per marihuana grow:
    • 1997: 2.4 kilos
    • 2003: 7.2 kilos
  • 1/5 grow operations = theft of electricity.
    • more than $3,200,000 from BC Hydro in 2003.
exportation canada united states
Exportation Canada / United States

Majority of marijuana found in the United States:



Canada is becoming more and more an important source of supplies for the United States

2001 : 4 metric tons

2002 : 12.2 metric tons

2003 : 15.8 metric tons

Seized at US borders

(Department of Public Safety,2004)

30-70% of the Canadian production is thought to be exported to the United States

Cannabis is mainly exported in the form of cuttings, and is generally more potent than other forms of marijuana

exportation canada united states14
Exportation Canada / United States

Involvement in mass

production of cannabis

Majority of Canadian



  • Mainly bikers gangs

Asian organized crime

  • Introduced in Canada

Local/American market

(Chartrand, SQ, 2007; RCMP, 2005)

british columbia 1997 2003 organized crime groups
British Columbia 1997 – 2003Organized crime groups
  • Co-exist peaceably
    • acts of violence have increased with the expansion of the marihuana trade
  • Example - Richmond B.C
    • 3 ½ months - 10 home invasions in housed marihuana grow operations
    • For the most part - related to failed drug transactions and/or money owed, as opposed to perceived areas of “turf.”

Source: RCMP, 2005

money laundering and marihuana
Money Laundering and marihuana
  • The cross-border movement of marihuana to the U.S.
    • Abundance of U.S. currency in Canada
    • Currency exchange businesses wittingly or unwittingly convert these proceeds into Canadian funds.
    • Currency exchange is also conducted in a black market environment.
    • Several remittance offices specialize in laundering marihuana proceeds.
    • Marihuana traffickers also resort to traditional means of laundering such as casinos, monetary instrument purchases or electronic funds transfers on the international market

Souce: RCMP, 2005


-- Canada’s pot policy under fire from U.S --

Globe and mail (Toronto), September 13, 2002

"The problem today is that Canadian production of high-potency marijuana in British Columbia is a major source of marijuana [in the United States] . . . and it's spreading."

facts on thc content canada
Facts on THC contentCanada

Headlines news:

Canadian marijuana = superior quality

Average THC content: 20 % and more


Average THC content:

2001: 8.7 %

2002: 8.3 %

2003: 9.6 %

Highest content: 30% - 2000

THC ≥ 20%: 0.5% (15 000 samples)

Canada can produce very high-potency cannabis, but it is not the norm

Source: Department of Public Safety, 2004


-- Decriminalization will cause border delays, hurt economy, Alliance critic says: Tighter border security

National Post, Monday, December 16, 2002

" […] the United States is already alarmed that 95% of the marijuana grown in British Columbia is sent south of the border. The growers are largely Vietnamese organized crime groups who have moved into Ontario and Quebec to supply the U.S. market with high-potency and high-quality marijuana "


-- U.S Frets Canada May Ease Marijuana Law --

New York Times, December 12, 2002

" Liberalizing laws will boost drug use and bring more pot into the United States, said John Walters, director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy. Canada is already a major source of marijuana for the United States, with an estimated $2.5 billion worth smuggled in each year, Walters said Thursday. "

law regulating drugs and other substances cultivation
Law regulating drugs and other substances: cultivation

Canadian Criminal Code.

Criminal offence liable to a maximum jail sentence of 7 years

New bill:

500 seedlings or more = Minimal jail sentence of 2 years

actions against cannabis production in canada
Actions against cannabis production in Canada

Since 1989: The RCMP and the Ministry of National Defence repress outdoors production of cannabis during growth season

The RCMP benefits from the aerial support of the Canadian Air Force to locate cannabis seedlings in fields

RCMP seizures:

2000 : 1 102 198 seedlings

2001: 1 367 321 seedlings

2002: 1 275 738 seedlings

2003: 1 400 026 seedlings

Growing preoccupation toward indoors production, sophisticated installations, and control by criminal organizations

Source: RCMP, 2005)

actions against cannabis production in canada23
Actions against cannabis production in Canada
  • Anonymous public complaints rather than proactive repression
    • Landlords
    • Neighbours
    • Hydro electricity services
  • High volume of cannabis cultivation = reduced police capacity to respond to complaints

Source: Plecas et al., 2002