Monday August 9, 2021

By Trevor Ross

Growing

Growing cannabis has become a popular pastime across the nation, but every state has different regulations regarding security for a personal cultivation setup. Every grower should familiarize themselves with the regulations in their area (each state that allows cannabis cultivation will provide its own guidelines), but wherever you are, you should begin thinking about security measures to keep you, and your garden, protected. Here are some options, ranging from better-than-nothing budget options to commercial-grade surveillance systems.

Personal Security Systems for Growing Cannabis

Multiple-camera security systems can be plucked from a retail shelf for an affordable price, installed yourself, and offer as much customization as most growers could ask for. Cameras can be placed wherever you choose, and most of them link to an online server that can be monitored from your phone or other central screen. Recorded clips can also protect you if the law ever gets involved by proving your security was state-compliant.

Simplisafe is a popular personal security option. Their starter set is a comprehensive nine pieces — including entry sensors, motion sensors, and one camera — for $240, with optional professional monitoring for $15/month. Wyze is a great budget option. A starter pack with six motion sensors begins at $99, with monthly monitoring for just $5/month. 

Simplsafe's security starter set
Simplisafe is a common security option for cannabis growers. photo credit

If these systems are too comprehensive for your space, you can also strip down to a few well-placed cameras. For less than $40, you could get a Wyze camera with a two-way microphone, siren, and 14 days of cloud storage. This option will not be live-monitored by a third party, but if all you need are eyes, a solution like this can’t be beat.

Arlo offers an outdoor camera with siren, 2k streaming, and syncs with Alexa and Google assistants. It offers a few other perks, but for a steeper price, as Arlo cameras require a proprietary central hub to control.

Professional Security for Cultivation Facilities

Professional security systems are more comprehensive, and are always monitored by a third-party company, who can intervene on your behalf. For that reason, they are more often used by commercial operations. That said, if you have a large or particularly valuable home operation, it’s not unreasonable to consider an option of this caliber.

Comcast boasts a popular and comprehensive security system that includes entry sensors, motion sensors, and cameras for $20 per month. For around $40 per month, a company like Vivint can offer all of that plus automated locks.

Infographic: Cannabis Grow Security Systems. Camera: monitor and record video of your garden. Sensors: Detect break-ins as they happen. Streaming: Check-in real-time. Locks Close up shop for the day from anywhere, or open the doors for the watering crew. Cloud/drive: Monitor and record video of your garden.

Beyond that, the perks extend to car protection and further home automation, which would not necessarily help your grow op, but may integrate your op into your larger security system.

Unlike DIY systems, these companies will come out and install the system and monitor it for you. Assuming you are not in the area at the time of an alarm, they can also contact law enforcement on your behalf. This makes it an attractive option for people administering grow operations from a different area.

Other Protection Strategies for Marijuana Growers

Dogs are not as effective as proper security systems — they cannot record evidence or communicate details, and they cannot contact law enforcement — but most trespassers still won’t test their teeth. In fact, in a recent survey of former burglars, it was agreed that barking dogs were a potent deterrent. Don’t get a dog simply for the sake of guarding your cannabis, but if you’re already in the market for a furry friend, think about something with a big bark. 

Don’t forget to walk around your perimeter and get a view of your grow in different stages. As plants get bigger and lighting schedules change, the jungle in your window or the bright purple glow at 10 p.m. may attract unnecessary attention.

A black dog
If you are looking for a less high-tech source of security, a dog can be a great way to keep tresspassers away from your plants.

But privacy means more than concealing it from view — remember to cover your scent as well. Some neighbors may not mind the floral musk, but other areas aren’t so welcoming. Be sure to use carbon filters in any exhaust systems, and ventilate your cultivation room as best you can.

Sound should be less of an issue, but remember fans and hydroponic pumps will emit constant hums. If you can hear it through a wall, so can your neighbors.

Conclusion

One of the most essential parts of security is also the most basic: part of securing your plants is simply not telling everyone about them. It’s an exhibiting hobby, especially in the beginning stages, but many growers will tell you to limit how much you broadcast it. Keep your shades drawn, and your mouth shut. Consider for a moment how many people actually need to know about your plants.

Nanny cams and baby monitors may also offer surveillance, if not protection. But the best ones on the market are similar in price — or more — than some of the home security options listed above.

There are more nuanced options between these, and the area you live in, even the room you grow in, will dictate which system works best for you. Be sure to learn your local security measures and remain in compliance. The measures may feel extreme (or not), but you will rest easier knowing your plants, and your eventual harvest, are secure.


What do you find to be the best security options for your grow? Share in the comments!


Trevor Ross Trevor Ross

Trevor Ross is a writer, medical marijuana patient and cannabis advocate. He holds an MFA in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has previously worked as a copywriter, a teacher, a bartender, and followed Seattle sports for SidelineBuzz. Originally from Washington state, you can find him now working in his garden or restoring his house in Scranton, PA, and he can be reached through LinkedIn.



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