- March 7, 2017
- Posted by: Keith Graves
- Category: Cannabis, Officer Safety, Police
Indoor Marijuana Grows & the Dangers to Police Officers
Marijuana grows have been proliferating across the nation. A full one third of that pot comes from indoor marijuana grows. In a recent Canadian study, researchers found that law enforcement officers had suffered illnesses and injuries with grow operations. Some common effects reported included headaches, nausea, breathing difficulties, sinus congestion, sinus irritation and skin rash. In some cases, officers have been seriously hurt and injured and suffered injuries that could have ended their careers.
Getting Sick from Indoor Marijuana Grows
Several officers (and some evidence technicians and property room personnel) have been exposed to molds that are life threatening. A research team from National Jewish Health entered 30 illegal grow operations and found 40 percent of them had levels that would be classified as an indoor air quality problem. Officers have been suffering respiratory injuries from these molds that have put them in a hospital for months at a time. These officers weren’t spending all day in the grow. Some of them were merely responding to calls for service and spent minimal time and still got sick.
But, officers are also getting sick from toxins from fertilizers and other contaminants on the marijuana. According to NES, a company providing safety training for police officers across the country, an officer worked in a large grow (1500 plants) for nearly 5 hours. At the end of the shift the officer noticed a small finger cut. The following day, the officer was suffering from chills and sweat and over time experienced sore and swollen ankles, tight calves, sore joints, and muscle twitching. After visiting a physician and eventually an internist, it was determined the officer suffer pesticide poisoning.
Protective Equipment Needed for Indoor Marijuana Grows
So what can you do to protect yourself? You should not enter and indoor grow unless you absolutely have to. If you do enter, it is recommended that you wear protective clothing that would include a full face APR with a P100 respirator at a minimum, gloves (nitrile dipped gloves), Tyvek disposable suits, boots, and decontamination when you are done. I understand that this goes against “the way we have done things.” However, we can now show that officers are getting seriously sick from indoor grows. We must act now to protect those officers by giving them the proper equipment to protect themselves.
A common excuse I hear from police personnel dealing with marijuana grows is, “It’s just weed.” We all comment to each other about how much marijuana has changed over the years and that, “It is not your granddad’s weed anymore.” Your right! It’s not! They increased the marijuana’s potency by using harmful chemicals that are getting cops sick. Protect yourself and your crew and start gearing up when you dismantle indoor grows.
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