By Marguerite Arnold
Marijuana may now be one of the most valuable crops in legalizing states like Colorado. That said, it remains a controversial crop for many reasons, one of which is the smell.
The pungent crop has begun to cause controversy particularly around and near Denver and has been an issue since the industry legalized last year. In Denver there is even a city ordinance that deems it an unlawful nuisance for “any person to cause or permit the emission of odorous air contaminants” that “interfere with the reasonable and comfortable use and enjoyment of property.” A violation, which can carry up to a $2,000 fine, occurs when there is more than one volume of odorous air per seven volumes of odorless air.
“Flowering cannabis plants emit a floral smell, and we have a lot of them in Denver due to the booming industry. While driving through certain pockets of the city it is sometimes easy to tell when you’re near a cannabis warehouse,” said Kyle Sherman, the CEO of Flowhub. “In grows like the one I used to work in before starting Flowhub, large carbon air filtration units are used to take out the smell before the air pumps to the air outside, which allows the smell to escape.”
“I’ve set up grows that originally had smell problems, but it’s pretty easy to fix. Growers just need to transition to sealed systems that don’t have an external exhaust, and instead filters the air inside the building. That would go a long way towards containing any odors,” said Eli Bilton, the CEO of Attis Trading Group. “Many of the new popular LED lights don’t produce enough heat that they require exhausts, which helps reduce any potential leaks in the filter that could cause smells to get outside of the building. If proper care is taken by a grower, the smell issue should not be a problem for people outside of the building.”
Bilton also notes that there are increasingly industrial solutions that are also available to growers who do not want to impose upon their neighbors. “The more people using techniques like carbon filtration the less smell we’re going to have around these warehouses, it’s an easy ‘problem’ to solve,” he said. “I have yet to meet someone who actually finds that cannabis grow warehouses are emitting too much odor. I think most are doing a great job at containing the smell. The state purposely zoned certain industrial areas for grows. I think Denver has done a good job of keeping grow facilities away from residences.”
While Colorado also seems to be the center of the issue, at least for now, this too could become an issue across the country with the rise of medical laws as well as a growing recreational industry in at least three states.