Pot Growing Neighbor Stinks Things Up

Aurora Tightens Rules On Medical Marijuana

Some Aurora residents say they've been overwhelmed recently by the smell of pot in their neighborhood.

"I thought we had a skunk family move in," said Aurora resident Julie Guarino.

Medical marijuana has become so problematic the Aurora city council took action on it on Monday night. The council gave final approval to an ordinance that bans all dispensaries in the city. They also tightened the rules on growing operations, including those that produce such terrible odors.

"It was just ridiculous how strong it was," said Guarino of the grow operation next door. "And I swore there was a skunk that sprayed somewhere. I started sniffing the dog."

Guarino regularly cares for her two young grandchildren, so naturally their safety is paramount.

"I remember hearing that there was a form of pot that smells like a skunk when it's growing," she said.

That was her first clue something was going on next door. The second clue -- the windows were blacked out and others covered with aluminum foil.

"But I couldn't prove it. There was no way really for me to know," said Guarino.

Fed up, she called police the day after Christmas to complain about the noxious odor. Police came out and discovered the next door neighbor indeed had pot plants growing in the basement.

"He had a 100," said Guarino.

Initially, police said there was little they could do. But, after investigating, Guarino learned Aurora is tightening its rules on marijuana.

In fact, there are two new ordinances.

One prohibits dispensaries, cultivation operations for dispensaries in other cities and manufacturing of marijuana-infused products, i.e. pot brownies.

The other ordinance states registered caregivers can still grow a very limited number of plants, but the plants can't be visual to neighbors, must not produce odors, pollution or undue foot or vehicle traffic.

Guarino finds the unintended consequences of the state's marijuana laws disturbing.

"I don't want to have people live through what we've been going through," she said.

As for the next door neighbor's grow operation, 7NEWS checked and the property manager issued a cease and desist order to the renters who appear to have moved out in the last day or two.

7NEWS checked with other cities and most do have noxious smell ordinances.

Aurora's new ordinance limits grow operations by registered caregivers to 150 square feet, or about the size of a small bedroom.