OPP seize $143 million in cannabis through harvest season

ONTARIO – Members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have seized more than 122,000 illegal cannabis plants across Ontario since the beginning of July.

OPP Regional Community Street Crime Units (CSCU), along with members of the OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB), Emergency Response Team (ERT) and Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU) have seized more than $143 million in cannabis and 195 arrests have been made in the takedown of several criminal enterprises exploiting the Health Canada medical, personal and designate cannabis production regime.

“Organized crime is firmly entrenched in the production, distribution and sale of illegal cannabis,” OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, Provincial Joint Forces Cannabis Enforcement Team detective inspector Jim Walker released in a statement today (Oct. 22). “These criminals continue to exploit the Health Canada medical cannabis personal and designate production regime by diverting the cannabis to the illegal market. From concerns regarding public safety and environmental contamination, to human trafficking, the impacts that these large-scale criminal cannabis production sites have on our communities cannot be understated.”

The targets were involved with large-scale, sophisticated illegal cannabis production, sale and distribution operations. These criminal enterprises exploit Health Canada registrations to produce or designate someone to produce cannabis for medical purposes by diverting cannabis authorized to be grown for medical purposes to the illegal market.

From July 1 to Oct. 15, investigators executed 52 warrants across Ontario and laid 327 federal Cannabis Act and Criminal Code charges from Possession of Cannabis for the Purposes of Selling to Careless Storage of a Firearm. The OPP seized over 122,000 cannabis plants from 52 large-volume illegal operations – 7,000 plants from one site alone. 

The Provincial Joint Forces Cannabis Enforcement Teams (PJFCET), responsible for enforcing the cannabis laws and investigating criminal enterprises that exploit or abuse the legal cannabis market, provided support in some of the investigations.