Breaking ground on a budding industry
January 7, 2014
The first greenhouses designated to grow marijuana with county approval broke ground Friday.
Representatives and friends from Silverpeak Apothecary, of Aspen, hosted the official groundbreaking ceremony at its High Valley Farm, located at Holland Hills near Basalt.
Silverpeak Apothecary is a medical marijuana outlet that hopes to begin selling recreational marijuana by the end of February, depending on how the county commissioners designate greenhouse regulations at their Feb. 18 regular meeting.
Silverpeak owner Jordan Lewis said the groundbreaking is another step toward getting his business on track to sell recreational marijuana.
"Today was thrilling," Lewis said. "The events today represent the culmination of a lot of hard work. It's great to see some big machines moving dirt here."
The Pitkin Board of County Commissioners voted to approve the greenhouses in August but dropped the original request for 37,500 square feet of floor area to 25,000 square feet.
When Lewis and planning consultant Mitch Haas made the original request, they asked for no exemptions or special treatment. Their goal was to show that an agricultural operation could exist in the proposed area with little environmental impact while maintaining the rural landscape.
That goal is now one step closer to reality. The greenhouses are located on the south side of Highway 82, east of the Roaring Fork Club entrance.
Lewis acknowledged the help of Haas, Adam Roy, Greg Johnson and Scott McHale. Roy worked with Lewis to help get the construction project going, Johnson is the contractor, and McHale is the architect who designed the greenhouses.
Lewis said that depending on the winter weather, a best-case scenario would have the new greenhouses up and running by late spring.
"It'll be a challenge," he said. "If we get our ducks in line, it can happen."