I have begun to believe my mind is full of tiny little topics that act like pimples.

No one can predict the order they start to fester in, or when they’ll get ripe and burst.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

An Open Letter of Complaint to Surrey’s Mayor and Council

I Have a Bone to Pick With Surrey
They Finally Crossed the Line
Ever since I discovered Surrey’s blockade of Medical Marijuana I have been sitting and stewing in my own juice. I have had to listen to Fire Chief Len Garis on his bully pulpit preaching against the growing of Marijuana as a threat to the Community and nobody has ever stood up and cried “BULLSHIT”. I tried to take a positive step towards preventing the damage they are bringing on Surrey and I got a slap in the face and ordered to stay off City Property with my clipboard.
Go Figure?
No one else is doing it so I decided to ask why they are swallowing

I just sent them this:

Attn: Mayor and Council

Re: Surrey Policy regarding Marijuana Growth and the SensibleBC Referendum

Greetings Mayor Watts and Council:

1.    My name is Blaine Barrett and I am a Medical Marijuana advocate and Licensee.
2.    I have lived in Surrey the past 22 years but if I was not married and anchored I would have left in disgust 5 years ago.
3.    I injured my back in 1999 and I still have a problem with pain flare ups and depression. Neurologically and Psychologically Marijuana allows me to function almost normally.
4.    It took me 7 years but I was finally able to find a doctor to sign my application and received my MMAD License in 2009. I am a Senior Citizen on fixed income and knowing Surrey had By-laws regarding grow-ops I decided to grow my own. My 2 gram per day dosage was small and would only require 10 plants. I have a large spare bathroom to create a grow-op so I decided to apply for a License.
5.    This City Council, where I chose to live, became my enemy when I discovered the complete impossibility of meeting any requirements to obtain a legal license to grow my own supply of marijuana for medication.
6.    Since the creation of the Medical Marihuana Access Regulations the City of Surrey, based largely on the advice of Fire Chief Len Garis has developed a set of prohibitive by-law requirements that stand as a model for the rest of Canadian Municipalities in effectively blocking any legal growth of Medical Marijuana
7.    Over the past decade Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis has been a tireless opponent of Grow-ops. He has established himself and the City as the leading opponents of Medical Marijuana Growth by creating a Bylaw structure that is impossible to meet except by a major corporation with unlimited finance.
8.    I wanted to grow perhaps 15 plants in a large closet and do it safely. I know how.
9.    In order to do so I must complete an application form requiring detailed planning beyond any individual’s ability. Even if I manage to complete the application it has to be accompanied by an initial Inspection fee of $3920. As a comparison my current 2 grams per day allowance will cost me $3780 dollars per year from Health Canada and next April will probably double in price. I will wind up paying $8-$10/gram or grow it for less than $2/gram. With inspection and supervision it can grown safely. I want to!
10.                       I am confident Council thinks there is a good basis of facts justifying the City’s opposition but reality is the whole structure is based on Chief Garis’s carefully crafted distortion of the risks involved with legal grow-ops and you have all been misled. He has established a reputation as the leading Canadian expert on home grow hazards and he’s using our By-law as a model to emulate and its all a pack of lies.
11.                       Chief Garis has spent the last ten years trumpeting the horrible consequences of permitting grow-ops: Fire Hazards, Safety hazards, toxic chemicals, home invasion, and danger to children, mold, and criminal involvement. Over and over he has pounded his allegations that all of these are related and inevitable with the cultivation of marijuana and that is a carefully and calculated lie and distortion of fact.
12.                       The risks that are constantly regurgitated by Chief Garis are the source of the New Health Canada Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations justification for establishing a no grow-op policy as a risk reduction measure. Chief Garis may have encountered all of the risks in his experience with Illicit Drugs and illegal criminal grow-ops but none of them are relevant to the growth of marijuana. The fact is that every one of them is ridiculous when applied to a legally licensed and monitored Grow-op. When someone applies for a license, check out the location and supervise the construction: then inspect it! If it’s not safe don’t license it. Simple common sense but Chief Garis can’t understand that.
13.                       There has been no attempt made by the City to keep up to date with advances in grow technology and reality is that there are grow tents and other facilities that separate the growth area from all its its surrounding environment and any possible interaction with the room surrounding is impossible except when opened for service. There are no hazards.
14.                       If the above dangers are real and are to be avoided there is nothing pro-active in Surrey policy to prevent them. As soon as the MMPR is implemented there is going to be a massive demand for affordable marijuana and there will be none: Not legal, not from the street. If you need your medication you have to grow it and when that day happens, Surrey is going to become deluged with small illegal grow- ops. There is no alternative.
15.                       The by-laws as they now stand are an impassable roadblock to any legal growth. The alternative of applying to the City for help in creating a safe grow-op has been eliminated. There is no access to guidance as to how to create a legal grow environment with none of the hazards to grow our medication. That option is not available and won’t be unless you make a crack in the wall. Nobody else can. Thanks to Chief Garis lead by creating this blockage you have now exposed every citizen of Surrey to far more serious hazard than the loss of property:
