Dear Mother,

What do I do if my plants have been stolen (other than cry and yell at the universe)?

— Green Thumb


Dear Green Thumb,

Since you’re writing to me, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you are not in a state where you can legally grow your own cannabis plants (or if you are, you might not have the legal certification to do so). Because if it is legal where you are, after all the painstaking work you put into the grow, I’d be marching right down to the police station to complain about the theft!

Let’s just say for a minute that you are not legally allowed to grow cannabis in your situation. That makes it tricky to report the theft. So, what recourse are you left with? To be honest, there’s not much you can do now. And that sucks.

If you have any idea of who could have stolen the plants, you may want to start there. If growing in your area is legal—even if you yourself are not be legally allowed—that could provide you with some leverage when it comes to confronting potential suspects. They probably have no idea of your status and might take the threat of you talking to the police seriously enough to return the plants. But let’s be honest: Anyone who’s ballsy/stupid enough to steal cannabis plants in the first place probably won’t be swayed by such a threat—at least not positively, and your life is more valuable than your plants, so be careful. In the end, it’s probably best to just accept your loss and move on.

To help with that, let’s smoke one in memory of your snatched plants. (I’ll share some with you for now.) And then let’s focus on what you can do for protection in the future, when you plant your next crop.

Ideally, if you can grow in a greenhouse setting, you’ll already be upping your security by not just by planting them outside in the open. While greenhouses are definitely not foolproof—even with a bunch of complicated locks—the time it would take someone to break in, accompanied by the loud noise of actually doing so might be enough of a deterrent for some.

Otherwise, look into security measures that both deter and prevent somebody coming and harvesting your crop before you do. There are a variety of security systems to look into. I would suggest finding one that will alert you if anyone steps on an area of your property where they shouldn’t be.

A motion detector that sets off a loud noise could work as a great deterrent, but make sure to set the alarms up in a way so they won’t be going off for every squirrel, bird, or raccoon that walks past. There are also systems that can text or email you anytime they detects motion. And, of course, there’s always the good old video camera system. It’s not the best prevention tool if you’re not continuously monitoring the plants, but it will at least help you track down the culprits.

Other folks have been known to use electric fences, firecrackers, nail lines to blow out tires, dogs, and more. All of those sound more fit for somebody preparing for the end of times, but your mileage may vary.

Bottom line: Learn from this sad event and do your best to protect any future plants. And pray that the guilty party pees themselves from coughing too hard on the bud they burgled from you.

— Mother