Stealth Growing: How to NOT get Caught Growing
If you’ve ever gone to a forum for advice on growing cannabis, you’ll know that there is no shortage of opinions on what you can do to become a better grower.
Learning new tips and training techniques give you an edge in growing and help you increase your yields. However, there is one thing that I consider to be the most important part of advancing your growing knowledge…
NOT GETTING CAUGHT!
No matter how good you are at growing cannabis, if you get caught and end up in jail, you’ll be in a place where your skills are useless and wasted.
But fret not! We’ve compiled this easy-to-read list of tips to help keep you out of the sight and minds of people who could ruin your life just for growing a plant.
Remember, the only thing better than increasing the potency and yields of your harvest is making sure you get to keep said harvest!
Let’s get into some tips for Stealth Growing – keeping your grow “under the radar” of other people.
First, the mantra: “No smell, no sell, no tell”
There are a lot of ways to keep you and your grow safe, but this is the heart of it all.
- No smell – No one should be able to smell your grow or smell cannabis on you. This makes you an easy target for police and marijuana haters!
- No sell – Statistically, people who are growing strictly for personal use deal with far less legal trouble than people who sell their cannabis. This even applies in places like Colorado where it’s legal within the state!
- No tell – Having fewer people know about your grow reduces the chances of you getting busted by law enforcement or burglarized by thieves. I know it’s hard to not show off your awesome growing skills, but this one secret that needs to stay a secret! In fact, telling someone about your grow is the easiest way to get yourself in trouble one way or another.
Growing Indoors vs. Outdoors
There are benefits to both of these growing methods, but when it comes purely to stealth, indoor growing is the way to go. Indoors you can completely control smell and sound, plus your plants are out of view. Outdoor growing has one potentially major problem that indoor growers are pretty much safe against…people wandering by! Many outdoor growers have been busted by nosy neighbors, city/utility workers, or just bad weather(floods have revealed hidden outdoor grows, for example). If you can grow indoors, you’ll make yourself that much harder to find!
It's more stealthy to grow indoors - no one can stumble upon your plants!
In the vegetative stage, though some plants have a cannabis smell from the beginning, most cannabis tends to make an clean, fresh smell akin to the gardening section in a home improvement store. But once flowering really kicks in, the smell can range from tame to “WHAT IS THAT SMELL?!”
Luckily, this can be easily corrected with several products like carbon filters for in the grow room, or odor neutralizers for living spaces. Additionally, you can try growing cannabis strains that are known for having a more neutral smell (like the ones listed below). The goal is to make sure that the smell stays within your grow space, and not in your living areas!
Important Note: Odor neutralizers with perfumes should not share the same air as your plants, meaning they shouldn't be placed in your tent with your cannabis. A good place for them in outside of an air-cooled tent so that the only air they touch goes over the lights but not your plants.
Low Odor Marijuana Strains - These Strains are known for producing low/non-marijuana-like odor:
Low odor strains aren't fool-proof, but they'll definitely help make things easier! These are just 3 examples that I've had great experience with, but there are many others.
When buying any kind of electrical device, look up reviews on the product to make sure it runs quietly. A low-quality exhaust fan or air pump will cause people to be suspicious since they make lots of noise and typically run all day and night.
Exhaust fans and air pumps of especially low quality can raise even more suspicion by vibrating. This can make your grow noticeable through multiple walls!
Tips for quiet operation
- Don't get a fan that's way too powerful for your space, as bigger fans are more noisy
- Install your exhaust fan inside your tent instead of outside, and try to hang it from something as opposed to letting it sit on something. I have my fan hanging from the inside of my tent (which you can easily do with rope ratchets, large zip ties or even bungee cord).
- Keep the path for ducting as straight and short as possible. Extra bends and length will increase noise because of the air moving through the ducting, as well as because it makes your fan work harder.
- Use insulated ducting
- Make sure your cool air intake hole is big enough. Your intake hole(s) where you get air should be near the bottom of the grow space and in total about 4x as big as the exhaust hole. If the fan is having trouble getting enough air it will run louder (and it's hard on the fan)
- Use something that reduces sound around the outside of the fan, like egg crate material or foam. If there is foam between the fan and the place where it's mounted it will help reduce vibration. Some people will also use an insulated box around the exhaust fan.
- Be aware of where the noise is going. Keep fans away from shared walls, the entrance of the room, near windows where sound projects, etc
To the outside world, it should appear as if you’re doing everything as normal. As paranoid as it sounds, you should assume that anyone who sees you doing growing related activity will know what it is and report you.
- Move any growing equipment at night so you’re less likely to be seen. It's also a really good idea to cover any growing equipment you're transporting in black trash bags. This way, no one can see exactly what it is you're moving!
