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June 10, 2002
Using My Powers For Evil... And Profit
Everybody knows someone who's tried it, who is doing it, or has been, does, and will be doing it until they're sent up to the big bong in the sky. Yup, I'm talking weed, Mary Jane, pot, marijuana, whatever you care to call it. It's a pretty common drug, considered "harmless" to some, others simply calling it "recreational".
The region I live in (Not Toronto) is apparently quite familiar with marijuana. Over the past three (or maybe more) years, home grow busts have been big, numerous, and not slowing down in the least. Recently one immigrant family was busted and a dozen houses they owned seized, all of which were being used in pot growing operations, most with illegal hydro bypasses.
It wasn't until fairly recently that I understood the allure of the home grow operation. An ex-coworker who hails from British Columbia (nod, wink) educated me on the value of a good pot plant. He claims to have known people who grew plants in their house, a dozen at a time. All these guys did was purchase a home grow kit for $3000 that included everything they required to grow plants, set it up, and let the money roll in. Every time it was time to harvest, someone would come to their door, harvest the plants, and pay them between $7000 and $8000. Lemme repeat that, seven to eight grand for a dozen plants. I can't remember the exact amount of time that was needed to grow another batch, but I think it was on the order of a few weeks. So, worst case would be $7000 every month, or $84000 per year. That's way more than I can earn honestly, especially if you start increasing the number of plants one grows at a time.
Don't think that I've only started thinking about this since I became unemployed. I will admit that not having a job has brought the thought of a renewable source of cash to the forefront of my thoughts at times. I've got space I'm not using right now, why not live off it? (Heck, I could even write off part of my mortgage as a business expense! Hah!!) However, that amount of money is alluring to just about anyone still making a living. Knowing how much one could make in an illegal and moderately immoral operation could draw just about anyone eager enough to make a buck out of honest work and into a life of intrigue and buckets of cash. I'm sure it's even more of a draw to someone living paycheque to paycheque.
A friend of mine told me about an Australian woman who was arrested here in Canada running a home grow operation. Supposedly she answered a classified ad in a local (Australia local, that is) paper that said, "Move to Canada, grow pot, earn $1 million a year!" She did, and was here for two years before she was busted. Over the two years she managed to put $2 million away for herself in a bank back home. She spent six weeks in jail and was then deported back to Australia, where she would have no criminal record (the crime was committed in Canada) and $2 million to spend. She was in her mid 20's, and was essentially set for life.
The one problem with home grow operations is that they are detectable. Growing pot inside a sealed house is much less detectable than having a field of it growing in the middle of a stand or corn, but it can still be found. Along side the write-up about the above-mentioned immigrant family there was a ten point "how to recognize a marijuana home grow operation" article. As far as I can remember, the major points were:
As I read through this list, I found myself thinking of ways to avoid each and every point, trying to make a pot house undetectable. (In fact, while editing this article more ideas came to mind, and improvements on other ideas occurred to me.) The only deterrent to implementing my ideas I found was money. Well, with high quality plants bringing many thousands of dollars each, it certainly wouldn't be hard to recoup one's investment in short order.
- The house emits a skunky smell, or one permeates the neighbourhood.
- You notice lots of growing materials and equipment being brought into the house.
- The maintenance of the ground is all but ignored. (This also means it's simply a student rental in my city.)
- The occupants enter and exit through garage only, exiting with large plastic garbage bags.
- The house has an illegal hydro bypass.
- The occupants either keep odd hours, or nobody appears to live there.
I find myself wanting to list each idea point-by-point (just so you can all see how smart I am), but perhaps in the spirit of not promoting drugs, I won't divulge them at this point. Or, in the spirit of a possible future business opportunity, I'll keep my trade secrets to myself. I won't be so egotistical as to think that I'm the only person in the world who has thought of these ideas, however. Anyone with sufficient creativity and knowledge of what's available should be able to come up with something equal or better than I have. Maybe there are operations that are already at this next level of invisibility, and we don't know about them simply because their precautions have worked so effectively.
Looking onto my left shoulder, I see the little horned red version of myself sipping a tall raspberry daiquiri and saying, "Hey, great! You can blow off your job search, and set yourself and your family up quite nicely! What's the problem? Get some weed connections and start growing, man!" Were it only so simple. The little haloed white version of me on my right shoulder keeps chiming in "Do you really want to ally yourself with the drug trade? Have you thought of the moral implications of supplying marijuana?"
The whole argument is probably moot anyway. Not only would I have to convince myself that it's worthwhile to do and not detrimental to anyone, but I would have to convince my wife of the same thing. Then I would somehow magically get to know people who buy and sell pot and become a supplier to them. Oh, and I'd have to come up with a plausible explanation for my friends and family as to why I'm not looking for work anymore, and how I manage to not only maintain but improve my lifestyle as a result. Maybe I'll just tell them I won the lottery.
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