Kelowna's top cop slams marijuana sentencing
By Barry McDivitt, CHBC News
Kelowna's top cop wants the courts to get tougher on marijuana growing operations. Supt. Bill McKinnon thinks judges are too lenient when passing sentence on pot growers.
He researched the recent cases of 130 local people accused of cultivating marijuana. McKinnon says only 10 went to jail and that the average sentence was just nine months.
"We would certainly look for more of a consequence," says McKinnon. "This is a multi-million dollar business. The average person running a grow op out of a house could conceivably earn three to four million dollars."
The superintendent was careful not to criticize local judges when he met with reporters Monday.
He said that if Okanagan judges handed out tougher sentences for marijuana cultivation they would probably be overturned by the BC Appeal Court.
McKinnon describes himself as 'frustrated' by light sentences.
He says there are eight to 10 organized crime groups in the Kelowna area that are involved in commercial marijuana grow ops, as well as many mom and pop operations.
The superintendent says there are so many grow ops in the city that if police had more resources they could probably take at least one down every day.
McKinnon believes the only way to get the problem under control is for the courts to impose tougher jail sentences.
He also believes the courts should routinely order the confiscation of houses that are used for grow ops.