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Here's a new one for the times:

Here's a new one for the times:

(OP)
The company I work for has asked me to design an HVAC system for an indoor cannabis growing facility. The money involved is blinding everyone associated to the fact that the Federal Government still considers it illegal. The clients are very colorful to say the least. The guy financing the project is a rich kid who has done time for trafficking a controlled substance in the past. The manager is a former car salesman. I want to run away screaming! How do you end up in this situation you ask? I work for an A. e. firm! Please give me some ammunition so I can tell these people that I just want to support my family by working on reputable projects.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

If the service you are providing is legal (consult your attorney for the best answer to that), and your work performed in accordance with adopted codes/ethics/etc, then enjoy the well-funded client while you can!

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

2
First of all, depending on the location of this facility could determine it legal status. Since some States have allowed for this type of operation, which probably requires getting appropriate licenses, the actual design of a HVAC system shouldn't be an issue. I think the big issues are
1. Is this facility going to be a legitimate enterprise or criminal.
2. Does the owner have the appropriate permtis; and if not, are they eligible for attaining one.
3. Are these the type of clients we want?
4. What legal issues could develop if this facility is operated illegally?
5. What assurrances are there that you'll get paid for the design (ask for money up front)?

If the problem you have is with the cannabis operations in general, how would you feel for desigining for the following:
1. Beer/liqour company
2. Pharmacutical company
3. Crematorium for funeral home or dog pound

Finally, you have every right to tell your employer that you don't want to design for this operation. Unfortunately, it may cost you your job.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

4
The money is green, and the product is green. So you are contributing to the environmental effort with a green design here. No worries.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Great response... a star for Mikey...

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Now all they need is green hemp beer for St. Paddy's Day.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

4
Just say no.
Problem solved.
It's that easy.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Do the project, wait for them to "stock up", then make an anonymous tip to the local police. wink

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Why? They'd just put in their evidence room, then steal burn the evidence.

Mike McCann, PE, SE


RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Job security... if you do a good job, they'll come back to you for a design of the next factory smile

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

2
These folks probably already have scumbag lawyers and scumbag accountants protecting their interests. If you want to be their scumbag engineer, go for it.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

7

Quote (hokie66)

These folks probably already have scumbag lawyers and scumbag accountants protecting their interests. If you want to be their scumbag engineer, go for it.

Funny... if pot was declared legal tomorrow (and considering several states already declare it as legal, that isn't off the mark), would he be considered a scumbag engineer then? Seems a bit arrogant to impress your viewpoint of the world on others and judge them so harshly.

Such a fickle society. "He's doing something illegal (but not necessarily morally wrong, like pot)? He's a scumbag! He's doing something morally wrong (but not illegal, like fleecing home mortgages and banking system)? Hope he's commanding a good salary!"

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

MacGyvers,

You can call me arrogant if you want, but I don't resile from my statement about drug criminals and those who aid and abet their criminality.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

8
If it's legal in your jurisdiction, according to state law, then it's legal.

If you have personal qualms about doing the work, that's fine, just say so to your employers.

There's no need for namecalling or running around pretending to be special.

Make sure you list your personal ethical guidelines for your employers for all future work. Will you do hvac systems for abortion clinics? how about meat packing plants? do you think burning fossil fuels is a crime against humanity? Make sure you keep track of your ethical guidelines, so you can keep them consistent.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

After what happened in 2008 and the revelations of the financial crap that took place prior to that, I have serious reservations with working with large banks in any fashion.

That being said, it is impossible in this system to separate banks from it. Even private investors have bank accounts, so you are going to run into it eventually somewhere in the food chain.

So, it just becomes a matter of where your personal and professional morals and ethics draw the line. Everyone has his or her own limit and agenda. I know I do.

Mike McCann, PE, SE


RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Quote (hokie66)

You can call me arrogant if you want, but I don't resile from my statement about drug criminals and those who aid and abet their criminality.
So it makes no difference to you that in some areas said drug is legal, including growing it?

Just seems like a very myopic viewpoint... you don't like the drug, despite it being legal in some areas, so anyone who goes near the project is a scumbag.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

MacGyvers,
I will call it even. I called the drug criminals and those who aid and abet "scumbags", and you implied that I am "arrogant" and "myopic". I know that a few US states, and some countries, have declared marijuana to be legal, but I have seen the harm, and think these laws very unwise, unless the use is restricted to medicine.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

3
hokie - is the harm greater than alcohol? Be sure to include drunk drivers in your analysis, and subtract out the harm caused by simply being illegal. Remember, if it's legal - you're not funding violent drug gangs, you're just buying the product at a store.

