Now the City of Denver has to try not to kill (and pay for) pot plants while moving them

Denver needs to find a new home for a grow operation as it buys up land for the National Western.

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One of the businesses that needs to move to make way for a new, improved National Western Stock Show is a marijuana cultivation facility.

That means it’s the city’s job to find the grow operation at 4800 Brighton Blvd. a home and make sure that no plants die in the process. If any do, the city would have to reimburse the owner for the lost crop.

Jeff Steinberg, director of the city’s Division of Real Estate, told the Denver City Council’s Finance and Services Committee that the move will need to be made in stages.

“What we’re trying to do is not have somebody relocate as plants are germinating because when you do and you try to relocate while they are germinating, they die,” he said. “And if that occurs, we have to pay the cost of what that crop would be.”

Most marijuana grow operations have plants in different stages of growth to maintain a constant supply throughout the year. Sternberg said that after a new location is found, plants would be moved in sections as they are harvested.

“That way there is no crop damage and the city isn’t on the line to pay for crop expenses,” he said.

The city has set aside $55 million to pay for land acquisition and relocation expenses. The city needs to buy 62 parcels, 38 of which are owned by the Colorado Department of Transportation, 26 of which are private commercial property and 10 of which are private homes. The state Department of Agriculture and Denver Public Schools each own an affected property as well.

The city hopes to have “site control” by mid-2017 at the latest.

Steinberg has “no idea” where the business will go, and the owners will have to contend with new regulations adopted in April that put a cap on pot businesses.

Those regulations came in response to neighborhood activists who said they were just way too many pot businesses in their area.

There are actually three marijuana licenses associated with that address, a grow, a dispensary and an infused product business, but the grow is the most complicated to move. We reached out to the businesses, and we’ll update this post if we hear back.

Just down the street, Starbuds, 4690 Brighton Blvd., is getting different treatment from the city. In an unusual move, a hearing officer has recommended the business’ license not be renewed, the Denver Post reported last week.