Common indications of marijuana grow operations:
Facts and Trends
Learning about the typical problems created by grow operations will enable inspectors to recognize defects. If an inspector can recognize that water damage, for instance, was a byproduct of a former grow operation, they may waste less time in the attic searching for the source of water leaks.
A marijuana grow operation is the cultivation of marijuana, sometimes illegally, for the purpose of sale and distribution. Indoor grow operations can be found in places such as houses, apartments, commercial businesses and abandoned factories. There are thousands of illegal marijuana growers in the United States, but the problem is considerably more serious in Canada.
- In Canada, marijuana grow operations are becoming so common that many police departments have given up trying to fight them. From 1994 to 2004, the number of marijuana cultivation offenses more than doubled, and Canadian law enforcement estimates that there are currently 50,000 grow operations in the country.
- In the Canadian province of British Columbia, marijuana growth generates an estimated $7 billion annually.
- Most of the marijuana grown in Canada will eventually be sold in the United States, where it is worth more.
- Grow operations can be found in any type of house and community. Homes with grow operations are not necessarily cheap rentals or suspicious-looking, crumbling old homes in ramshackle communities. Newer homes in upscale communities are increasingly used to hide grow operations. Marijuana cultivation can be so lucrative that the entire cost of the house is paid for in a short period of time.
- Although it may seem like a serious risk for a current grower to hire an inspector to examine their home, it does happen, if rarely. Many grow operations are not temporary, and the growers have an otherwise normal household. Drug dealers need their homes to be inspected, too.
Why should inspectors care about grow operations?
- heat and humidity. Water that is fed to plants will transpire and evaporate from the containers into the surrounding air. Cannabis plants also require warmth. Excess water vapor and high temperatures can lead to the following defective conditions:
- water damage. Water damage caused by grow operations will likely appear uniform throughout the room, unlike the generally localized damage caused by water leaks. Even normal house plants can create enough water vapor to damage shingles, and a large marijuana grow operation may cause a considerable amount of water damage.
- large mold accumulations. Mold grows fast in humid environments. It can be a health concern, as well as a source of structural decay.
- lack of snow on roof in winter due to high temperatures indoors because of the use of grow lights, etc.
- unusually high amounts of steam coming from vents in winter.
- high electricity bills. Energy auditors, many of whom are inspectors, may come across a house that uses far more energy than seems necessary. Inspectors may also be given utility bill information from energy auditors.
In 2018, the state of Michigan voted in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Over the years, it has become increasingly easier for a medical marijuana patient to receive prescriptions. While the state already allows the creation of a marijuana business for medical use, growing weed recreationally is a different story. With medical marijuana becoming more popular among patients and Michigan recreational marijuana use increasing, now is the time for you to take your slice of the pie!
First and foremost, determine how many plants you want to manage in your growing op. This will help you determine how much space you will need. If you are planning a significant grow operation, say about 200 plants or more, it is crucial that you find the ample space to house them.Be sure to learn that the space you are choosing can be retrofitted with the necessary grow op supplies that will help keep your plants healthy.
Once you’ve handled the legal side of things, the next step is planning out what you want your marijuana grow op to look like. Creating a list of materials needed for growing cannabis indoors helps keep you on schedule and aligned with your budget.
Chances are you will be running your lights for the majority of the day, if not all of it. Having an energy efficient lighting system will help curb costs and reduce your eco-footprint down the line. The second factor that must be considered when choosing a lighting system for your grow op is the quality of the light itself. Sure, you may be able to successfully grow plants using a standard LED light, but there are many more options available to you.
Grow Room Ventilation
Although there are all sorts of options for running a marijuana grow operation, they can be broken down into two categories: commercial and residential.
Usually, a commercial grow op is a substantial operation simply because of the grow area it spans. Whether it’s an indoor facility or an outdoor venture, hundreds if not thousands of plants need to be managed. On the other hand, a residential growing op is more manageable and requires less equipment.
Before we delve into the specifics of planning a grow operation, it is important to establish an understanding of what a growing op actually is. According to Google, a grow operation is an enterprise or facility engaged in the growing and selling of marijuana. Commonly referred to as grow op, grow space or grow room, these facilities can vary in size, requirements and production capacities.
Grow Operation Set up
The second way you can set up a residential marijuana grow up is by purchasing a prefabricated tent which houses the plants. Prefabs are useful because they drastically reduce set up times. They usually come equipped with the necessary furnishings to hang lights and hydroponics systems, as well.
When it comes to picking a lighting system for your marijuana grow op, energy consumption should be your main concern. Again, because you are launching a commercial grow op, you want to maximize the output of your grow op supplies.
Smaller producers in rainy climates such as Oregon and Washington are investing in rainwater collection and storage capabilities to save on irrigation costs. Because a single cannabis plant can use as much as 22.7 liters of water per day and many cannabis outdoor growing seasons conflict with periods of low-precipitation, outdoor growers and those who rely on rainwater capture without long-term storage solutions won’t find much benefit in a recyclable water investment.
This is a troubling insight for those who depend on cannabis for medicinal purposes. Because individuals may not receive the intended reaction to treat their medical condition as a result of consuming improperly labelled cannabis products.
In a market with an estimated worth of $61 billion as of 2021—over $30 billion more than anticipated—security and compliance with state regulations is critical to success in the recreational cannabis world. Producers need to account for a highly-prized cash crop, but also the cash-only nature of the current, state-level restricted recreational cannabis industry. Because employees are also at risk, investigating comprehensive and sophisticated cannabis security solutions is highly recommended for growers of every size. Some security and compliance firms boast growth rates over 400% since legalization in Colorado and Washington.
Indoor Growing Facilities
That said, no forward-thinking cannabis entrepreneur should overlook energy-efficiency standards in initial constructions. An estimated 4% of Denver’s annual energy usage went toward cannabis production facilities in 2020; projections for energy usage among states nearing legalization (including California, Nevada, and Maine) are unquestionably unsustainable.
Solar energy is becoming increasingly affordable – especially at larger and more significant scales. Colorado, presumably spurred by the initial successes and yet substantial energy costs of its early recreational cannabis industry, more than tripled its renewable energy since 2010, now generating more than 30 percent of its electricity from reusable and renewable sources as of 2020.
Invest in Solar
Choosing to invest in a cannabis production facility over a retail storefront makes getting things off the ground a bit easier – prospective producers are able to utilize more remote, out-of-the-way locations with greater benefits to security, logistics, and future expansions. There are restrictions under current state laws that keep producers from opening grow facilities away from public schools, parks, transit centers, libraries, or arcades that cater to minors.
While some high-end growers are switching to permeable concrete to facilitate natural water recycling, it’s not a bad idea to use wooden pallets or plastic, grated platforms as the floor of your grow tent to help with runoff or collect for recycling.