Green Team looks to nip outdoor crops in the bud

Local marijuana growers are more often nurturing their illegal crops outdoors by using better agricultural techniques to grow the plants in fields or in wooded areas, say officials from the Edmonton RCMP’s Green Team.

But the Green Team is also getting better at spotting and nipping outdoor grow ops in the bud, as its officers have seized close to 17,700 plants in 2006 thanks to tips from neighbouring land owners.

Growers are finding opportunities to grow the plants across the province that can sometimes be found in remote areas like old homesteads located close to water sources, said the RCMP.


Those operators are now growing plants much more quickly by limiting a crop’s exposure to daylight by using dark-coloured tarps, say police.

The quick grow allows the plants to be harvested anywhere from early July to the first frost, according to the RCMP.

But neighbouring land­owners are continuing to keep a watchful eye and calling the Green Team and Crime Stoppers when they suspect an outdoor grow op.

“For every 10 tips we receive, we successfully take down two grow ops,” said RCMP Cpl. Rick Goldstein of the Green Team.

Goldstein says landowners can spot outdoor grow-ops by watching suspicious activities along tree and bush lines that could include the digging of shallow post holes for pot plants.

Once a landowner notices these signs, they can call the Green Team at 780-412-5530 or Crimestoppers, said Goldstein.

“If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and smells like a duck, chances are it’s probably a duck,” said Goldstein.

Smelly signs

  • Other signs of outdoor grow ops include strong, skunk-like odours and low-tarped structures in unusual locations.