Florida was the number one state in the country for seized marijuana grown houses last year. Not really the kind of achievement worth bragging about, but definitely something to take notice of. High demand for potent pot has opened up a lucrative business opportunity for some, who find themselves turning their homes or other properties into small marijuana factories.
These grow houses are popping up all over South Florida and can be found in both urban apartment settings and suburban homes. Some are finding they bring less attention to themselves and their operation in more sparsely populated areas like rural Miami Dade County and Palm Beach County.
Why Florida? Well the climate may have something to do with it, say experts. These pot nurseries require lots of light, hot lights. And the air conditioning must be run constantly to cool the lights and avoid fire. In Florida, running the a/c everyday definitely doesn’t raise any red flags.
These hot lights can cause huge spikes in electricity usage. So some growers are stealing their electricity to avoid detection. They may even go so far as to mount cameras on the outside of the grow house and monitor those cameras from a remote location.
The heat from the grow lights and potentially bad wiring puts these growhouses at an elevated risk for fire. Delray Beach Police Sgt. Phil Dorfman called them “ticking time bombs”. A Broward County grow house exploded in February and neighbors described the blast as feeling like a plane crash according to the Sun Sentinel.
Law enforcement agencies in Florida raided 818 houses in 2010. California was second with 791. But the Sun Sentinel reports those numbers could be lower than the actual, as not all agencies report their raids to the DEA. The South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program found law enforcement in the area burning 1,000 plants so far in 2011.
Though these newer grow houses have been called “elaborate” and even the police admit they are harder to identify and break down, those 818 houses are those that have been seized, so they are obviously making some progress.
Our state is notorious for its drug trade. From cocaine in the 1980s to the “pill mill” fiascos of recent times, the last thing officials want is to become the homegrown pot capital too. So, you can bet prosecutors and judges will take every growing operation very seriously.
If you are caught growing marijuana, you can face serious criminal charges for sale and trafficking, up to 15 years in prison. Now is not the time to “go it alone”. Contact our lawyers today to discuss your case and what your options may be.