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Growing Securely: how not to get caught

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
Growing Securely - how not to get caught

All growers should be aware, despite the ready availability of growth systems and seeds and despite the fact that so many people are doing it that penalties on conviction for growing cannabis can be severe, and prison is a very real possibility. Anyone growing more than a handful of plants is likely to be prosecuted for intent to supply, even if such supply would be on a social basis, sharing with friends or even for medical use. Although some escape with a fine or community service, 6 months to 2 years imprisonment is common in cases of social supply, or even simple 'production'. What actually happens depends on where you live and whether or not the police like you, it's a real postcode lottery.


Most growers are busted as a result of informants, these would often be small-scale dealers (or not so small-scale), who may see successful growers as a threat to their profitability. Talking to anyone about a grow-room is a risk. Word gets around.


There is much concern about police seizing grow companies mailing lists, so most do not keep them anymore. However intelligence about grow-shop customers is gathered by various other means without any information being provided directly by the shop. Such means may include:

* telephone records (may include bugging of conversations)
* surveillance of retail premises, noting car registrations of customers
* Information held by courier companies where goods are delivered
* Credit card/switch records


Police helicopters fitted with infra-red imaging equipment are used by a number of police forces. When these are not chasing car theives, grow-rooms in attics or similar areas show up like a beacon to the heat-sensitive cameras. Suspicious premises may have their electricity records checked, or an informal 'visit' may take place, in order to determine whether there are any telltale aromas, before a warrant is applied for


The smell of cannabis is distinctive and the smells of hybrids can be very powerful. If you are living with the system you will become accustomed to the smell, but a visitor would notice it and most police officers would recognise it. Even with extractors and venting, any visit by police (e.g. door to door enquiries, burglaries etc) may result in search and seizure. As cultivation of plants takes several months, the risks of detection are much greater than you think.


A number of grow-rooms are discovered by accident. If a person is arrested on another charge, police have the power to search the home address without a warrant under s18 PACE. A positive drugs search, or arrest for theft or other criminal offences may lead to discovery.

Regular visitors with statutory rights of access to property include employees of utility companies to read meters, TV licensing, child-care social workers and a few others. Whether or not there is any official policy regarding reporting suspected growers to the police (e.g. where electricity consumption is excessive), individual visitors or meter readers, like any member of the public, can telephone various hotlines to report their suspicions.


Several photo-processing firms often report people with pictures of cannabis use among their photos in for development.
If you are done for growing, ensure you speak to a solicitor before being interviewed. Make sure the police retain all of the plants in paper sacks (allowing them to dry out) so any estimates of yield can be independently verified if necessary. Disputes commonly arise on the potential yield of plants, the proportion of flowering tops, valuation and on appropriate levels of consumption. There are a small number of expert witnesses who are willing to work for the defence in such cases, and who are able to challenge excessive estimates of yield, amounts consistent with personal use, and/or valuations. Fees will normally be met by an extension of legal aid. One of the most established expert witnesses are the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit.
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