A Canadian man was arrested yesterday after a police raid on a property in Taoyuan City uncovered 163 marijuana plants, and 893 grams of the finished product.
The 52-year-old man, named as Lee in media reports, worked as an English teacher and has resided in Taiwan for more than 10 years. China Times reported that Lee purchased seeds and equipment online in August last year, and used hydroponics to grow a strain of cannabis ready to harvest in just four months.
Lee rented a house in a mountain area of Longtan District to house the grow-op. Police began the investigation in August, after gathering network data on the purchase and delivery of the hemp seeds.
Lee told police that he had grown the cannabis for his own use, but police investigators suspect that he had grown it for sale, and the district prosecutor has ordered an investigation into the grower’s “downstream network.” Police have not eliminated the possibility that Lee was distributing cannabis via a “drug circle of foreigners in Taiwan,” according to China Times.
Liberty Times reported that police estimate the market value of the cannabis at NT$1.2 million.
Mirror Media reported that after his arrest, Lee told police that cannabis was legal in Canada, and that he was unfamiliar with Taiwan’s laws, and had believed that in Taiwan it was the same. Lee said that in Canada, growing marijuana was as normal as planting tomatoes, according to United Daily News.
While possession of cannabis is treated as a minor offense, decriminalized, or even legalized in many countries, in Taiwan it is classed as a category 2 drug along with such drugs as methamphetamine.
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