On the sunny day in October, Mike Arnold swings open the door to his barn storehouse outside Eugene, Oregon, and takes a big whiff. The stench hits him immediately, a sweet and skunky wall of cool air. “Smells like money,” Arnold says in his Missouri drawl, gazing out at row after row of make shift wood-and-mesh shelving, where 12,000 pounds of marijuana were lying out to dry.
Following close behind, in colorful glasses and a tweed jacket, is the cannabis engineering virtuoso in charge of keeping that pungent odor safely in the confines in the building: 39-year-old Daniel Gustafik. Gustafik continues to be building out pot grow rooms for 20 years, designing novel solutions for everything from irrigation to lighting to humidity control in hidden sub-basements as well as on off-grid homesteads well before anyone can even conceive of Bob Marley-branded weed sold openly in sleek boutiques. He and his awesome company, Hybrid Tech, are regarded as among the finest in the game when it comes to setting up industrial-scale legal cannabis operations. In the past four years, they’ve completed over a hundred projects in 37 states and two countries.
Even as cannabis odor control plan becomes increasingly mainstream, not everyone is feeling chill about legalization. Pot reeks, and pot being grown or processed at commercial scale reeks much more. Some states and municipalities have included specifications about odor control inside their medical and recreational marijuana regulations.
But cannabis’s federally illegal status creates all sorts of thorny problems. Last June, a 10th-circuit court in Colorado decided that the family who complained regarding the “noxious odors” provided by a cannabis venture nearby had sufficient grounds to argue the aroma had hurt their property values, and could therefore sue for triple damages under federal racketeering law. The ruling sent shockwaves with the legal weed industry, triggering similar lawsuits in Oregon and Massachusetts, and potentially establishing a precedent by which private citizens could use federal law to topple locally licensed pot businesses. That means that marijuana’s distinctive stink could actually be worse for the legalization movement than anything Attorney General Jeff Sessions has done, and the continued success of state-legal weed is dependent on rigorous odor-proofing.
Take Arnold’s cavernous drying barn, nestled among rolling hills and maple trees. This, Gustafik says, is his magnum olfactory opus: a 5,000 sq . ft . facility, outfitted in a mere 21 days, and operating in a county dmdwjs the strictest marijuana scent control rules on earth. Before Oregon legalized recreational weed, a lot looser medical cannabis law had been in place for several years, attracting inconsiderate growers accustomed to the black market. The noise, traffic and stink annoyed locals who, consequently, annoyed officials using their complaints. So when it came time for you to regulate adult use, some counties preemptively took a difficult line. In a meeting to find out what these rules would appear to be in Clackamas County, one community member compared the smell to “skunk dipped in turpentine and gym socks.” Consequently, the Clackamas ordinance ultimately specified anything from the angle of exhaust vents to the effectiveness of the fans utilized to circulate air. Lane County, where Arnold’s barn is located, ultimately chose to make use of the same language inside their ordinance.