To my eye, it certainly looks like there is dramatically more harm from alcohol - but it's legal.

Do only scumbags design HVAC systems for bars?

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

2
I would work for a beer company.
I would work for a tobacco company.
I would work for a liquor distillery.
I would work for a pharmaceutical company.
I would work for a firearms manufacturer.
I would work for a casino.

I would not work for any of these companies if I thought there was some reason the project might get shut down by the fickle whims of the government, and leave me with outstanding invoices and no way to collect on them.

Therefore, I would work for a marijuana company in Colorado or Washington State, but not in Washington DC or California.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

If one is conscientiously objecting to something, the money shouldn't even be a factor. If it is, then your principles are flawed, or at least not as sound as what you have lead yourself to believe. How can say "I don't believe in that, unless the money is really good" ?!?!

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

TomDOT,
I agree that abuse of alcohol causes a tremendous level of harm, and doubtless more than marijuana. But at least in western societies where alcohol is legal and marijuana is illegal, the use of alcohol must be many times that of marijuana, I think. Drink driving is illegal, and it is one of the abuses of alcohol which cause harm. Alcohol also has social benefits, while at least in my opinion, marijuana does not. Experimentation with marijuana leads to experimentation with other drugs like ice, and that is a terrible downhill path. I am just not going to support illegality...not sure where the OP is located, so I don't know the actual legality or otherwise, but he did indicate that he considered the proposed project to be disreputable.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Hokie,
Thanks for clarifying. I agree about not supporting (or being involved in) illegality.

I don't buy the "slippery slope" where marijuana is a gateway drug, except possibly where it is seen as disproving the message of the War on Drugs, since marijuana it is generally harmless (or less harmful than tobacco, anyway). I can see where the attitude of "the authorities lied about marijuana, so they are probably lying about all the drugs" can be a problem or "gateway" - I don't think it is anything inherent in marijuana.

On a personal note, I do drink on occasion, don't smoke, and have never tried marijuana or other illegal drugs. My brother is an addict - but it's alcohol and prescription meds. I apparently ended up with a very different biochemistry, as prescription narcotics do less for me than ibuprofin - discovered that after my jaw surgery.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

If we hold safety to be paramount, where would we be if all of us refused? A non-code compliant DIY installation will not enhance safety at all. And if this is medical grow facility (also federally illegal), improper HVAC could lead to crop failure and insufficient medicine for those who depend on it. If the money is so good, get it up front. I hear banking can be an issue.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Stvenal is correct, i know that banks and credit cards will not touch weed-money. This is a problem in Colorado and has spured many new industries. A good 'Vice' documentary on it. But back to the discussion. If the operation is legal but state standards i do not think it is a problem to design. Maybe you can design and look at it as an internal green house, not as a "Weed Growing Facility".

I'd ask the lawyers, if they are comfortable then ask your gut as you will be the one who has to sleep at night.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Straying from the thread of the OP . . . RE the slippery slope and gateway argument: I don't think it needs to be a gateway, Mary Jane is bad enough in its own rite. Stoners and habitual users do not tend to be the epitome of productive and clear thinking citizens or employees. I've had to supervise several over the course of my career, and the most common sense solution at the end of the day was to weed them out, no pun intended. Could care less if some consider it discrimination, I won't have anyone under the influence of anything on my plant floor. That includes the time it takes for residual effect to wear off.

While alcohol and tobacco have their problems, MJ is a double whammy that gets your brain and cardio/pulmonary with a single regimen. As an aside I find it somewhat humorous and interesting that so-called medical users are mostly against the concept of taking extracted compounds orally, they prefer the smoked version. Long term, I do not believe perceived benefits of these medical legislations are going to outweigh negative effect. Culturally, it DOES become a gateway in the sense that, for parents and educators, it has simply moved a standard-point one increment toward the area in which we do not want our children (and society) to venture. MJ today, hash tomorrow, opiates next week. Hey, what the hell, lets legalize meth and PCP while we're at it.

Rant over, back to the thread of the OP, in the end, no one can mandate or impose morality or ones interpretation of it, the choice comes from within. Be true to thyself. (Bill S. in Hamlet c.1599)

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Eric, don't lawyers sleep at night, too?

"On the human scale, the laws of Newtonian Physics are non-negotiable"

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

DWallace, Vampires don't sleep at night! bigsmile

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Marijuana is only a gateway drug because of it's illegality.

Imagine if we lived during prohibition. You want a bottle of wine for Thanksgiving dinner, but in order to buy it, you have to go to a drug dealer since it's illegal and not sold in stores. The drug dealer says, "Why yes, I can sell you a bottle of wine. I can also get you some cocaine to help focus your preparations, and some opium to help relax once all those pesky relatives are out of your house." In this scenario, use of cocaine and opium would go up relative to where it is now, and everyone would call wine a 'gateway drug.'

