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article imageComplaints piling up in Canada over stinky cannabis operations

By Karen Graham     Jun 7, 2019 in World
Gatineau - From Gatineau, Quebec to Pelham, in southern Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula and many other areas, complaints about the stinky smell of cannabis grow operations are piling up, as are the complaints about light pollution.
When the Liberal government legalized the use of recreational marijuana in October 2018, it left many people scrambling, including provincial governments, industries, law enforcement, and others as they worked to implement laws and regulations regarding the production, sale, and use of cannabis.
Marijuana production facilities are still popping up around the country as entrepreneurs and established businesses continue to expand the market. But with this expansion comes complaints from neighbors living close to or near the grow facilities. There is no other way to say this - but marijuana stinks, especially a whole greenhouse of the weed.
"In my experience, the smell of the actual growing of the plant does not represent health concerns, but at the same time I fully accept that it can affect the quality of people's lives and their enjoyment of their properties," said Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair in a recent interview, with CBC Canada.
Licensed pot producers are supposed to "prevent odors and other annoyances and pollutants from emanating from their premises," and the regulations to that effect are "quite strict," he said. However, not everyone is abiding by the regulations, or they just aren't being enforced.
While local officials are thrilled over the jobs created by the marijuana industry, as well as the tax revenues - there are still neighbors who may not smoke pot, and they aren't thrilled over the odors coming from neighbors homes, condos, and apartments, either.
Employee Jason Gagne trims cannabis plants at Up's factory in Lincoln  Ontario
Employee Jason Gagne trims cannabis plants at Up's factory in Lincoln, Ontario
Lars Hagberg, AFP/File
One of the largest cannabis operations is near the Edmonton airport and authorities there say they’ve had a number of complaints about the odor. The company insists it has installed filtration systems to try to mitigate the smell. But apparently, they aren't doing enough.
In Gatineau, the smell from a Hexo plant has become so intolerable that Virginie Roussin no longer hangs her laundry out to dry or leaves her windows open.
"Last Sunday we opened a bit of my son's room [window] and we closed the door. Afterward, when we came back at night, it was like we smoked a joint in the room," she said.
Rich Coleman, the MLA for Langley East in B.C. says there are four cannabis grow facilities stinking up two communities. "It is actually very bad. I have one family where the wife ... leaves the home up to four times a week to go stay with a relative because of the migraine headaches that the odor is bringing forward," he said.
You could say the odor problem is just part of the growing pains of a new industry, and there are hurdles to overcome and adjustments to be made, both by industry and society. However, while there are laws or regulations and a lot of "recommended resources" put out by the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health, apparently, it is up to the various governmental jurisdictions to incorporate any of them.
More about Canada, grow operations, Cannabis, stinky odor, light pollution
 
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