- Be careful about what you throw in your trash. On the rare occasion that I do throw cannabis trash (like stems) in a trash can, I usually cover it in food trash or kitty litter so no one will want to go through it. Also, throwing away your cannabis-related trash on the day trash is picked up means there is minimal time for a snooping person to find your secret garbage.
- Make sure nothing stands out. Pick a couple days to walk around your house at a few different times of the day to see if anything stands out as suspicious. Example of something suspicious: Super bright yellow light (HPS) coming from a window at 11:00pm.
- Be a good neighbor! A lot of people think of cannabis growers as criminals. When you continue to act like the intelligent, well-mannered, amicable person you are, your neighbors naturally become less suspicious!
- Don’t look like a stereotypical stoner! There’s nothing wrong with Rastafarian clothing or wearing red/green/yellow coloring, and it’s your right to dress and act as you wish! Just remember that police, nosy neighbors, and marijuana haters are more likely to ‘judge a book by its cover’ and harass a person based on their clothing...regardless of how unfair that is.
A Google search for “house fire marijuana” will yield stories for events in at least 7 cities (in the first 2 pages alone) where people have accidentally burned down their cannabis, their home, and everything they own in electrical fires. Most electrical safety mishaps can be prevented with a few healthy habits:
- Only purchase quality equipment. Quality parts means fewer failures, which means fewer fires started. Fire is bad!
- Keep water and other liquids below waist level and electrical equipment above waist level. Even if this isn’t always possible, it will help to accomplish the real goal: keeping water and electrical devices separated.
- Clean up all spilled water. Having a few towels or a roll of paper towels handy makes this a breeze.
- Get a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)! These are made to interrupt power when they sense a problem with the flow of electricity. These devices can also save you from being electrocuted, so they're definitely worth the investment!
- Don’t overload your circuits. If you live in an older house, you probably don’t want two 1000w HPS lights and high powered exhaust fans running from one room unless you know how much your circuits can take. Sticking only to what you actually need will help you in this department. For example: for indoor growing that’s strictly for personal use, a single 600w HPS can keep most people in constant over-abundance all year, every year.
Technology and the way we communicate changes so rapidly these days, that many of us aren’t aware that we now do things that give away a lot of information about what we do. You don’t need to be a computer wizard, but these terms will definitely help you maintain your privacy in the digital age:
- Proxy: Many websites track your computer information and where you are. Proxies trick those websites into thinking you’re in a different place. Here are a couple of free sites to try: http://vtunnel.com/, http://www.vpnbook.com/webproxy, https://best-vpn.top10rated.me/proxy/.
- Anonymous Search: I love Google and use it often, however, they do track information about searches. Google is still safe to use for normal use, but for things pertaining to cannabis, try a search engine that doesn’t track information, like https://duckduckgo.com/.
- Exif data: Exif data is a little chunk of information that comes attached to pretty much any picture you take nowadays. This can be dangerous if the picture is taken on a device with GPS(such as a smart phone), because the data will also include the location where the picture was taken! Check out the video below to see how to remove this data, or follow this link for text instructions.
Know the Law
In the U.S., many states have their own laws on how marijuana is treated. Some states will send marijuana users to jail for years, some will give them counseling, others will just give a fine, and some do nothing at all.
However, it’s important to remember that marijuana is still illegal according to U.S. federal law, as well as the law of most countries. In fact, cannabis is still classified as 'Schedule 1' with the US federal government; Schedule 1 is the highest (worst) classification a drug can have, and cannabis shares the classification with hard drugs like Methamphetamine and Heroin. Although this classification is obviously motivated by reasons other than public safety, it's important to remember that you can still be prosecuted and jailed just the same.
It’s imperative that every grower spend at least a little time making sure they know the laws that apply to them to help minimize the risk of being prosecuted. Here are some resources to get you started:
This is a lot of information, and it still only barely scratches the surface of what it takes to grow
This is a lot of information, and it still only barely scratches the surface of what it takes to grow stealthily. Over time there will be more pitfalls to watch out for, but growing your own cannabis has actually gotten easier and safer over time.
If you have quick, easily digestible tips to share, feel free to contact us! Your tips might be an awesome source of information we could add to this list to help the world grow stealthily!
What tools do you need for Stealth Growing?
Quiet Electronic Devices - Get devices that work without making noise:
- Silent Air Pump (for hydro)
- Low-noise Water Transfer Pump (for changing your reservoir when growing with Hydro/Bubbleponics/DWC)
- Incredibly Quiet Exhaust Fan (though expensive and HUGE)
- Pretty Quiet Exhaust Fan (a good mix of quiet vs price/size)
- Duct Silencer (these can help muffle noise by about 50%, but it won't make it silent, it you can put one before and after the fan that works the best, though you can use just one on the exit side for pretty good results)