Light Growers can’t get away from the fact that internal farming requires a lot of it: 2,000 watts running 12 hours a day in a small bedroom looks a lot like the sun, so look out for windows that are constantly blacked out to cover that up. Cannabis farms in spare rooms will have the tell-tale sign of curtains that never open.
But you may not be the only person trying to spot a cannabis farm on your street. The sinister side to these booming businesses is that they have become lucrative targets for harder and more violent criminals looking to rob them. These people are constantly on the look out for farms within our communities, which in turn exposes the rest of us to potential violence. What’s the solution? The dealers and criminals I spoke with all said that legalisation would put them out of business.
The latest Independent Drug Monitoring Unit report suggests there are now as many as half a million people growing cannabis in the UK, which equates to roughly one on every street. So how can you spot the cannabis farm next door to you?
Activity Not all farms are inhabited by the grower so watch out for signs that there is no one actually living there: unkempt front gardens, or if your neighbour never leaves out any bin bags on collection day.
• The growing farms for drugs are referred to as ‘factories’. The way in which the drugs are grown can vary from single plants in houses to a large scale cannabis production. The most common type of factory is found in residential houses. Walls are often knocked down so you are left with an empty shell that has been turned into a giant enclosed green house.
• Landlords – be aware that the individual paying the rent will usually want to pay cash up front and will try to encourage no visiting from the landlord. It’s a good idea for landlords to visit their properties and keep an eye out for tell-tale signs, like a strong smell coming from the premises or windows being blacked out.
• Another tell-tale sign is when people move in and very soon after there is considerable building work taking place inside the property.
Common Signs of Marijuana Grow Operations:
Stow Patch asked a Stow detective for some tips on identifying whether your neighbor is growing pot in their house or apartment. The biggest hint is odor.
Specifically in Stow, Gottas said he and his crew have seen a lot of “windows covered with reflective coverings, fans constantly running exhaust air from what should be a bedroom window, basement windows covered with black plastic, subjects carrying potting soil and fertilizer into the house and garden hoses running into the house.”
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“If it looks suspicious and is not what normal people do, there’s probably something not right about it. And the biggest hint or clue of all is the odor,” he said. “A large scale marijuana grow has a distinctive, pungent odor that’s hard to describe, but very noticeable. Sometimes they manage to mask the odor pretty well, but typically at some spot around the house there is a noticeable smell.”