Danger to public health and safety
- Fire: The use of enormous amounts of electricity combined with illegal tampering with electrical systems can lead to fires. The hazard often extends to neighbouring buildings.
- Health: The high humidity and temperatures necessary for a grow room lead to the formation of damaging mould and fungus. This situation poses serious health risks to the residents.
- Electrocution: Electrical bypasses and rewiring performed by unqualified individuals results in dangerous electrical hazards.
- Poisonous gas and chemicals: The chemicals used in the production of marihuana are left to circulate inside the residence. These sometimes mix with air that has been re-vented from the furnace and/or water heater.
- Violence: The occupants of a Marihuana Grow Operation are more susceptible to extortion and home invasion. These operations are targeted by criminals who commit home invasions to steal the crop ("grow rips"). The presence of a grow operation increases the threat of violence to the neighbourhood.
- Booby traps: Since Marihuana Grow Operations are targets for “grow rips”, booby traps are sometimes used to injure or kill unsuspecting visitors or ‘first responders’.
- Children at risk: Children who live in or visit a Marihuana Grow Operation home are subject to physical dangers and the many health and safety hazards listed above.
Common signs of a Marihuana Grow Operation
- Rental buildings (residential and commercial) are often used so criminals avoid damage to their own property.
- Residents may only be in the home occasionally for short periods of time.
- People access the residence only through the garage.
- Unusual visitor behaviour ranging from no visitors to frequent visitors for short periods of time.
- Windows covered with dark plastic or newspaper.
- Condensation forms on windows due to high humidity levels inside. This may also result in lack of snow on the roof in winter.
- Skunk-like odour of growing marihuana can occasionally be detected outside.
- Unusual garbage: little or no garbage or unusual items (e.g. pots and soil, fertilizer containers, wiring, PVC piping).
- Electrical equipment inside creates humming sounds.
- Hydro meter is often tampered with or bypassed.
- Grow operations may use other “props” to deflect suspicion. Some of these include: outdoor and/or indoor lights, radio and/or TV on for 24 hours, flyers left in mailbox or on the front steps, children's toys & bikes outside without children living at the residence, Realty signs posted.
- A "Beware of Dog/Guard Dog" sign may be used to deter trespassing, protect against theft and avoid detection by police.
Tips for Landlords
Most Marihuana Grow Operations are set up in residential or commercial rental properties. Often the buildings are altered to accommodate equipment required to grow marihuana.
How to protect your property:
- Obtain a credit history.
- References should be mandatory and followed up.
- Check the property regularly.
Be alert for signs of a potential grow operation including:
- Foundation walls may be drilled to facilitate illegal wiring, other electrical rewiring/tampering in the home.
- Tenants may be reluctant to allow landlords to inspect the property and may insist on paying rent in cash.
Check your property regularly:
- A crop may take two to three months. Checking your property every four to five weeks is recommended.