A sister Patch site in Stow, OH., interviewed a local detective who advises folks to use a combination of Yankee common sense and old-fashioned sleuthing to figure out whether a neighbor who acts suspicious has an illegal indoor, home-based pot-growing operation.
Det. Tom Gottas, of the 's narcotics division, said the biggest hint to knowing if your neighbor is growing marijuana is the odor. But here are the other Top 10 Signs of Marijuana Growing Operations:
1.) Fans, scrubbers, and air fresheners running to mask the "intense robust organic" smell of marijuana.
2.) Heavy traffic in the area of the house by foot, car and bike.
3.) Groups of people staying short periods of time.
4.) People coming and going at all hours. The detective said most of the mentioned activity happens at night.
5.) Growing marijuana takes lots of power, so watch for extra power cords and generators.
6.) Look for large amounts of trash, including vegetative trash in bags.
7.) Large amounts of vegetative aids such as fertilizer and planters without seeing the landscape outside of the home to go with it.
8.) Covered exterior vents like roof gables and no open windows to keep the marijuana smell contained
9.) Power and lights are used but you never see anyone collect the mail or see a person in the yard.
10.) Specifically in Stow, Gottas said he and his crew have seen a lot of "windows covered with reflective coverings, fans constantly running exhaust air from what should be a bedroom window, basement windows covered with black plastic, subjects carrying potting soil and fertilizer into the house and garden hoses running into the house."
"If it looks suspicious and is not what normal people do, there’s probably something not right about it. And the biggest hint or clue of all is the odor," he said. "A large scale marijuana grow has a distinctive, pungent odor that’s hard to describe, but very noticeable. Sometimes they manage to mask the odor pretty well, but typically at some spot around the house there is a noticeable smell."
Living in an apartment doesn't necessarily mean someone isn't growing pot either.
"Here in Stow, we have also seen small grows in closets in apartments. They are obviously not as large and as sophisticated, but they still grow some pretty nice plants," Gottas said. "We have also seen plants growing in gardens in backyards where they can fit in nicely with corn. Some have even had potted plants on their decks figuring the neighbors won’t or don’t know what marijuana plants look like and think nobody would grow it right out in the open."