Marijuana trimming and other grow op activities can get you killed!
Theft and violence in the marijuana industry is increasing and it’s affecting growers and cannabis dispensaries.
If you let outsiders know you’re growing marijuana, and especially if you hire a “marijuana trimming crew” to help with harvesting, trimming, and manicuring, you could get hurt.
A prime example of risks growers face is the murder of 35-year-old Northern California Mendocino County grower Jeff Settler in November, 2016.
Settler hired a seven-man marijuana trimming crew.
Police say the crew robbed Settler of 100 pounds of trimmed buds, and killed him.
Robberies and violence against growers and marijuana dispensaries are built-in dangers for the marijuana industry, says Michael Straumietis, founder of Advanced Nutrients.
In his 35 years of growing cannabis, Straumietis has survived narks, informants, thieves, and attempted violence perpetrated by bad people helping him build grow houses, run grow ops, or do marijuana trimming.
“When one plant is worth hundreds of dollars, people get greedy,” he says. “I’ve handled dangerous situations, but nothing as bad as what happened to Jeff Settler.”
Straumietis says the most vicious attack he experienced occurred when he’d just started Advanced Nutrients and had gone public in High Times and Cannabis Culture magazines.
“I noted that the other hydroponics nutrients companies sell inferior and in some cases harmful products not made for or tested on marijuana,” he said. “I explained to growers that Advanced Nutrients makes fertilizers and supplements that increase harvest weight and cannabinoid percentages.”
Other hydroponics companies hated being called out, Straumietis recalls.
They told police Straumietis was running hydroponics nutrients research gardens filled with marijuana plants.
Advanced Nutrients’ headquarters was raided. Straumietis was jailed for months.
“Some of those same hydroponics companies are still in business, still selling garbage nutrients,” he says. “And Advanced Nutrients is still the only nutrients company doing competent scientific research and making nutrients products that increase your cannabis yields and bud potency.”
Straumietis offers the following strategies so you avoid being robbed, narked, or injured by marijuana trimming crews or other grow op assistants:
- Do a criminal background check on anyone you’re considering as a harvest helper or grow helper. If you see history of violence, fraud, or theft, avoid that person.
- Before you hire marijuana trimming or grow op assistance, check references for every person you’re considering.
- Cloak your identity and the location of your marijuana grow op. For example, meet the marijuana trimming crew in a rental van with blacked out windows in a location away from your grow op. Drive the marijuana trimming crew into a garage at the grow op and shut the door. Prevent the crew from knowing the location of your grow op, or your real identity.
- Pay in cash or bud.
- Weigh your trimmed and untrimmed buds twice a day to prevent pilferage.
- Confiscate cell phones and other Wi-Fi enabled devices from marijuana trimming crew and other grow helpers. Take batteries out. These devices are tracking and surveillance tools.
- Have constant video/audio surveillance outside and inside your grow op. Protect your home with security features.
- Install a metal detector.
- Hire a trusted friend or a licensed/bonded security staffer at the marijuana trimming location at all times when outsiders are there. Or be there yourself. One problem is: security personnel have later turned out to be grow room rippers. Always be ultra-careful before you trust anyone to know you have a grow op, especially if it’s a multi-light operation.
- Consider hiring marijuana trimming or other grow op personnel through a legit marijuana employment agency. See here for an example.
- Take martial arts and threat-defense classes so you acquire physical, cognitive, and intuition skills to detect sketchy people and bad intentions.
- Treat your marijuana trimming crew and grow helpers with respect. Pay them fairly. Provide a comfortable work environment, fair pay, food and beverages.
Straumietis notes that some growers turn to bud-trimming machines.
He says those machines cost a lot, and you may still need to do a hand-trim after using them.
“If you can’t find grow op helpers you’re absolutely 100% sure you can trust, do your cultivation and marijuana trimming all by yourself,” Straumietis advises. “Better to have sore hands and scissors blisters than to get robbed or killed.”