Halton Regional Police Service
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Halton Police

Marihauna Grow House Indicators

The following Marihuana Indoor Cultivation Indicators have been created by the 'E' Division, British Columbia, Drug Awareness Service to help members of the public identify grow houses in their neighbourhoods.

You are reminded not to put yourself in any compromising position to obtain information about marihuana grow operations or other criminal activity.

Indicator What to Look For
Covered Windows Windows are covered with black plastic, heavy curtains pressed against the windows or blinds that are tightly shut and pressed against the windows to prevent light from entering or escaping (Note: Some experienced cultivators will camouflage windows with window boxes on the inside and insert a small lamp inside the box to disguise the covered windows.
Condensation Humidity inside a grow room is approximately 65 per cent, with temperatures ranging between 80 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. These conditions manifest themselves through condensation on windows.
Smells/Odours The unique smell of rotting cabbage or skunk-like odour mixed with a sweet vegetable smell. Moth balls, chlorine, manure, soap and air fresheners are frequently used to mask the smell of growing marihuana.
Sounds Some of the electrical components of an indoor grow operation create humming sounds similar to a hydro pole transformer which can sometimes be heard from a neighbour's property. Other sounds may include fans and trickling water.
Bright Lights High-intensity, 1,000 watt lamps are normally used for indoor grow operations and are sometimes not completely concealed. These lights are the same ones used at outdoor swimming pools, in school gyms, and in outdoor football fields/baseball parks.
Localized Power Surges / Browning Neighbouring residences experience unexplained power surges or power 'browning' (decreases in power which dim lights and slow down appliance speed) with the normal flow of power returning approximately 12 hours later.
Discarded Equipment Growers sometimes leave equipment such as nutrient containers, pots, wiring, soil, rot balls, aluminum shrouds, PVC piping lying around the yard. The residence may also not put waste to the curb on garbage and/or recycling days.
'Beware of Dog' or 'Guard' Signs These signs, in absence of animals and/or security, are used to deter trespassers and to protect against theft, rip-offs and police detection.
Rental Accommodations Almost all marihuana growers use rental property (residential and/or commercial) so that they do not have to alter/damage their own property to accommodate a growing operation. (Note: Landlords may notice that tenants insist on paying their rent in cash and that while having no known source of income, they may have expensive cars, cell phones, pagers, etc. These tenants are also very reluctant to let landlords inspect their rented property. They also make arrangements to meet landlords away from the property to pay rent or discuss problems. Landlords should have a detailed rental agreement in place and ensure that the individuals renting the premises are those living there.
Unusual Visitor Behaviour When compared to average homes in the area, neighbours may notice inconsistencies in visitor patterns, ranging from no visitors at all to frequent visitors for short periods of time. Visitors will often leave one person waiting in the car while another enters the premises.
History of Premises Residential and/or commercial premises have been used as marijuana growing operations in the past. Many of these rental properties are known among the criminal element as having been used before and will often be used in the future.
Other Indicators Outdoor/indoor lights, radio/television operating 24 hours a day; unretrieved flyers in the mailbox or on the porch; children's toys/bikes left outside residence with no evidence youngsters reside/visit there; realty 'for sale' signs posted on the lawn. Such signs have been used as props by growers to deflect attention from landlords, neighbours or police.

Marihuana Grow House Video

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Extraction Lab Video

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For more information or to provide information or tips related to suspected marihuana grow operations, contact:
905-825-4747 ext. 8732

Members of the public can also provide anonymous tips through Crime Stoppers.