Canadians Fined $5200 for Growing Veggies in Basement


In the Mission district of British Columbia, a controlled substances bylaw has led to fines for dozens of residents who were growing food and flowers.

The bylaw enabled the district to inspect homes where there were suspected marijuana grow operations. Because of the climate, however, many residents were using indoor grow setups to grow plants like cucumbers that don’t do well in the chillier northern temperatures. Fortunately, after receiving so many complaints about improper enforcement, Mission suspended the bylaw, but there are still residents who were billed thousands of dollars (before the bylaw’s suspension), even after inspections found no marijuana on site.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) is filing a class action lawsuit against the Mission district on behalf of citizens like Len Gratto and Stacy Gowanlock who were fined $5200 apiece for inspections under the bylaw. They were growing cucumbers, flowers, and other edibles in their basements. According to the Vancouver Sun:

Some residents hit with $5,200 fines feel they have had their reputations ruined. At least one has lost their home after the bank learned of the violation enforcement by Mission, [BCCLA policy director Micheal] Vonn said.

Unlike the case in Georgia, these fines aren’t related to how much they were growing. The bylaw allowed the district to inspect homes that were using more than an average amount of electricity, and the $5200 was an inspection fee. More from Vancouver Sun:

…the Mission bylaw is supposed to enforce safety inspections of homes and flows from the provincial Safety Standards Act, which allows hydro companies to disclose high users of electricity to municipalities.

“We’ve had long-standing concerns about the safety inspections themselves,” Vonn said. “It’s not about safety -it’s about looking for drug operations.”

These home gardeners didn’t break any laws, yet they’re facing fines in the thousands and seeing devaluation on their homes. The BCCLA filed a class action lawsuit against the Mission district last Wednesday on behalf of these gardeners.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by karenandbrademerson

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18 thoughts on “Canadians Fined $5200 for Growing Veggies in Basement”

  1. They’re not being fined for growing vegetables, they’re being charged for the expense of the inspection. It’s still ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as being fined for growing vegetables. I hope the courts reversed the fees.

    1. The government wants to inspect, the government carries the cost. They have a budget to do their work and they’re there to serve the people. The people have provided them with that budget.

      Imagine the police asking a fee for checking the speed we’re driving. It’s getting time for serious civil disobedience or worse, revolution. We may ask them a fee for hanging’em high.

      1. Don’t even suggest it!!! IN BC, they’ll think it’s a good idea and put it into practice.

        IF they’d bloody smarten up, legalise marijuana and appropriately tax it, BC would have soooo much more provincial income.

    1. Silly Girl! the government just confuses you with words.
      they say they collect TAX from your land.
      but substatute TAX for rent.. you get the same thing.
      you pay your taxes from the work you do.
      so why do you have to pay a land tax?

      also, look up your ownership. you don’t OWN the land, you have “surface” rights, not “mineral rights”… if you truly own your land: you have complete rights to all of it…

      silly silly girl. welcome to the NWO…LOL

      go back to sleep. shhhh you don’t want to know the truth.

      1. technobuddha could be a girl. The points made are important facts. The government will expropriate your land, throw you out of your house if they find minerals they want on your property.

    2. Free country? It’s easier to control a population if they believe they are free… We’re free to work 9-5 generating tax revenue for the government, but how free are you truly if you’re spending the majority of your life in an office or laboring? Living outside of the box is not only frowned apon, being made increasingly difficult by the system and even illegal apparently.

      People should be able to grow whatever they like in their basement… you can’t take a half ass approach to freedom, to do so is a mockery of the word itself.


  2. Welcome to the new world order, folks. Soon we’ll all be eating GMOs and growing veggies will soon be someone no one is allowed to do anymore. Monsanto is trying to squash competition and control our food. Control the food, you control the people.

  3. Gahhh…. Decriminalise marijuana already!!! more than 1 in 1000 homes in Vancouver grow pot in some quantities anyway so just bloody legalise it and be done with this crap!

    More than 80% of Canadians have used marijuana. BC’s annual revenue from marijuana is more than $7Billion!!

    LEGALISE it!

    1. its 1 in every 100 homes dude. and it needs to be legalized not decriminalized. even tho it would be nice decriminalization jut doesnt make sense

  4. ‘The bylaw allowed the district to inspect homes that were using more than an average amount of electricity, and the $5200 was an inspection fee’.

    Give us a job. I could conduct inspections for a lot cheaper, and I know the difference between a cucumber plant and a marijhuana plant.

    This would be laughable if it wasn’t so symptomatic of Monsanto’s scary attempts to monopolise the food supply.

    Legalise it!!

  5. This is nothing but an organised crime shake down, with the Government being the organised criminals yet again, and wielding their anti-cannabis/ pro-legal drug policy to do it. Who did the raid? So called legal drug users, abusers, addicts, pushers and advocates who sent out the highway robbery known as the ‘Inspection fee’? – So called legal drug users, abusers, addicts, pushers and advocates who want to rob individuals of $5,200. It’s time Canada started filling their jails with these criminals.

  6. I would expect this kind of thing from America, but Canada? I can’t believe a law like that was ever passed, it’s insane.

  7. The system does not work CHANGE IT. Legalize pot and ppl wont be growing it for money and the RCMP wont have an issue. Problem solved. Oh and stop giving people fines cause you waste your own money on useless act of recon.

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