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  Unlawful Production of Marihuana

Oct 27, 2015 11:48 ET

Since January of 2006, the DRPS has been disclosing the addresses of known grow homes. Please see the attached PDF document titled "Indoor Marihuana Growing Operations" for information on the date and location of the growing operations. The DRPS publishes the location of indoor marihuana growing operations for a period of one year after they are dismantled. We are trying to balance the public's right to know with current prosecutorial timelines and anticipated remediation efforts by property owners

View The DRPS "How to Spot a Marihuana Grow Op" Video HERE

Risks Associated with Former Residential Marihuana Factories

In the interests of public safety, the Durham Regional Police Service would like to advise the public of some of the potential dangers associated with houses that were once used as marihuana grow facilities. Some smaller home operations uncovered by police may not have incurred extensive damage, and may not have used an electrical bypass. Most do.

A large indoor marihuana production house requires large amounts of water, chemicals, light and heat. An unsuspecting purchaser of a former site can face problems if not informed of the history and current condition of the house. In some instances, this damage may not be visible and the owner or real estate agent may not be fully aware of the problems.

We are currently working with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to better understand the specific health and safety risks involved in former grow homes.

Types of Damage Caused by Grow Homes

Structural Damage

  1. Marihuana production homes found in residential areas often use electrical bypasses to circumvent utility meters and to steal electricity. A bypass usually requires a large hole being drilled through the concrete foundation or walls to tap into the underground, outside hydro lines.

  2. High levels of humidity can cause wood to eventually warp, including staircases, handrails, floor finishes, roof joists and wood studs in walls. The structural integrity of these components may be compromised.

  3. Floor joists, roof supports and wall studs are sometimes cut to accommodate the extensive ventilation systems required by these operations or to accommodate the creation of booby traps designed to foil police personnel. These traps are dismantled, but the structural damage may still remain.

  4. In some instances, false walls or improperly installed load bearing walls can cause structural damage.

  5. High levels of condensation caused by excessive heat and moisture and improper ventilation can cause the wooden frames around windows and doors to eventually rot.
Electrical / Fire Damage
  1. A hydroponic lab requires three to 10 times the power of an average home. Although the house’s main electrical panel is bypassed, the main system can be damaged by surges or other difficulties associated with the illegal by-pass.

  2. Fire hazards such as exposed live wires and overheated electrical ballasts are often found in the homes. In fact, approximately one in 10 bypass operations end in a fire.
Air Quality Issues

  1. Prolonged periods of high humidity have been known to cause moulds to develop in a residence, including the inside walls, drywall and in the insulation. As well, marihuana plants produce pollen that escapes into the air. Respiratory conditions and allergies can be triggered by certain kinds of pollen and mould. Children and those with respiratory ailments are particularly susceptible.

  2. Pesticides, fungicides, hydrogen peroxide and fertilizers are mixed together and applied to the plants to increase yields and protect plants from insects. Improper ventilation, intense humidity levels and even structural considerations such as carpets can prevent these chemicals from escaping.

DRPS can offer no particular information about hazards or dangers related to specific residences in Durham Region.

On December 17, 2003, Durham Regional Police and other law enforcement agencies released Green Tide - an overview of the marihuana growing industry in Ontario. The 56-page report is available as three attachments under Report Released on Marihuana Grow Homes.

Below are attached files.
Grow Home Plants on Floor (JPG file, 107.1K bytes)
Grow Home Plants and Lighting (JPG file, 97.4K bytes)
Hole in concrete for hydro bypass (JPG file, 44.8K bytes)
Ballasts to power grow operation (JPG file, 115.2K bytes)
Indoor Marihuana Grow Operations  (PDF file, 85.0K bytes)