Grow op free Alberta

"We need to find reasonable solutions. There is a real concern that these properties will be orphaned and create a blight on communities."
- Government of Alberta online survey respondent

Marijuana grow operations (MGOs) affect the safety of our communities. Even after grow-ops are shut down, they continue to pose significant dangers to the health and safety of Albertans, their property, and the neighbourhoods in which they operate.

The issues associated with grow ops are complex. Some municipalities and provincial governing bodies have identified protocols to address the remediation of grow op properties; however, there is currently no systematic, coordinated approach to address the issues related to marijuana grow operations at the provincial level.

What Was Heard

The Government of Alberta hosted stakeholder consultations across the province between February and May 2013.

Comments, challenges and possible solutions offered by stakeholders over the four months have been summarized in a What Was Heard report. The report will inform a final recommendations report for government to address the issues caused by marijuana grow ops that will be posted here in the fall.

Learn more about the stakeholder consultations >>

Grow ops in Alberta
How to spot a grow op. Keep your neighbourhood safe.
Dangers to the community
Stakeholder Consultations
Who to contact

Grow ops in Alberta

No community is immune to marijuana grow operations. They can be found in virtually any community – rural or urban – and are known to operate in a variety of structures, such as apartments, small bungalows, large homes or commercial buildings.

From the outside, the home may appear normal, but the significant structural, electrical, water and heating system modifications severely damage the integrity of the structure. Modifications do not meet building codes and are unsafe for residents and the neighbourhood as a whole.

The numbers
Between 2007 and 2011 there were 662 confirmed grow operations in Edmonton and Calgary and between 2010 and 2011 there were an additional 131 confirmed grow ops in rural Alberta.

See the numbers in Edmonton Download Adobe Acrobat Reader
See the numbers in Calgary Download Adobe Acrobat Reader
See the numbers in Rural Alberta Download Adobe Acrobat Reader
Maps courtesy of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT This link opens in a new window)

How to spot a grow op. Keep your neighbourhood safe.

How to identify a grow op - this link opens in a new window.

Dangers to the community

The increase in marijuana grow ops in Alberta raises concerns about the health and safety of those living in or near a former grow op. Properties may seem normal, but the heating, electricity and water systems have been modified. This compromises the structural and mechanical integrity of the building, and poses hazards from mould and chemical residue, electrical and fire risks, booby traps and criminal activity. Former grow operations also pose significant remediation costs for home owners, who may unknowingly purchase a former grow operation.

Learn more about the impacts of grow operations >>

Stakeholder consultations

Public consultations began in February 2013 and ended May 28th, 2013.

The stakeholder consultations on marijuana grow operations were led by Associate Minister of Regional Recovery and Reconstruction for High River, Rick Fraser, with the support of a panel of experts providing advice on the various issues associated with marijuana grow ops.

Stakeholder consultation meetings included a broad range of community and ministry groups including: police agencies, municipalities, fire officials, health, safety and building investigators, utilities, mortgage and real estate companies and other organizations.

The consultations focused on issues relating to safety and health, remediation, cost recovery, electricity theft and privacy as they relate to marijuana grow operations. These issues are within provincial jurisdiction. Legalizing grow ops and other issues that fall under the Criminal Code of Canadaare outside the scope of these provincial consultations.

The information gathered from public, community, and ministry consultations have been summarized in a What Was Heard report. This report will form the basis of a final recommendations report for government to address the issues caused by marijuana grow ops. The recommendations report will be posted to this site in the fall.

Who to contact

If you suspect a marijuana grow operation in your community, call your local police or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.