Contributed/Kash HeedA file photo of Kash Heed from his days as police chief in West Vancouver.

The man responsible for shutting down hundreds of marijuana grow-ops in Vancouver and arresting record numbers of people in the city’s drug trade is now a security consultant for the burgeoning medical marijuana production industry.

Kash Heed, the former West Vancouver police chief, former commanding officer of the Vancouver police drug squad and former B.C. MLA and solicitor general, is working with a few Ontario and Lower Mainland companies as they vie to become licensed medical marijuana producers under the new federal regime, which kicked in April 1.

He’s advising the legal grow-ops on how to keep organized crime out.

“My job is to make sure the people that come forward to these companies with a considerable amount of money, that the money’s clean,” Heed said in an interview. “It’s all around having an organization that cannot be infiltrated by organized crime, it’s all the aspects of ensuring the integrity of the organization.”

Heed’s clients cover his expenses, but he’s not making money from his new role.

“I’m not in it to make a quick dollar, I’m in it to change policy in Canada.”

Heed, who has advocated for ending marijuana prohibition since 2001, supports the new federal rules as a step to legalization.

“This is just one step to controlling the industry, removing organized crime from the industry, and getting ready for a legal framework for recreational adult use,” he said.

He “strongly believes” such a system will be in place in Canada within five years, regardless of who’s in power in Ottawa, due to legalization in places such as Colorado, Washington and Uruguay.

“The taxation dollars that are going to be generated from this industry, governments cannot turn a blind eye to it.”

Heed’s views on legalization stem from his decades as a police officer.

“We had all these record breaking arrests and were taking millions and millions of dollars of supply off the streets, and we weren’t making any difference at all,” he said. “What we started to see was more violence, consumption was up and supply was the same.”

Heed’s goal is to advocate for the industry and ensure its integrity is strong so municipalities, citizens and investors can be confident the legal market is responsible. He also wants to ensure the government gets the appropriate tax dollars as it moves towards a legal, commercialized market.

In his new role, he has met with officials from Uruguay, which legalized recreational marijuana use last week.

 Article source Metro News


‘Kashing’ in on cannabis: Ex-B.C. cop to consult on legal marijuana grow-ops

By   Global News

WATCH (above): Washington State will soon hand out licences for legal marijuana shops. Jas Johal has the details.

Kash has gone to the kush.

Former B.C. solicitor general and police chief Kash Heed has gone from busting grow-ops to consulting on the legal medical marijuana industry.

Heed announced Friday his plans to advise B.C. and Ontario companies on how to keep their legal grow-ops secure from organized crime.

Although it’s a shift from his previous work shutting down grow-ops and heading up Vancouver’s drug squad, Heed says his past experience will help him in his new gig.

“[My goal is] to move that knowledge, combine it with what is needed to control the industry here in Canada under the new MMPR regulations, and to remove them from our neighbourhoods, put them into a responsible business, get organized crime out of this particular business,” he said.

Heed said he has been advocating for changes to the way marijuana is policed for 13 years.

“Marijuana prohibition has not been working… no matter how much we put towards enforcing marijuana, we’re not making any difference. The supply remains the same, the demand remains the same,” he said.

“It’s all about removing it from the illicit market, moving it towards a responsible corporate business here in Canada and that’s my goal is to ensure that that does take place,” he said.

Heed said he supports legalizing marijuana and believes that changing the laws will lead to a decrease in violent crime and keep it away from children.

“A lot of people are looking at this as a favourable response, especially when you look at what is happening outside of our borders… in Washington state, in Colorado.

After Washington State legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2102, more than a dozen businesses have reportedly applied to open pot stores in the state.

British Columbians may be able to purchase the drug as near as Blaine, Washington, which is just a 45 minute drive from Vancouver.

