Neighbors Growing Marijuana

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Marijuana Grow House Next Door

Oct 2013

We live in El Cerrito. The house next door is a rental and the owner lives across the street. He is a slumlord. The place is a dump and has had a series of less than desirable renters over the years. The current tenants are (quite obviously) running a grow house. The owner has his son in law acting as 'property manager'. What would be the consequences if we were to turn these people in? While we're not so happy to have a grow house next door we really wish the current tenants no ill will. The owner is another story - we'd love to see him reap the rewards of being a terrible neighbor and lose the property. Anyone out there dealt with this situation? NIMBY, I know.

Anyone with half a brain has the med. marijuana card and stays within the (large) limit allowed. Most of the difficulties would go right to the tenants, and I wouldn't be surprised if the owner has a card as well, but he of course can claim ignorance. Leave it be. It's not crack or meth and you don't know that the next neighbors you would get would be any better. anon

Ask yourself what would happen to you and to your family if someone tried to take marijuana from the grow house next door to your home and the growers defended themselves with guns? For US, for our family, we would have a private meeting with ElCerrito's very-sensible Chief of Police IMMEDIATELY!!!!! And think of safety of other families living nearby who may not know what's going on. Please, do it now!!!!! ElCerrito home owner

I have lived this exact nightmare and I am an EC homeowner. For 2.5 years the house next to our purchased home was being rented and had growers. The landlord was an absentee landlord to boot. We had concerns on many levels. The constant traffic day and night. Smells permeating my backyard and creeping into our bedroom windows. A potential fire hazard with overloaded electrical circuitry. Diminished property value or rental potential of our home. My son's room would reek of smoke due to its proximity to their recreational smoking habits. 7 Cats, 1 large guard dog, and chickens would creep over into my yard because of course there was no room for them at their home.

My husband and I spent hours on the phone and complaining to the city about this. I even went down on several occasions to get face to face with the city officials to complain. We became experts on the building enforcement & city regulations garb that was on the EC website in the hopes of finding some sort of infraction that could be exercised. It was explained to me that they could not do anything about this as our neighbors had no "visible" signs of growing from the street. We took pictures (over 90 mature plants in the backyard) of the visible plants from all of our side/back windows. Finally we escalated the situation to the Contra Costa County DEA. A flyover with a helicopter and a drop in by DEA agents with guns & vests were enough to get this family (yes, a family with 2 children under the age of 6) in the house to re-consider their rental agreement. And I kept calling the landlord and complaining. I believe they mutually agreed not to renew the lease.

I'm sorry to say that you will get no assistance from EC City officials. The EC police are fantastic, but their hands are tied. If the tenants have "legal cards" and are not growing an exorbitant amount of pot they fly under the radar. The CC DEA explained to us that unless they are growing 100's of plants, it's not worth their time to investigate. What finally worked for us was constant interaction, face to face, with both our neighbors and calling the landlord. Get to know the laws and ordinances for the city. You might find an avenue to get these people out. At last the city did end up citing them for not having a permit to raise chickens. I think they knew that this was going to be an uphill battle for them now that the city finally got engaged. Inspections, citations, etc. Persistence is the key. We were cordial and friendly yet ruthless. Best of luck to you.

Knowledge is Key

Neighbors have installed a grow room and pitbulls

Oct 2013

We live in Berkeley in the Leconte area and bought our house a couple years ago. The neighbors (who own their home, alas) recently installed at least one (maybe two) grow rooms along with a couple of very aggressive pit bulls to guard them. The awesome part is that because of a new fence they put up only we can see the grow rooms and dogs. Also, the pit bull run/grow room side is directly outside our kids' bedroom windows (joy!) as well as our family room window. The grow lights shine right in if we don't keep blackout curtains up at night and open windows are NOT an option any more.

The dog run is always kind of horrifying, but I worry it's just shy of being genuinely neglectful. Likewise, I'm pretty sure they have at least two more dogs on the property, but I don't think they have more than four that would put them at odds with the city dog ordinance. And the dogs bark (and fight with each other) frequently at night but not quite enough that we have so far felt like calling the police is appropriate. The grow room(s) may be legal since the dude that lives there has disabled plates his car.

I guess my question is... can I call the police and ask if the grow room is legal? At what point is it appropriate to call about dogs, the condition of their living space, and their barking? Because our kids are small (1 & 3 years) the dogs seriously disturb me and the barking/fighting is definitely frustrating and loud. The grow room doesn't bother me so much except that it results in the dogs, to be honest. I'm likewise concerned that we're the only people that can see this situation. If anyone calls to report them it'll be obvious who did it.

Normally I'm an advocate for talking directly with neighbors when there's a problem, but this seems beyond that and to be honest the few interactions I've had with the neighbors and the people around their house have not filled me with confidence. Does anyone have any advice for us? Tired of the dog fighting, grow lights, and pot stench

There are a few things to watch out for so you CAN call the police..Can you tell if the dogs have constant access to water and food and shelter from heat/cold/harsh weather? If not you can call animal control and they will investigate and the rest will unravel if there is anything illegal going on. Also if you are concerned about the pot you can say that you smell it and that itself is ''bothersome'' enough to call the police (non-emergency of course) and let them know you can smell it and the lights are also bright enough to cause a disturbance. There are very strict rules about how many plants someone can legally grow and all of it is illegal when it comes to the Federal Government..and if its a large grow operation it WILL BE shut down within days. I say this from experience. You can always call and not give your name and you aren't the only neighbor or person in the area so I don't think you would be in any danger of being suspected by the people you are calling about. You and your children have a right to live in your house and not smell pot, those pups have a right to live their lives with people who love them and care for them and although your neighbor may have the right to smoke or even grow his ''medicine'' there is a way to do it not so brashly and to be respectful of you, your children and his community. J

First, let me say that that situation *sucks*. I can see some risk in all the options, so that's really tough. But I lean towards calling both animal control folks and the cops anonymously. If you choose that path, obviously do not start with a conversation with the neighbors. Only you know if this is true, but I would suspect that any number of folks know about their setup in one way or another, whether they can see enough of it or not. I also would not discuss the reporting with the kids around or with other neighbors. I'd do it but keep it on the QT. This is my suggestion because the other option --living with it-- feels dangerous on any number of levels. Anon

If I were you, I would call the police department and ask what your rights are with regards to noise pollution, potentially aggressive dogs, and unbearable bright lights at a time when you and your family need to sleep. Just because your neighbor may have a permit to grow marijuana does not mean he can inflict the conditions on you. He should be the one to put up black-out shades, and curtail his dogs, not you! Good luck! -concerned for your wellbeing

You can look up the city or county ordinance that pertains to the nuisance, copy it and send it to your neighbor. In Alameda County it's considered a nuisance for a dog to bark intermittently or constantly for proscribed amounts of time. I'd not mention the grow room. Might open a real can of worms there. Been there.