Marijuana recycling site used by Denver police reports business increase

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- There are different ways police across the country destroy illegal marijuana. Each municipality adopts its own procedures.

In Denver, police have found an eco-friendly way to get the job done -- allowing the cannabis plant to go full circle.

Tucked away off Interstate 76 in Commerce City, A1 Organics employees stay busy recycling wood pallets, logs, garden materials and marijuana.

“There’s quite a bit that comes in,” said Kevan Northup, who runs operations for the company’s Commerce City location.

Illegal marijuana confiscated by the Denver Police Department arrives at the organic recycling operation on trucks under the control of officers.

Northup said business has been good. He said more pot has been coming into the facility.

“Two or three years ago, we would do one grind every three or four months,” Northup said. “Now [police] pretty much get a hold of us every couple weeks and need us to grind for them.”

All that grinding happens in Commerce City. Then, the marijuana is sent to a Keenesburg location for composting.

The marijuana eventually becomes part of a fertilizer called eco-grow. Police used to burn marijuana but found recycling to be a better option, Northup said.

Seized pot, not federally approved, cannot be repurposed for the legal market, according to police. Police said there are too many unknowns on how illegal marijuana was produced.

A1 Organics has been in business for more than 40 years. The Denver Police Department started partnering with the company about three years ago.

The company said it has recently received interest from police in Aurora, Commerce City, Thornton and Colorado Springs.