It is a clear early spring evening, and Jack is walking along the perimeter of his south Madison property, pointing out where he grows marijuana. “You really have to look to see it,” says Jack, a pseudonym.

Jack is middle-aged, with trimmed, spiky gray-white hair and fluid, animated gestures; there is something slightly Steve Martin-adorable about him. A playful golden retriever nuzzles his hand, trying to get his attention. He lives in a beige, vinyl-sided house near a golf course, next door to a house that boasts a Prosser lawn sign, from the recent Supreme Court race.

“We cancel out each other’s votes,” he jokes, nodding in the direction of his neighbor’s house. Jack thinks some of his neighbors “may have a clue” that he grows pot in his backyard, but doesn’t seem too worried. He tells a story of a time when the neighbor’s new puppy was romping around his 10-by-10-foot garden plot, but no one said anything about the pot stalks mixed in with other plants.

“I trim them,” Jack explains, “It just looks like another tomato plant.”

Jack is one of an undetermined number of Madison-area residents who grow marijuana at their residence. The police aren’t willing to hazard a guess, but one active grower estimates there are at least 300 home-growers in Dane County — on a par with the number of area dentists.

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