Grow houses in Colorado are fast becoming a major concern according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). According to a report published by the Washington Post in June, hundreds of residential homes have become grow houses since marijuana was legalized in 2014.
The report alleges that the grow houses are “orchestrated and operated by drug trafficking organizations.”
North Metro Task Force Commander Todd Reeves calls the illegal grow houses dangerous and says they have discovered over 100 since the beginning of 2016, all of which are located in residential neighborhoods. He has seen grow houses that were full of mold, some even condemned. He also stated that many growers fertilize the plants with dangerous chemicals. A home in Thornton, Colorado recently caught fire after the residents power system overheated.
Reeves believes that Colorado will begin to see a rise in deaths related to these grow houses.
Residents in some of the neighborhoods are taking a stand. A Parker, Colorado resident fought back by working with the HOA to fine the homeowner of a rental home being used a grow house. R.J. O’Conner says the odor emanating from the home was nauseating and could be noticed from as far as a block away. The homeowner finally kicked the tenant out and the grow house was closed down.
The DEA posted its own report stating that the increase in grow houses is causing a drain on local resources including the fire and police departments as well as water and power. The report points out the possibility that home values will decline because of the current problem.
NORML, a Marijuana Advocacy Group calls the DEA’s report a scare tactic, stating that there is a lack of credibility to its claims. “The DEA’s position of keeping cannabis illicit and unregulated only perpetuates the problem they say they are trying to prevent,” the group fired back.