A Markham, Ontario house used as the grand prize in a cancer fundraiser has been pulled from the lottery due to a next-door medical cannabis home grow.
The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Home Lottery said, after being alerted to an adjacent home being used to cultivate medical marijuana, they acted as quickly as they could to rescind the prize and offer the original winner a cash prize of $1.3 million instead.
The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Home Lottery wrote in a statement that it was pulling the prize home after learning that “the owner of a home backing the prize property has a licence issued by Health Canada to legally grow marijuana for personal consumption.”
“The growing of a large number of plants in the house has resulted in an intrusive odour in the neighbourhood,” the statement read.
“It will never open. It is closed to the public. It is not longer a prize in the Princess Margaret Home Lottery,” said foundation vice-president Christine Lasky.
Homeowner of the grow Wei Gao told Global that he doesn’t live in the house, but has an MMAR license from Health Canada that he’s used to cultivate 146 plants for personal use for the past two years at this location.
The fundraiser said it had no idea that the nearby home was being used as a grow facility until a news story was published on the house that parents said caused their children at an elementary across the street to come home smelling like cannabis.
“They shouldn’t have something like this close to the school,” said a father. “Even though it’s a legal operation, it shouldn’t be close by where kids are.”
Gao has previously said that while he won’t move his grow operation and risk losing his license, he is open to upgrading his filtration system at the house to lessen the smell.
The home had also been brought up in debate at the House of Commons, where Conservative MPs called for the home’s closure.
“Parents are being forced to deal with their kids literally coming home reeking of pot because of this grow op,” said Oxford, ON MP Dave MacKenzie. “Our Conservative government has made these home grow ops illegal, but the courts are being used to let them continue, causing risk to health and safety.”
Former Conservative Oak Ridges—Markham MP Paul Calandra said the courts had fought the previous government when they tried to shut down grow homes in the past.
“What is incredible is that there are still some people who are defending this moulding rot in our communities,” Calandra said. “My constituents and I do not believe that it is acceptable for kids to come home smelling of pot, and we will make sure they do not.”