Basalt-area marijuana greenhouse gets green light |

Basalt-area marijuana greenhouse gets green light

Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times
The Silverpeak Apothecary 25,000 square foot greenhouse complex, with 20,000 square feet of grow space, should be completed by the end of October. The greenhouses are located on the south side of Highway 82, east of the Roaring Fork Club entrance.
Michael McLaughlin/The Aspen Times |

It’s been almost 10 months since Silverpeak Apothecary first broke ground to build a series of greenhouses near Basalt. The project, which should be completed sometime this fall, was pushed forward by Silverpeak owner Jordan Lewis and his staff despite that they hadn’t garnered cultivation licenses from the state or county for the 20,000 square feet of grow space.

On Wednesday at a Pitkin County commissioners meeting, Lewis finally gained approval to receive county cultivation licenses from the commissioners to grow both medical and recreational pot at the facility.

The approval came under the condition that those licenses would not be issued until Lewis receives his state cultivation licenses, which the county confirmed had been approved already and were on the way to Lewis.

“We’re hoping to finish the core-level construction in the next several weeks,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, once we get our certificate of occupancy, we can get plants in there and get this thing going. We’re hoping to get that in the next few weeks.”

The greenhouses are located on the south side of Highway 82, east of the Roaring Fork Club entrance.

“(Silverpeak has) provided a structure that will comply once complete,” said Brian Pawl, the chief building official for the county. “The plans they submitted met all the court requirements for a grow facility. The Building Department was fully aware it was going to be a grow facility, and planning and zoning issues have been met in the design portion of things. The only outstanding concerns the Building Department has is getting it to completion prior to anything getting moved in and the process beginning.”

Commissioner George Newman raised concerns about visibility of the greenhouses from Highway 82, but landscape architect Shannon Murphy gave a presentation showing what she said the project will look like once the landscaping is completed. She assured the board that once the spruce and aspen trees at the site mature, only minimal sightlines to the greenhouses will exist.

“What we’ve done is far beyond the scope that we initially presented,” Lewis said. “We planted a lot more trees than we had initially planned.”

When water rights were mentioned for use in the facility and landscaping, Lewis told the board he has rights on the property to a ditch that runs parallel to Highway 82 and that he’s secured a contract for water rights from Wolford Reservoir in Grant County.

“I’m confident that we’ve addressed every issue as thoughtfully and with respect to energy and consumptive uses as possible,” Lewis said. “This project is going to be the gold standard for the world.”

The commissioners approved the medical and recreational marijuana licenses by a 4-1 margin, with Newman voting “no.”

Silverpeak currently operates grow facilities in La Plata County and near Redstone. Lewis said that as the new greenhouses ramp up, the La Plata operation will wind down and eventually close. The future of the Redstone operation is still being decided.

“That might prove to be a good facility for breeding,” Lewis said. “We may also use it to further our research and development to produce some strains with more medical benefits and some other areas we hope to explore.”

Lewis said that once the greenhouses begin housing plants, it will be about four months until the first product is available from that facility.

“I can’t thank this community enough for their support,” Lewis said. “From the land planning to the legal side to the water, the construction, the tradesmen, it’s been really wonderful. I’m sort of the face of a much larger communitywide effort.”

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