Oregon firefighters thought it was a run-of-the-mill call — a shed was burning behind a home — until they found what lurked in the yard: booby traps, The Oregonian reports. The fence surrounding the house had been topped with upturned nails. A pit had been dug in the yard, with sharpened spears jutting from the bottom. Leg traps had been set in the grass. The resident, John Lloyd, 30, told authorities he runs a legal medical marijuana growing operation out of his parents’ house and had fortified it to keep out thieves interested in his pot. No one was injured, but it did slow down the firefighters and put them in harm’s way.
Authorities say the Oct. 12 incident is an extreme example of a growing trend in Oregon, as medical marijuana growers move into neighborhoods and protect themselves against robberies and home invasions. In addition to fortifications, the growers are also arming themselves, and a handful of recent robbery attempts have ended in shootouts. “Historically marijuana and guns go hand-in-hand, ” said Portland police spokeswoman Lt. Kelli Sheffer. “We certainly do see people who arm themselves to protect their grows.” Oregon has nearly 40,000 medical marijuana grower cardholders, and by law they must grow their own marijuana or designate another person to grow it for them. Designated growers — such as Lloyd — can grow for four cardholders. The system has created thousands of small neighborhood gardens throughout the state. The gardens become targets because they are permitted to hold between six and 24 mature plants — and up to six pounds of marijuana. Their odor is often easily detectable from the street.