Being a good neighbor is something everyone should strive for, whether a cannabis grower or not. But of course, when you’re growing cannabis, being a considerate and likable neighbor behooves you even more. If your grow is legal, you want to make a good impression for the sake of the industry. And if your grow is illegal, well, obviously you want to avoid legal repercussions, or the threat thereof.
The good news is, it’s easy to keep your grow op subtle and unnoticeable with a little effort. Keep sights, smells and sounds to do with your cannabis grow away from snooping neighbors, and follow a few basic precautionary measures to avoid detection and the hassle that comes with it.
How To Keep Your Cannabis Out Of Sight
Perhaps the most obvious of the senses, sight will get you caught every time. Keeping your cannabis grow away from prying eyes is the first step to being a good neighbor. If nearby residents can’t see your grow, they’ll have less to worry about it.
The Location Of Your Crop
The first step to being a good cannabis-growing neighbor comes before you even set up your cannabis grow op. Obviously, this may be too late for some of you, but you can always take it into consideration when expanding your operation or if you’re planning on moving. That step is choosing a discreet and considerate location for your plants.
Whether indoor or outdoor, when you’re setting up your cannabis grow, you should choose a location that is not obvious to your neighbors, or to any visitors to your home or property. Many growers, especially in legal states, throw caution to the wind and set their grows up in main living areas or on areas of their property that are clearly visible to neighbors or guests. Don’t do that if you want to be neighborly. The more obvious you are, the more reason you’re giving your neighbors to take issue and complain. It’s also an invitation to thieves.
Obvious Visible Grow Equipment
This tip is simple: Don’t let your ventilation or other grow equipment hang out of your window, or be obvious in any way. Really not much more to it than that. If people can see your grow equipment, they’ll be more likely to know you’re growing, which leads to fears of robbery and other unsavory potential side effects of growing cannabis, whether real or imagined.
Light Leakage From Your Grow Op
For indoor growers, avoiding light leaks is a best practice not only in order to be a good neighbor, but for the quality of your cannabis, and the effectiveness of your grow op as well. Preventing light leak can be achieved in a number of ways. Grow tents, Panda Film, Mylar, and good old-fashioned, high-quality construction are the name of the game in preventing light leakage. Your space and budget will dictate which products and methods you choose to keep all the light emanating from your grow where it should be: Directed onto your plants.
Cleaning Up Your Cannabis Garbage
Nothing will piss off and alert your neighbors to your grow faster than having obvious cannabis trash sitting out on the street. Whether stinky, bulky plant remnants, large quantities of grow medium, or large boxes or containers with the names of cannabis grow equipment or nutrients plastered all over, if you have cannabis grow-related trash, don’t make it obvious. Either dump it elsewhere or break it down so it’s not visible to passersby. Especially in low-income neighborhoods, cannabis-related trash will attract those who want marijuana but don’t have access, and sketchy looking-folks digging through your trash is never a good look.
Use as much of the plant matter as you can, compost if possible, bury it, take it off-site, or if you must dump on-site, make sure it is sealed tight in smell-proof bags so no one can tell what’s in it.
How To Hide The Smell Of Your Cannabis Grow
How many times have you been walking down the street, when the obvious scent of a healthy cannabis grow hits your nose? Whenever that happens, my first instinct is to turn my head around to try to identify which house or building is responsible for the lovely aroma making its way to the road.
Unfortunately, not everyone has this reaction — especially when it’s a neighbor whose house the scent is constantly emanating from. So, be a good member of the community and take the proper steps to avoid this common cannabis-growing conundrum.
Using Cannabis Carbon Filters
They say fences make good neighbors, but when it comes to cannabis growing, it’s carbon filters that really make the best neighbors. A good carbon filter is perhaps the most important factor in keeping your cannabis grow discreet, and subsequently your neighbors blissfully unaware. There are tons of carbon filters to choose from, with strengths and sizes to fit any grow size and budget. Do some research and shop around to find the right carbon filter for your grow.
Keeping your cannabis grow properly ventilated and odor-free is essential for security, as well as keeping neighbors happy. However, one thing to keep in mind is that the filters need to be changed fairly regularly for maximum effectiveness.