1. Arrest,
2. a Criminal Record,
3. a mandatory prison sentence, and
4. a ruined future life with lost opportunity.
16.                       Last week I set out and tried to prevent that happening. I recently received my Certification from Elections Canada as a Canvasser for the SensibleBC Referendum to Decriminalize Marijuana and I needed a site to do so and the Guildford Community Centre seemed a suitable place with a reasonable flow of traffic. I enquired and was told to contact City Hall for permission..
17.                       At the beginning of last week I contacted City Hall and asked if I could set up a small site at the Guildford Recreation Center to get signatures for the SensibleBC Referendum on Marijuana Decriminalization. My request was turned down on the grounds Surrey “does not allow solicitation on City Property” End of that! This did not compute.
18.                       The next morning I called again and protested: I advised the Manager I spoke to that a Referendum is not a Solicitation or signing of a petition: It is the exercise of a right to vote for a change in law. I was informed that was immaterial and there was no way that I could legally walk onto City Properly and ask for a signature.
19.                       I am here to protest that Surrey City Policy has trumped my rights as a Citizen of this Country, this Province, and of Surrey.
20.                        All Surrey citizens have the right to be informed of where the nearest voting location for the Referendum is, and I, as a Surrey citizen, have the right to inform him of that. I am a Registered Canvasser for SensibleBC, carrying Elections Canada Forms for signature. The SensibleBC program has had problems because people don’t know where to go to sign the Referendum. I am now forbidden to walk into a “public” space, contact a potential voter, identify myself and explain that if that person is interested in signing the Referendum and would like to know where to go to sign, he just found it.
21.                        Wake up. This Referendum has no connection to Marijuana (Medical or otherwise) and its growth, but “Decriminalization” of Marijuana is to prevent prosecution for possession under the Criminal Code of Canada. Our fearless leader, Stevie the Stupid seems determined to ram his omnibus bill, (including mandatory prison sentences for growers of more than six plants), and the new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations through Parliament in April, If he succeeds, and it seems inevitable, we all have a problem but the main concern to me is for parents in the community The primary threat is to any teenager who against parental advice gets caught with any amount of marijuana in their possession. The fact is that every teen knows better than Dad at some point: errors in judgment are inevitable.
22.                       If both are passed, this Council, under the guidance of Chief Garis, will be guilty of placing every youth living in Surrey under threat of arrest, a Criminal Record, possible imprisonment, and a guaranteed loss of future opportunity as a consequence. THE MMPR is founded on the intentionally biased and distorted hazards presented by Surrey as your justification for installing by-laws to prevent personal growth. You bought Chief Garis bullshit and now you’re going to get bit back. Good on you.
23.                        In Conclusion there is one other matter that must be included. At the current moment: under Chief Garis lead Council is considering amendments to the Controlled Substance Property Bylaw that will require owners of residential properties containing medical marijuana grow-ops to remediate the facilities in order to protect future owners from health risks associated with growing the plant. There are none, it’s all lies.
24.                       The amendment is a paranoid premature money grab. There is no justification for Surrey to be able to enter my home to determine whether I am growing and hit me with an exorbitant inspection fee and if I am growing, post that information on file as a warning to any prospective buyer of my home to reduce their risk. Then you must report me to the same distorted justice to which you are going to expose your children: Arrest, a Criminal Record and possible imprisonment.
25.                       If protection of the future owner is the aim, simply make it mandatory that all premises be inspected if and when they are put up for sale. If I want to live in my home for the next twenty years until I die and never sell it. Why should I have to pay in advance? Any risk until my death is my risk. Do your punitive inspection then when I die. If there’s not enough bucks in my estate then burn the damned place, sell the property and give the proceeds to a charity I am quite prepared to name in my will if that option is open.
26.                       On a final note I am given to understand that Chief Garis has already bragged he has a hit list of 800 suspect properties to be inspected. If he has I want to know where he got that information. Given the rampant invasions of privacy that have plagued medical marijuana growers I suspect that Health Canada has already provided him with all the locations of licensed grow ops in Surrey. Every Licensee of the MMAR was given to believe that all their information was Top Secret in Health Canada files. I suspect that the Harper Government has reneged on that promise and every municipality in Canada has been provided with a hit list of Licensee’s holding production licenses.

In conclusion I only want answers to two questions:
1.    Why and where does Surrey get the authority to forbid me to canvass on city property?

2.    What is the source of Chief Garis 800 Suspect list?

Thank you for your time, attention and consideration
I look forward to your reply
Blaine Barrett

255 10202-149St.
Surrey BC V3R 3Z8
Phn: 604-585-0236