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Charity home dropped over pot

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TORONTO—An Ontario hospital foundation pulled a Toronto-area home from its annual lottery prize offerings this week after realizing it backed onto a residence where legally-grown marijuana sent out an “an intrusive odour.”

But police in the community say there’s little they can do about such situations.

The incident involving the Markham, Ont. home meant to be a prize in the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation’s 2016 home lottery has highlighted the issue some neighbourhoods face with residences that hold Health Canada licences to grow marijuana for personal use.

“The growing of a large number of plants in the house has resulted in an intrusive odour in the neighbourhood,” the foundation said in a statement, noting it would replace the house with a cash prize worth just over $1.3 million.

Health Canada stopped issuing licences for patients to grow their own pot in 2014 in an effort to shift marijuana production to commercial producers.

Under an old system, patients had the option of growing their own marijuana, designating someone else to grow it for them, or ordering the drug directly from Health Canada.

Under new rules, the production of medical marijuana by individuals is now illegal, with the only legal source being a licensed producer.

As the change was coming into effect, however, several B.C. residents went to the Federal Court asking for an injunction that would allow them to continue producing their own pot, or have a designated person do so for them, until a constitutional challenge of Health Canada’s new rules could be heard.

The court granted the injunction in March, 2014, meaning the old program stays alive for those who already hold licences until a final decision in the case is handed down.

As a result, if a home-owner is operating within the terms of the now grandfathered marijuana licences, there’s little police can do to stop them and the smell their marijuana plants give off, York Region police said.

“We aren’t notified of where those licences are given, we just don’t know where they are,” Cst. Andy Pattenden explained.

“We go and investigate those complaints,” he added.

“[But] if they have a licence and they’re operating within the guidelines of the licence, then there’s nothing we can really do.”

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