Indoor marijuana factories are sprouting up in suburban Cleveland “grow houses” operating in many communities right under the noses of police, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “They are very hard to identify,” said Michael Barnhardt of the Medina County drug task force. “Outwardly, they look like a typical house in a neighborhood. Careful neighbors might notice strong odors from the house, the covered-up windows and that people are rarely ever there. And when they are home, it’s at unusual hours.”
Tommy Lanier, who heads the National Marijuana Initiative of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, says as pressure from law enforcement makes outdoor marijuana farms vulnerable, growers are moving inside. They are doing so in homes valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. “It’s not as if they pay for the house all at once,” Lanier said. “They get a mortgage using a down payment and then make the mortgage payments for a few months. They usually stay in a house only for nine months, which is enough for three harvests.” By that time, the mortgage lender is making noise about foreclosure. So the growers pack up their equipment and leave, and the bank takes back the house.