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Explore A Huge Arizona Medical Marijuana Grow Operation Read More: Http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/state/explore-A-Huge-Arizona-Medical-Marijuana-Grow-


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PHOENIX - Medical marijuana shops are on the verge of popping up all over Arizona, but there are already thousands of people growing their own marijuana around the Valley.


Approximately 16,300 people have licenses to cultivate the drug for personal use, and for other medical users; that means there's a good chance there's one in your neighborhood.


So, what does a "grow house" look like?


ABC15 toured what is believed to be the largest growing operation in Arizona.


For the safety of the growers, their identities and location are being withheld. The home they grow their medical marijuana in looks perfectly normal from the outside, but inside there is an extremely sophisticated green house. Every room is packed tightly with dozens of Cannabis plants in different stages of growth.


"Everything about it is a science,” one of the growers told ABC15. “If you don't do it right and you don't do the right steps to ensure the plants’ health and completion, then you're going to waste a lot of time and a lot of money."


The rooms are temperature controlled, as humid as a rain forest, and carry a strong organic smell. From the outside of the home, you cannot tell what’s going on inside.


The growers say everything they’re doing is completely legal under Arizona law. They have state-issued medical marijuana licenses, and all of the necessary paperwork for the approved patients they grow for.


As a medical marijuana patient under Arizona law, users are entitled to 12 plants all to themselves.


However, if the users are also licensed to grow marijuana for other patients, they can have as much as six times that amount.


Marijuana growers are often targeted by robbers and thieves looking to sell the drug on the street.


In fact, the house ABC15 toured was robbed once before, and all of the marijuana stolen.


"We've had police officers, including the DEA in here,” the growers said as a result of the incident.


Twenty-four-hour manned security is one of the sacrifices the growers make to protect themselves.


The couple grows for themselves and 10 other patients. They legally are growing more than 100 plants.


"We have ‘Sour O.G.’, we have ‘Dark Star’, that's a really new blend with a lot of medical benefits," the growers said, pointing out the different varieties they produce.


Some of the couple’s plants give stronger highs, others have special flavors.


"If you take a whiff of that, it smells like blueberry,” the growers said, showing off a particular plant. “It’s very popular."


The growers say it's unfortunate some people may get into this business for the wrong reasons, but they believe the benefits of medical marijuana far exceed the negatives.


"It's not that big dark drug the government wants you to believe it is. It's not. In fact, it's the opposite."


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Well, looking on the bright side, there is no doubt that things have changed exponentially in the past 10 years. We will soon hit the "tipping point" where the authorities will have no choice but to accept cannabis use and legalize it. Looking beyond that day, it is fun to imagine what life will be like. Only 25% of the population use cannabis now. Since the substance is quite easy to obtain right now, it is reasonable to assume that cannabis use will not go above the 25% barrier already in place. People who consume now have adapted to the effects so there won't be (as many prohibitionist fear) spaced out zombies ruining life as they know it for the straight citizens. So, life will go on as it does now and the average person on the street will not even notice a difference after cannabis is legalized. It is a pity that they are unable to grasp this fact right now.

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