- 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.
Common indications of marijuana 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.
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.
- 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?
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.
Facts and Trends
Other indications for InterNACHI inspectors and neighbors:
Image Credit: iStock: Tinnakorn Jorruang
Cannabis Editor, POLITICO
In the last decade, Americans’ relationship with cannabis has transformed: today, dozens of states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use and American farmers can grow hemp on an industrial scale. Meanwhile, shoppers can find cannabidiol (CBD), which is derived from cannabis but does not produce a “high” like marijuana, in everything from oils to vapes, chocolate bars, cosmetics—even dog treats. Some say CBD can relieve stress, pain, anxiety, and more, with no side effects. But the evidence for many of these claims is limited, and state and federal laws around the sale of CBD are still evolving. Drawing on a newly-released poll by POLITICO and the Harvard Chan School, this Forum examined public attitudes toward CBD products and recreational marijuana. Panelists examined how research studies of both recreational and medical marijuana offer insights into the current debate. They also discussed the current state of policy and research regarding recreational marijuana in particular, and consider various solutions that have emerged to understand and regulate these rapidly growing industries.
Richard L. Menschel Professor of Public Health and Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis, Emeritus, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health