Volume 95, Issue 22
Thursday, October 11, 2001
Dope heads dig for drags in dump
"It was like a big party"
By Jill Shaw
Orillia's city dump became the local hot spot last week when citizens dug through sludge and refuse to retrieve marijuana dumped there by local police following a raid south of the town.
According to Constable Kim Ticknor, of the Orillia detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police, between 20,000 and 30,000 plants were seized Sept. 25 from Gamebridge, south of Orillia, while 40 U-Haul truckloads filled with plants were dropped off in the local landfill Thursday.
"The plants were crushed with hospital waste on top. It was mixed together," Ticknor said, adding the decision was made to dump the plants instead of incinerating them because disposal needed to be efficient. "The regulations from [Health] Canada state the most expedient methods possible should be used," Ticknor said.
Ron McInnes, owner of the Pot Shop in Orillia, said a party atmosphere surrounded the landfill site in the days following the dumping.
"The first night there were about 10 vehicles with 35 people who worked together. Some people brought beer, it was a big party to all. The second night I guess some people told other people and about 100 people came." McInnes said the harvest continued for about three nights before police arrived at the dump and put an end to festivities.
"People came away with 10 to 100 pounds each," McInnes said.
Ticknor said the party ended after six men, four from Orillia and two from Toronto, were arrested Sunday night and charged with theft, possession of marijuana for the purposes of trafficking and breaking and entering.
Ticknor said he didn't expect the ramifications of marijuana from the landfill being re-sold on the streets to be too significant. "The quantity taken was very minute."
But, he added, the methods of disposing of marijuana plants in the future "will be re-addressed."
According to Pete Young, proprietor of The Organic Traveller in London, the quality of cannabis obtained by such methods is questionable.
"If it was freshly cut down and then put in a stagnant area, it would be moldy," Young said. After three days of being in the landfill, the marijuana could still be good if exposed to air circulation, he added.
"The hospital waste couldn't contaminate it," Young added. He also said it's likely no more plants would grow unless seeds fell from the plants during transportation and were ground into the earth.
Despite the police crackdown on the dump, McInnes said it was a positive experience for Orillia. "It should pump up the local economy," he said.
with files from Joel Brown
Copyright © The Gazette 2001