 Article source Global News



Port pot farm on international radar

By Greg Furminger, The Tribune

Interest in operating procedures of the Muileboom Organics medicinal marijuana-producing operation in Port Colborne is growing beyond national borders, says communications director Steve McNeill. (GREG FURMINGER/Tribune Staff)

Interest in operating procedures of the Muileboom Organics medicinal marijuana-producing operation in Port Colborne is growing beyond national borders, says communications director Steve McNeill. (GREG FURMINGER/Tribune Staff)

A Port Colborne organics farm hoping to secure one of Canada’s first commercial licences to grow medical marijuana is garnering attention from well beyond Niagara.

On Thursday morning a couple of officials from Uruguay, including a colonel, were joined by Canadian connections to tour the Muileboom Organics operation on Pinecrest Rd. on Port Colborne’s rural east side.

The farm’s communications director, Steve McNeill, said interest has also been shown from areas in the U.S. via phone calls.

“We’re pretty proud that Muileboom and Port Colborne is starting to get this international attention,” he said.

“It starts to snowball because people start to hear about how we do things.

“Our business plan is becoming a model for others.”

He said the Uruguay visit was arranged through its established contacts in Toronto and follows upon that country’s decision last December to legalize marijuana — including for recreational use — in hopes of killing off the illegal drug trade through legitimate production and reduced pricing.

Visitors, including politicians from local municipalities, want to know such things as how the operation works and how it’s kept secure. McNeil noted lead security consultant is Kash Heed, a former solicitor general for the British Columbia government and a former West Vancouver police chief.

All employees and board members have been fingerprinted and run through a security check by the RCMP. Among them is Dr. Paul Rothbart, of the Rothbart Centre for Pain Care in Toronto, and former prime minister John Turner — once a justice minister.

“With Turner on board, it gives us national and international attention,” company president and board chairman Marc Kealey, a former CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association, said of the interest generated by the Muileboom farm.

After Thursday’s tour he checked his e-mail and found queries from three other groups: one each from eastern and southwestern Ontario communities and one from a physicians group east of Oshawa.

Kealey said sharing details of how Muileboom works — operations, security, quality control, dispensing — is an “opportunity to expand proficiency” in producing medical marijuana, adding the Port Colborne operation “could be a showpiece for the entire world.”

Neighbours would argue with that — and have done so on several occasions to municipalities over fears of crime and skunky odours.

As people start thinking more about images of sick children and suffering adults, and less about the drug subculture, then that’s when things “will start to turn around,” McNeill said.

He shared that the facility surrounded by chain-link fence has 64 motion-activated security cameras and a walk-in bank vault with biometrics. The greenhouse operation is currently producing 680 plants.

For a growth industry so new, McNeill said there have been difficulties disassociating the farm with the illicit drug trade and Hells Angels.

“We see this as a very important health-care industry. What we’re doing is going to improve the quality of life for so many people,” he said. “We’re not the bad guy.”

The farm once revered for its organically grown tomatoes is treated strictly like a regular laboratory, where employees do wear white lab coats and protective gear. A quality assurance expert with degrees in biology and horticulture is part of the now eight-member workforce which is working to develop differing strains of marijuana for varying strengths of THC — the ingredient that makes people high — and cannabinoids, which cause no buzz but which are suitable for children and to control seizures.

McNeil said as research progresses, the aim is to drive down costs of medicinal marijuana to about $4 to $6 a gram — whereas on the street it fetches about $10 to $15. The four people now served by Muileboom — which is licensed to supply individuals — pay out of pocket for a drug still classified as an illegal narcotic

Supplies are shipped in maximum 30-gram doses via courier. A doctor’s prescription is faxed in to have an order filled.

“No one buys here,” he said.

Since 2001 when the ministry first issued licences to grow for individuals, there were fewer than 100 approved users, McNeill said. There are now 38,000 licence holders in Ontario, a number McNeill said is expected to grow to 450,000 by 2024.

Kealey said as the company awaits a Health Canada inspection related to the next stage of its development, several charcoal filters have been purchased to eliminate odours, those produced during the bud stage of plants.

Article source Fort Erie Times