Adding Odor Neutralizers To Your Grow
When it comes to smell control in cannabis grows, odor neutralizers are a lesser known yet incredibly effective addition to carbon filters. Odor neutralizers come in spray, block and gel forms, which all work well, though the blocks and gels require less work. While odor neutralizers shouldn’t be used in a grow room itself or near ventilation, they can be used outside.
Strain Choices That Aren’t So On The Nose
If you’re growing outdoors, living in a tightly populated area, or have particularly nosey neighbors, sometimes the aforementioned methods may not be enough. If that’s the case, you might need to carefully consider the cannabis strains you’re growing. Avoid Kush, diesels, and other more traditional, loud, strong cannabis-scented strains. Instead, go for floral, or fruity strains. Choosing strains carefully can help keep nose-sensitive neighbors at bay.
How To Hide The Sound Of Your Cannabis Grow
Once you’ve considered sight and smell, sound is the next sense you should consider in your quest to not drive your neighbors insane. Having industrial-level noises humming at all hours will tip off your neighbors that something is going on at your place. Whether or not they realize that “something” is cannabis growing, they’ll definitely be suspicious. So, take the following steps to reduce noise pollution.
Ventilation In Your Grow Op
Noisy ventilation is annoying for everyone. Even if it’s not driving your neighbors up the wall, it’s sure to bother you and those in your household listening to a loud constant hum day in, day out.
One way to keep the noise down is to make sure your duct fan is the correct rating for your space. To figure that out, use this cubic feet per minute calculator. To get the correct calculation, you’ll need to know the exact dimensions of your grow space, and keep in mind that the air in your grow room should be exchanged every five to eight minutes.
Another trick to keeping your ventilation quiet is using a muffler on your exit ducts. Mufflers can be purchased or assembled for a variety of budgets, so know your options. If you can afford it, fabric and/or insulated ducting is another good choice for reducing noise. Finally, enclosing fans in wooden boxes, and using bungee cords to suspend the fans, will keep the noise isolated to the grow room and not vibrating through the floors, walls or ceiling.
Ballasts For Your Grow Lights
Ballasts for high pressure sodium lights can also make a distinct buzzing noise that is annoying, especially if you live in close quarters. There isn’t much you can do about reducing that buzz, as it just kind of comes with the territory. Luckily, the buzzing is fairly easy to drown out with other noises, so putting a TV or stereo between the ballast and outdoor or shared wall can help obscure the noise. Another option is switching from a magnetic ballast to a digital one. Digital ballasts are much quieter.
Soundproofing Your Grow Op
If you’ve done what you can to get the ventilation and ballast noise down, but you still need it to be quieter, the last step is soundproofing.
Soundproofing your grow room is the same as soundproofing any room. If you own your home, you can build sound panels, make sure the room is properly insulated, and use soundproof materials on the walls and floor. If you rent, there are some less-permanent solutions you can employ, like rubber floor underlays, vinyl curtains, pyramid panel acoustical foam, and sealing up all cracks with acoustically rated caulk.
Other Considerations For Keeping Your Grow Room Under The Radar
Aside from making sure your neighbors can’t see, smell or hear your grow op, there are some other important factors to remember to keep your grow hidden, and your neighbors pleased.
Keep Traffic To A Minimum
Avoid having lots of people in and out of your house, especially at odd hours. This will not only help avoid suspicion, but also help keep down the number of people who may potentially find out about your grow.
Don’t tell anyone you don’t completely trust about your grow. Even if it’s legal, there’s always a potential for theft. Loose lips sink ships, and the more people who know about your grow, the more likely you are to run into problems. Also, the fewer people who know about your grow altogether, the less likely your neighbors are to find out.
And Above All, Be A Good Neighbor!
If people like you, they’re less likely to question you. So, one hot tip for making your neighbors happy: Don’t be an asshole. Don’t park in their spot. Don’t play loud music or have loud parties, or get into loud fights at your house. If you get invited to a neighborhood event, show up and bring something nice. Just be friendly in general. While that alone might not keep you out of trouble in the neighborhood, it certainly won’t hurt. And it might just win you enough allies to make the difference. If your neighbors know you and like you, they’ll be more likely to call you instead of the cops.