Apr 29, 2016 7:22 AM

Denver City Council Fights Marijuana Growing Odors

Are you a resident of Denver or its neighborhoods? Are you tired of the annoying weed smell? Now you have an opportunity to complain about the odor of a nearby marijuana shop or grow house!

Denver City Council Fights Marijuana Growing Odors

Recently, a Denver City Council committee has approved a beefed-up odor-control ordinance that would require cannabis grow businesses to limit their impact on the neighborhood areas. The council members deadlocked 6-6 on a proposal to set location caps for marijuana shops and growing facilities. The licensing measure will be reintroduced for discussion next week.

Odors have long been a sore point of the state. Commercial marijuana grow facilities have overflowed the area in the last couple of years. The state's legal marijuana market is currently the largest in the country.

Denver's Ordinance Specifies Weed Smell as Nuisance Issue

Now, not only the residents of the state but also the nearby business owners and their employees could file complaints about the offending facility's odors. The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) must receive at least five complaints in order to trigger inspection and enforcement.

Those facilities that exceed the certain number of complaints or the acceptable odor threshold or fall within the specific industry types would be required to develop the so-called “odor-control plan” instead of receiving a fine. Odor-control plans would include any odors that might appear at the business and the technology necessary for preventing the odor's emission. They would be based upon the best practices and vary from business to business.

The council members also extended the complaint time period from 12 hours to 30 days.

The same would apply to pet food manufacturing, rendering plants, sewage treatment facilities, and asphalt shingle manufacturing.

Unlike retail pot stores and medical marijuana dispensaries that must be located 1,000 feet from schools, grow facilities in Denver are not limited as to where they should be located in relation to houses and educational institutions.

If the council approves the proposal on May 2, an odor advisory group could adopt detailed rules by the beginning of the next year. The odor-control plan requirements would take effect three months later.

However, both specialists and residents of Denver neighborhoods do not expect that these measures will help eliminate all odor because some facilities affecting them are located outside Denver's jurisdiction and are not subject to the laws.

Marijuana business owners oppose the new rules by pointing to the high costs of odor-control equipment.

Is Odor Really a Problem?

Since 2004, the DEH has received more than 1,300 complaints about the disgusting smell.

Robin Reichhardt, a resident of the Denver's Swansea neighborhood, says that every day, the locals inhale a unique mix of the smells of marijuana, dog food, waste-water treatment, meat by-products, and oil refinery.

According to the Denver City Department of Environmental Health, a recent survey of residents found that more than 80 percent of them were unhappy with the smell of marijuana that negatively impacted their quality of lives, and over 90 percent said that reducing the odor could greatly improve their health and make them happier.

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