Marijuana Grow-Ops are big business in Canada. However, this type of business comes at a high price and it is often unwitting property owners and neighbours who end up paying.
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Grow-ops typically require 3 to 10 times more power than a traditional home. To avoid detection, growers may by-pass the electrical meter and utilize unsafe electrical wiring. Both of these are dangerous undertakings and are often the cause of house fires.
Grow-ops elevate the temperature and humidity levels in the home by approximately 25 degrees. This simulated environment is ideal for the growing of marijuana. A negative consequence of this simulated environment is the growth of toxic mould which forms on walls and ceilings.
Risks to the neighbours are as follows:
- hazardous chemicals such as fungicides and pesticides are disposed of down the household drains into the sewer system;
- overloading the electrical system may cause a transformer to blow resulting in lost power to the neighbourhood; and
- fire hazard for neighbouring houses;
To accommodate the grow-op, holes are punched in walls to facilitate the re-routing of electrical wiring and venting.
Usually, a marijuana grow-op has a sitter who cares for the plants and protects the operation. Marijuana grow-ops are an ideal location for organized crime to commit home invasions and steal all the mature marijuana plants. To protect these grow-ops, planters and growers may booby trap the house and doors.
How to spot a marijuana grow-op in your neighbourhood?
Traditionally, a grow-op house will display the following characteristics:
- all windows are covered with either curtains or black plastic;
- condensation is seen forming on the inside of the windows;
- person living in the house is only occupying one room of the house and avoids contact with neighbours;
- yard is not maintained;
- very few visitors to the house;
- strange skunk-like odours coming from the house;
- unusual garbage is being disposed of on the street on garbage pickup dates;
- hydro meter doesn’t seem to be working;
- sounds of electrical humming;
- little snow is forming on the roof as compared to neighbouring houses;
- local brown-outs;
- landlords are paid only in cash;
- tenant reluctant to permit the landlord to inspect the house;
- flyers and newspapers are not picked up from the front step;
- children’s toys and bikes outside with no children seen at the house; and
- bright interior lights are left on all night.
If you suspect there is a marijuana grow-op in your neighbourhood, please avoid contact with individuals in the house and telephone the Port Moody Police Department at 604-461-3456.