Neighbors of a licensed cannabis grower in Basalt, Colorado, are incensed by the smell of cannabis, saying it has infiltrated their neighborhood and caused property values to fall. High Valley Farms, which operates the greenhouse, says it is working to mitigate the problem.
High Valley Farms is located across the street from the affluent subdivision of Holland Hills in Basalt. It supplies both medical and recreational cannabis to Silver Peak Apothecary, located about a half-hour’s drive down Highway 82, in the town of Aspen. When High Valley received a license to operate from the county in 2013, it was stipulated that odors from the greenhouses would not affect neighbors. County commissioners and residents of Holland Hills say that High Valley has failed to live up to this part of the agreement, and that it’s costing homeowners money.
Homeowner Todd Emerson said,
“I’d love to sell my house, but where am I going to find someone to pay $1 million for a house that smells like marijuana?”
County commissioners are taking the complaints seriously and warned High Valley on Tuesday that if it did not contain the smell, it risked losing its operating license when it came time to renew in September.
Jordan Lewis is the CEO of both High Valley Farms and Silver Peak Apothecary. He says the smell mitigation infrastructure is in place but there have been problems with pumps and nozzles that are part of the exhaust system meant keep odors in check. He has promised to abate the smell coming from the 25,000 square foot facility within two months, saying three different approaches will be applied to the problem.
High Valley Farms Greenhouse under construction Sept. 2014. Photo credit: Michael McLaughlin:The Aspen Time
Many Holland Hills residents, however, are past the point of willingness to work with High Valley and instead want the grower to pack up and move somewhere else. They say they cannot enjoy their yards or even open their windows without smelling the cannabis growing across the street. Opponents have an ally in County Commissioner George Newman, who was against High Valley from the beginning. Newman cast the only vote against the grower in the 4-1 vote that allowed the facility to break ground in 2013, though his opposition at that time had to do with the way the greenhouses would look from the highway. Lewis’ pledge to fix the problem failed to dissuade Newman from his ongoing opposition. For Newman, the matter comes down to High Valley making money at the expense of its neighbors.
Lewis and High Valley are not being kicked out of the neighborhood just yet, however. Other county commissioners are willing to work with the grower to find a solution to the problem, but they made it clear that High Valley would have to come through on its mitigation promises.
photo credit: Wallace.Photo