By Amiea Eleban

Editor’s Note: We are entering the grow season and as many of you know, there are measures we all need to take to grow our own medical marijuana. It is a cash crop. Do NOT ASSUME it is safe because you have a safety fence around your yard. Do not assume the police will drop everything and start a statewide manhunt because someone stole your plants. You may even be ticketed for not taking proper care to protect your plants from youngsters in your neighborhood. We need to be smart growers if we are to grow our own.

The first rule to keeping your cannabis safe is one that is common sense.

No tell, no smell, no sell. Don’t talk about your plants – to anyone – and keep your grow out of sight from curious eyes. Use measures to control the odor, and do not sell or proudly give away your weed to acquaintances. If no one knows your plants exist, the risk of someone stealing your crop will be much lower.

If you’re growing in a greenhouse, this has the advantage that you can install an air filtration system to effectively neutralize the odor of your plants. You can also consider securing your greenhouse with an alarm system, cameras, and automated motion-triggered lights. Most of the time, the presence of cameras and lights alone will be enough to scare away cannabis criminals. Also, if you’re growing legally and your crop does get stolen, camera footage can be passed on to the police as evidence.

Transporting any product of value can be extremely risky.

Cannabis is no exception to the rule. “Typically, only one or two people are in a delivery vehicle at any given time, which makes them a greater target for theft,” says Clint Bryer, manager for cannabis transportation sales at Houston-based Safety Vision LLC. “Surveillance technologies that growers use in their cultivation facilities also can be installed in vehicles to protect their investments. Safety vision provides safety solutions for vehicle fleets in a wide range of industries. Another option is ‘geofencing’, which allows the end-user to designate areas where the vehicle is permitted to travel. If the vehicle moves outside the route, the client will receive an alert,” Bryer says.

If you don’t already own a dog, then you can also consider this an additional cost. They can become a great asset in keeping your cannabis safe. Letting them roam your garden will make thieves think twice before moving in on your plants. Dogs also double as an early warning detection system, and even from inside the house, they can alert you to any unwanted visitors.

Putting a barb wire fence around your facility is also a good idea. Most people that steal from dispensaries do not have a long drawn out plan. For most, it’s ‘smash and grab’ – adding a fence may make this a little more difficult and may deter them (I don’t think anyone would really have the time to climb the fence before the police arrive).

Several of the tips above can be put in place with minimal financial investment, and in most cases, will be more than enough to deter any pesky weed thieves. Best of all, they won’t get you in trouble with local law enforcement.

Be sure to research what Oklahoma state and local police departments require of you when setting up your grow. There is nothing more upsetting than losing your time, money and hard work to also have the local police give YOU a ticket and court summons for not providing proper security for your plants. Even worse, you may find that you could be arrested for not following the proper protocols of only six (6) seedlings and six (6) mature plants for personal use.

If you plan to be a producer for sales to dispensaries, be sure you know the laws for growing and the security measures expected of you by authorities before you start planning your business. You will need to factor this into your business plan expenses, but it may not be enough to deter thieves.

Go get that green thumb growing in 2020 and we want to see those pictures on the other side. Good luck!

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