Today, as part of its HOA Monthly Forum Schedule, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies hosted a presentation by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

The DEA presented facts showing that Colorado has been invaded by east coast grow ventures due to Colorado’s relaxed laws and high profit margins.  This, in turn, has put pressure on communities where grow operations are located.

How can you tell whether a grow operation is present?  The characteristics of a grow operation are as follows:

  • Strong odor (skunk like);
  • Loud noises from industrial fans;
  • Commercial air conditioners (multiple);
  • Transformer repairs due to overloads;
  • Exterior venting done by owners;
  • Extensive electrical rewiring (non-permitted) nor professionally done.  This includes the “hot tapping” into electrical wiring of neighbors;
  • Structural concerns and mold due to moisture; and
  • Brown excretion appearing on the exterior surfaces oozing out from the siding.

How can an association address this increase of grow operations?  Unfortunately, as the grow operations usually exist in basements of detached homes, the association’s ability to address these items may be limited to what is externally evident.   Given the amount of damage to the home that occurs during the operation, the best manner to address this is education.  Typical behavior of growers includes:

  • Inflated rents (2 or 3 times market rate);
  • Multiple years’ worth of rent paid in advance, in cash; and
  • Protected by security systems and large number of fire arms given the higher instances of home invasions.

As always, the best manner to address this issue is to stay diligent.  We can also look at your declaration to see if the association has existing authority to prevent marijuana grow operations, or if an amendment may help.  For more information or if you have questions, please contact a Altitude Community Law attorney at 303.432.9999.

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