Likewise, there's the issue of relative drug strength. This scenario plays out every day in the United States:

1) Teen drinks beer. Teen gets drunk. Teen feels like crap the next day. Teen is fine the day after that. Teen is not instantly addicted to beer.

2) Teen smokes marijuana. Teen gets high. Teen feels quite a bit better the next day than he did after drinking. Teen is not instantly addicted to marijuana.

3) Teen deduces that the drug laws of the United States are arbitrarily drawn and not from any sort of common sense approach, which is true. Teen then infers that perhaps other drugs aren't any worse for him than beer or marijuana.

4) Teen smokes meth. (details clipped out) Teen dies 3 years later in a gutter.

Yes, there are very bad drugs out there. Yes they should stay illegal. Yes we should continue to prevent teens from trying them, because the very bad drugs remove your ability to make your own decisions. Marijuana is not one of those drugs, and its illegality is what creates the gateway to those drugs.

All that said, I wouldn't touch a marijuana client in California or Washington DC, even though marijuana is legal there, because the fickle whims of government have not settled down there yet. Medicinal growers in CA are still being busted by the feds, leaving all their investors and other business relations swinging in the breeze. The same is not true of Washington state or Colorado, though, because their state governments have been much more focused on developing codes and ordinances that work, and that blend well with the demands of the federal authorities.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

First, it's marijuana, next, it's nipples on television.

Blood, guts, and gore, they're ok though.

Weird society, isn't it?

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Breast feeding isn't disgusting, it's rude-unless you bring enough for everyone.

Gateway drug? What century are you from?

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

"Breastfeeding is now considered "disgusting.""

By some, perhaps even "most". Silly, in that the attitude seems to have developed only after the invention and marketing of bottles and formula. It has been legislated to not be considered so (not "indecent exposure") in Wash. state. According to Wikipedia, similar legislation has passed "in all 50 states".

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

"Breastfeeding is now considered "disgusting.""

The notion only helps big business, not the kids. Just follow the money.

Mike McCann, PE, SE


RE: Here's a new one for the times:

MacGyvers: about 30 years back I did a 'secure' clubhouse for a biker group...

Dik

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

5
If the product is legal in your state, do the work on a retainer basis to ensure you get paid. Unwilling to pay a retainer? B-bye.

If the product is illegal, you can't aid or abet an illegal activity, even if it is an illegal activity which will potentially be legal next year.

As to personal morality, and what kind of firm you would or would not work for, that's a personal question rather than a legal one. If you feel that your work will put you in a position of having to carry out work contrary to your personal moral code, that's something you need to discuss with your employer immediately. Just remember JB Shaw's famous quote about convincing a woman to sleep with him for 100,000 pounds, then taking offense at being asked if she'd do it for 50 pence. She retorted, "What kind of woman do you think I am?". He replied, "We've already established that- we're just haggling over the price.". So all of us working for a living are prostitutes to some degree- but each of us determines what acts for what price are beneath our dignity...

Personally I think that deliberately inhaling pyrolysis vapour is insane from a health perspective. Doesn't matter what plant matter you're pyrolysing or how it makes you feel- the ultimate result is a greatly increased risk of cancer, lung and heart disease etc.

As to the illegality of drugs: you can get heroin in prison. Prohibition cannot possibly work in an open society if it can't even be made to work effectively in a prison! All these substances need to be made legally available, illegal to consume in public(fines and confiscation rather than imprisonment), regulated and taxed, with 100% of the tax revenue going into harm reduction and instant availability, no waiting period, addiction cessation programs. The harm the drugs themselves do is tragic, but the harm done by the illegal activity funded by their consumption (and to fund the consumption of addicts) is also substantial- and nearly 100% preventable.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Porn is legal. Would you do a project for a film studio that you know does only porn? If pot is legal, then, would you do a project for a firm that raises pot and kills the brain cells and damages the health of thousands of people? Cigarettes? Alcohol? You have to draw the line somewhere and where you draw it is up to you!

Tunalover

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

I'm not sure who considers breastfeeding anywhere to be disgusting. Socially awkward, perhaps. I quite like Greg's quote!

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

I don't see why the end use of the HVAC system is an issue. Unless you (as the designer responsible) need to run it as intended for testing reasons. And even then, why not prove it with some other plants? If the cheque is signed legally, using legal money, who's needs and end-use certificate? You aren't exactly designing weapons here.

