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Canadian Police Target Grow-Op Equipment Sellers
March 28, 2005

Cracking down on marijuana grow operations, Canadian officials are putting the spotlight on makers and sellers of special lights and other equipment used to grow plants indoors, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported March 26. Toronto police are probing suspected links between marijuana growers and firms like the Toronto Hemp Company, which sells legal equipment like Sunmaster grow-light kits and Can-Fram charcoal filters, which remove odors from indoor spaces.

"You know where they [marijuana growers] are getting the stuff from -- it's all hydroponic stores," says Don Cardwell, a regional drug detective. "It's something we have to consider: Cut the supplier off."

Some equipment suppliers, like Homegrown Hydroponics, advertise during a local radio station's weekly psychedelic-music show. On the other hand, companies like Home Depot have systems in place to track purchases of hydroponics equipment and pledge to work with investigators when necessary.

In 2002, an investigation in the Toronto area found that some equipment sellers also were peddling marijuana plants and information on how to grow pot. Yet sentences in that case turned out to be mild, and the company at the center of the probe, All Seasons Hydroponics in Mississauga, remains open for business.

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