The officer concluded that the thermal signature of the location was consistent with that of someone growing marijuana.
Would the signature have been different had the person been growing hot peppers or tomatoes? No.
I personally believe that the illegality of any intoxicating substance is unconstitutional, and therefore this shouldn't even be an issue. But, it is.
Regardless of the law, marijuana cultivators will always be one step ahead of the authorities. Having worked at a green house, I know quite a bit about indoor cultivation of plants.
Several years ago, companies started releasing liquid-cooled bulbs in both the MH and HPS variety. The true usage is to lower overall heat in a greenhouse, but this is not the common use.
The infrared scanners look for the heat signature of the bulb. The bulbs used for plant cultivation reach incredibly high temperatures. Internal temperatures can reach into the thousands of degrees.
A liquid cooled bulb looks identical to a standard incandescent when viewed with infrared.
Next up is the electricity usage.
How does one equate that high energy usage instantly equals marijuana cultivation? Let's say for example that I like making pottery. I may have one, two, or even three kilns in my house. Each of these uses thousands of watts of electricity, and each releases immense amounts of heat.
I may also have a lot of electronic equipment. At any given time, I have 2 computers, a large TV with a full home theater, my air conditioning, several fans, and several lights on. Is this excessive? Probably. Does it mean I grow marijuana? No.
Last is the anonymous tips. These are garbage. Where is the line drawn and who gauges the accuracy of a tipster's information? If I'm right, and I am, many "Crimestopper" type organizations allow anonymous tipsters to receive cash rewards for information leading to an arrest. So if I am slightly suspect of my neighbor, I can get him subjected to police surveillance? And how many times has an anonymous source in the media been wrong?
I think that any reasonable judge who actually looked at the facts would not allow these "searches" to occur.
I know, I'm all over the map, but I will post more later...