- Steve

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

2
A truly slippery slope.

Do any recall the movie "The Magic Christian?" There is a segment in this 1969 British "comedy" that shows the "slippery slope" progression succinctly. A pool is filled with urine/blood/excrement, and English bank notes are scattered over the surface. The first to see it react indignantly, then slowly, holding their noses, reach carefully to extract the bank notes. Before long many are wading in until all that is exposed is their noses, as they try to collect notes in the deeper end of the pool.

With respect to marijuana, why would we consider adding another complex issue to our current repertoire of "problems" (which our elected leaders and government seems unable to solve)? Only because some will prosper from it; however, I can say with certainty that their personal prosperity will not out weigh the problems increasing marijuana use will bring (unless one views drugging/addicting a larger portion of the population a good thing). And if you cannot see the connection between more property crime and interpersonal crime and less personal responsibility that accompanies "harmless" marijuana use, spend some time with your local law enforcement.












RE: Here's a new one for the times:

I think some people see it as removing a problem, not adding one. And so far, the numbers have born that out.

Some statistics - Violent crime down 2%, property crime down 11.5%.

There are many possible explanations for the drop in crime, but one thing is clear - legalization of marijuana does not cause a spike in crime.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

You have every right to refuse to perform the work. There may be some level of repercussion, but if you feel that this is a moral or ethical issue refuse the work and accept the consequences.

I worked for a firm that took on a big-box retail client with a reputation of destroying small businesses, taking advantage of workers, ruthless business tactics, and environmental damage. An engineer in our firm refused to work for the client on the grounds of his personal, deeply held beliefs. The company obliged his request (made in a respectful manner) and assigned him to other projects. The economy went bad and we lost a lot of work, but the above client went strong. When it came time for layoffs, he lost his job. I respect him for standing up for his beliefs.

I suggest that you do a little internal looking, and decide if you feel you can morally and ethically work on the project. If not, accept any consequences and move on. I know that there are projects in which I would refuse to design based upon ethical objections.

Each of us has our own compass, follow it!

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Don't let them pay you in brownies.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

A Star for airspeed (OP),
First post, only post, after two weeks with a holiday in the middle his posting has generated 46 replies and 36 stars (not counting this one)!
I do not recall a first time poster generating so much enthusiasm.
rockband

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

I would love to hear back from the OP. But I'm sure since his initial post he has tried a pot brownie, opening the "gateway" to taking every other illicit drug on the streets. All the while mortgaging everything he owns to fund his drug habit, then resorting to petty theft, grand larceny, murder for hire, now finding himself holed up in a Mexican prison. Marijuana really is a slippery slope.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

(OP)
Wow has this been fun! I never realized this could be so much like poking a hornets’ nest. The Monday after I posted I went in to work with the intent of making the thing go design-build. The big thing was the client. He has a license from the state of WA to grow medical cannabis but he never should have got it with his criminal background. I made my pitch for the DB option and it went over like a fart in church. I got strong armed into doing it and fast. You see, they’re in a big yank to get a permit for this so they can get their first crop in to finance the rest of the project. Between noon on Monday and noon on Wednesday I put in 24 man hours to generate the worst set of drawings I’ve ever done. We’ll see what happens… So, they paid us in brownies and damn they were good!! That was promptly followed by pizza, Gatorade, slim jims, ice cream, a huge jar of pickles, cake… Now I’m living on the streets of Amsterdam and having a great time with my new perspective on the universe. If I ever go back to engineering, I’ll chalk it up to valuable experience in an emerging niche market.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Great news. Reminds me of the old song "'Cause I Got High" all the way down to farting in the pew. You didn't happen to run into Willie Nelson there?

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Alice's Restaurant. Lol.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

Complete with 8x10 glossy photos?

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”
-Dalai Lama XIV

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

all 27 of 'em !!! hippy

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

I'm here on the Group W Bench.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

With the father rapers?

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”
-Dalai Lama XIV

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

It seems as though something has been put in motion that cannot be stopped . . . and mother stabbers and all sorts of nasty mean ugly people! Friday silliness is a good way to start the weekend, I think!

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Here's a new one for the times:

To the OP - follow you own convictions as far as you need to. Tell your employer you don't want to work on the project and deal with the consequences; if you don't you will make yourself sick with a conflicted conscience. You can't, however, expect your company not to particpate in the project if that is what the owners want to do. If you don't want to work for a company that does that type of work, then it is time to move on.

Many, many, years ago an Italian immigrant came to work at the company I was with in the maintenance department. All morning he worked hard, got along with everyone,etc. At lunch he opened his box and took out some bread, cheese, salami, and a decanter of wine. "You can't drink wine at lunch" he was told. "I can't work here" was his response, and he packed up and left.

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