The smell emitted from marijuana is something you either love or hate.
But with Colusa-dwellers making their opinions of the pungent plant – which some people find offensive – known, city officials have started to lose their patience.
Like the Planning Commission earlier this month, the Colusa City Council said last week that they will pull out every tool in their toolchest to get cannabis companies growing, processing, or distributing legal weed in town to get their odors under control or put the brakes on their operations.
Ranging from skunk-like to sweet or spicy, depending on the variety, the terpenes that give cannabis its strong odor can be invasive and permeating.
At a growing location at Colusa Industrial Properties last week, Councilman Greg Ponciano said the distinct smell flowed with the direction of the breeze.
“There was a very strong odor wafting right over those beautiful new houses, right over the golf course all the way to Country Club Drive,” he said.
Green Leaf, Greensuiticals, Bud Bros., Golden Roots Nursery, Compass Leaf, and Sticky Trees are just some of the cleverly-named cannabis companies in Colusa, where the marijuana industry was welcomed with open arms after the legalization of weed for recreational purposes in 2016.
Since the city first partnered with cannabis companies, exchanging permits for a share of the profits, all the growers, through their developer agreements, have been mandated to mitigate odors by any means.
But like many California municipalities where cannabis cultivation encroaches on the community, developer agreements have failed to define exactly what a company may be required to do to overcome an odor problem, whether the solution is larger carbon filters, better ventilation systems, the use of odor neutralizers, or the purchase of ozone generators.
Ponciano said there has to be something they can do that won’t drive them out of town or out of business.
“They (the companies) are here and they are vested,” he said.
As a last resort, city officials said they may require companies to hire an industrial hygienist who is capable of identifying, analyzing, and mitigating the source of the odor problem.
While the city is in the process of approving new cannabis companies in Colusa, Cain said the city has yet to get the financial windfall officials thought they would get two or three years ago.
“We are still a couple of years away from receiving any significant amount of revenue, depending on what your definition of significant is,” he said.
Still, cannabis revenues from the local companies have increased in the last year.
The city’s cannabis fund has now blossomed to $594,000, officials said.
UPDATE: corrected the business name Golden Roots Nursery.