"It's a classic example of the misinformation and scare tactics that characterizes how the DEA has approached marijuana for decades," said Taylor West, deputy director of The National Cannabis Industry Association, speaking to Westword.
The deputy director was speaking about a report released by the Denver division of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) somewhat incredibly titled "Residential Marijuana Grows in Colorado: The New Meth Houses?"
In the report, which alleges the dangers of home-growing can lead to uninhabitable real estate, the DEA decries Colorado's lack of regulations around home growing since legalization.
"Consequently, large grows and/or quantities of processed marijuana within a residence are often justified through the claim that the resident is assisting others by growing or storing their marijuana," says the report.
"As there is no mechanism at the state or local level to document or regulate recreational marijuana home grows, there is no practical means for local police to verify whose plants are grown or whose marijuana is stored in any given residence."
Describing the dangers of the home growing operations, the report says, "Colorado homes where marijuana is grown often sustain extensive structural damage. Moisture, condensation, and molds spread throughout the residence. Growers often cut holes in floors and exterior walls in order to install ventilation tubes. Growers often tamper with electrical systems in order to supply multiple high-power grow lights and industrial air-conditioning units. These alterations are often done by tenant growers with little regard for fire risk or the home’s structural integrity."
The report concludes that the alleged lax regulation of home growing is having a taxing effect on Colorado's energy and water resources, as well as the state's emergency services.
Even though the report is short on empirical data to back up the dubious comparison with meth houses, an official with the Denver Fire Department speaking anecdotally suggested that "many" fires and explosions in the city are caused by growing operations and cannabis oil extraction operations that use butane gas and other flammable materials.