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Pitkin County urges High Valley Farms to find solution to marijuana odor problem

Jun 10, 2015

A Midvalley marijuana grow facility is being closely watched by Pitkin County after neighbors complained about an odor. They say High Valley Farms is putting off a strong smell that's impacting their quality of life.
Credit Marci Krivonen

A Midvalley marijuana grow facility is walking a fine line with Pitkin County. After much discussion, the county commissioners agreed Tuesday to give High Valley Farms more time to tackle its odor problem.

Neighbors and business owners in Holland Hills say their quality of life and property values are sliding because of the smell. The 25,000 square foot greenhouse facility grows plants for the retail pot shop Silverpeak in Aspen.

Kent Schuler lives in Holland Hills. He says he’s had it with what he calls a “stench.”

"I can’t explain the severity of the smell and what it does. It takes over the property. It lingers and stays and when it comes and goes, it comes at night. We can no longer open our windows at night and sleep."

The odor is from terpenes. It's a diverse class of organic compounds that gives marijuana its unique smell. High Valley Farms installed an initial odor control system that wasn’t up to par. It’s being upgraded and a new system will be installed next week, says CEO of High Valley Farms Jordan Lewis.

"I fully acknowledge that we’re not where we need to be and I understand the community’s concerns. My hope is that they can understand what we’re going to do to remedy the situation."

Neighbors upset with the smell said they had waited long enough. Commissioner George Newman suggested shutting down the operation until a workable solution is found. Ultimately the board agreed to meet in two months after the new system is up and running. They warned if the odor is still a problem in the fall, High Valley Farms’ permit would likely be pulled.