The Drug Enforcement Administration is warning that marijuana grow houses in Colorado may be “the new meth houses,” reports the Washington Post. A DEA report covers potential dangers and annoyances posed by large-scale marijuana growing operations hidden in residential neighborhoods. These operations can be a nuisance to neighbors, prompting complaints about “strong odors, excessive noise from industrial air-conditioning units, blown electrical transformers, and heavy vehicle traffic,” the DEA says. Beyond that, a big indoor marijuana operation requires lots of high-powered lighting, water and ventilation. People making these modifications in a haphazard or amateurish way risk doing serious damage to their homes.
The problem is growing because of loopholes in Colorado’s marijuana laws. Under the recreational marijuana measure passed by the state’s voters in 2012, individuals are allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants at home. A provision in the law allows people to “assist” others in their grows — essentially giving growers cover to produce a near-unlimited amount of plants and claim that they belong to other individuals. The DEA report says that under the cover of these laws, unscrupulous growers can produce large quantities of marijuana to be shipped and sold out of state at high prices. The report doesn’t quantify how much weed is actually being shipped beyond Colorado’s borders. Nationwide, marijuana smuggling cases have been falling in the era of legal weed.