Three medical marijuana growing operations in Maine have been targeted by thieves in the last two weeks, leaving one grower hospitalized with injuries.
The crime spree is now raising questions about the security around grow sites and the safety of the people who farm them.
Catherine Lewis and her husband Glenn are two of the roughly 1500 licensed medical marijuana growers in Maine. They say the recent crimes against growers in Winterport, Standish and Lewiston have made them nervous.
"It makes me more than nervous," said Catherine Lewis. "It strikes fear in my heart, especially if you have a family."
In Winterport, state police say three men made off with armfuls of mature plants by impersonating law enforcement officers.
In Standish, a grower was hospitalized after police say two men, Clyde Humiston of Portland and Justin Vadas of Gray, attacked him and sprayed him with pepper spray in an attempt to steal his plants.
Police say the crimes point to Maine's substance abuse problem and the fact that there's a market for high quality marijuana.
"My advice is the same as anyone with prescribed narcotics. You need to keep it locked up and out of view and tell and let very few people know you're in possession of it," said Lt. Aaron Hayden with the Maine State Police.
The Catherine and Glenn Lewis says they already have security cameras, locks, and bars on the doors. Now they're going a step further.
"We've actually hired a security firm to go through the grow area to make it more secure," said Catherine Lewis.
Growers say the best way to reduce crimes around medical marijuana is to legalize it.
"Once they legalize it, it will be much less desirable for people," Catherine Lewis added.
Until that day comes, however, they'll be tightening security around their indoor farm, knowing people will go to desperate measures to get their product.