Greenleaf Processors facility temporarily shut down due to smell

Work continued at the proposed site of Green Leaf Proccesors, Inc.'s cannabis manufacturing facility on Monday, despite a warning that the County of Colusa intends to file suit against the City of Colusa for failing to comply with CEQA.

Operations are on hold at a commercial cannabis operation in downtown Colusa, until city officials can figure out why the company’s odor control mechanisms are not working.

Colusa City Manager Jesse Cain said that he shut down cannabis manufacturing activities at Greenleaf Processors, Inc. after determining that the strong smell of pot in downtown Colusa was being emitted from the company’s facility. The odor was particularly noticeable on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of last week.

“I shut them down (on Thursday),” Cain said on Friday morning. “They can’t process anything until Tuesday until we can get to the bottom of why and where this is coming from, and re-look at the whole filtration system.”

This is the second time the city has taken action on a report of a nuisance odor coming from the facility, though it has received additional complaints. 

“I’ve investigated a bunch of smell complaints. Half the time I’ve gone down there it hasn’t been them. The other half it has been them. They’ve bought new filters, and they’re trying to mitigate it…” Cain said. “They want the smell to go away, too.”

The city also took action on a complaint in early March, roughly two weeks after the company began operations at Greenleaf’s cannabis extraction facility. At that time, it was determined that the smell was coming from a storage room, and was caused by an unfiltered exhaust fan, Cain said. Greenleaf fixed the problem by installing a new filter. Cain said then that while he understood that commercial cannabis activities were new for everyone, the city would hold developers to the commitments they made in their Development Agreements, Special Use Permits, and Regulatory Permits – including not producing odor. Cain reiterated last week that the city was still committed to doing that. 

“What’s going to happen is this will be their last warning,” Cain said. “From this point forward, if it smells, (they) will be fined. And if that doesn’t work, we’ll see what the council says.”

Under the article of the city’s zoning code that deals with cannabis manufacturing, one provision is that cannabis operations are required to provide “a sufficient odor absorbing ventilation and exhaust system so that odor generated inside the facility that is distinctive to its operation is not detected outside the premises, outside the building housing the cannabis operations, or anywhere on adjacent property or public rights-of-way.”

The enforcement section of the article has teeth if the city decides to use it. Any person that violates any provision of the city’s Cannabis Manufacturing Use Regulations is guilty of a separate offense “for each and every day during any portion of which any such person commits, continues, permits, or causes a violation thereof, and shall be penalized accordingly.” The regulations establish both civil remedies (a violation creates a cause of action for injunctive relief, at the discretion of the city) and criminal penalties (violations are defined as misdemeanors). It also gives the city the leeway to levy an administrative fine “of up to $1,000 for each violation and for each day the violation continues to persist.”

Cain said that no fines have been levied on Greenleaf at this point. Through the end of this calendar year, Cain said that Greenleaf will have generated a total of more than $100,000 in revenue for the city, including a $60,000 facility fee, and about $43,000 that come from the city’s 3 percent fee on gross sales. ■

Brian Pearson is the former Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects included reporting local government and the sports page.