Last year, more marijuana grow houses were seized in Florida than in any other state. Florida law enforcement agencies raided 818 houses.
Police believe that growers are rewiring homes to steal electricity from utility lines to avoid suspiciously high electric bills, police said. The indoor nurseries suck energy to run air conditioning units and 1,000-watt light bulbs, which help speed up plant cycles.
Law enforcement officials have pushed to toughen penalties for marijuana growers, and state legislators in 2008 passed the Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act. It it a second-degree felony to grow more than 24 plants, lowering the previous 300 minimum.
Police often rely on tips from neighbors.
Those accused of growing marijuana in their own homes can be charged with trafficking in marijuana if the number of plants meets the trafficking amount, which is determined by statute.
Like all trafficking offenses in the State of Florida, trafficking in marijuana is punishable by mandatory prison time.