The description of High Valley Farms on the website of Silverpeak Apothecary makes the place sound bucolic and environmentally friendly in the extreme — an idyllic piece of land just outside Basalt, in a gorgeous part of Colorado.
But the farm's neighbors aren't singing its praises.
Instead, they're complaining about its aroma.
They say the strong scent of cannabis is so overwhelming in the vicinity that it's causing their property values to plummet.
Here's an excerpt from the High Valley Farms page on the Silverpeak website:
Located 20 miles down the road near the town of Basalt, Silverpeak’s High Valley Farm is home to our state-of-the-art greenhouse. From seed to sensation, cultivating the finest quality cannabis is truly our pride and joy. Our growers rely on decades of study and practice in medical and horticultural science, propagation, breeding and greenhouse management. More than this, we love our plants and believe they thrive on clean air, pure water and real sunshine.
The climate at High Valley Farm is ideally suited for growing. Basalt boasts an air quality index of 15.2, much better than the national average of 32. Sunny days number between 240 and 300 per year, also well above the US average. These factors, along with our high quality water, provide the essential ingredients for healthy plants. Our 25,000 square foot greenhouse allows plants to grow more naturally, providing plenty of space, fresh-flowing air, and high altitude sunshine.
With your health and safety in mind, we have implemented advanced water treatment and fertigation systems that allow us to dramatically reduce the use of chemicals and fertilizers typical in most cannabis production. Our farm puts no pesticides into the earth and our greenhouse does not depend on artificial light. We are committed to providing our customers with the healthiest product possible, and to being good stewards of the precious natural resources on which we depend....
A similar tone is struck in a video tour of High Valley Farms posted by Mashable in April.
During an interview for the clip, on view below, Silverpeak chief operating officer Mike Woods says, "Most greenhouses don't have the environmental controls that we have.
"It's all in flux, though," he concedes. "If five or ten years, there'll be something much better than this, I'm sure."
However, he adds, "This is the best we could come up with, for us to have a health environment for our plants and a health environment for our people to work in."
For those aforementioned neighbors, High Valley Farms' best isn't good enough. This week, as reported by the Aspen Times, nearly a dozen of them appeared at a work session for Pitkin County commissioners to complain about the skunky odors permeating the area.
One of them, Todd Emerson, is quoted as saying, “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?”
The farm's overseers are hardly shrugging off the gripes. Silverpeak CEO Jordan Lewis explained that there have been problems with the exhaust system at the facility's greenhouse, but he says they're being addressed. He expressed confidence that what the Times calls "multiple sources of smell-mitigation technology" will do their job within 45 days to two months.
They'd better. The commissioners will address the subject again in August, and if there are still problems, you can bet those neighbors will let them know.
Here's the aforementioned video tour of High Valley Farm.