Palm Springs cannabis cultivators up against “zero tolerance” odour emission policy

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City council in Palm Springs, Calif. has unanimously approved a “zero tolerance” policy to appease local residents’ concerns about the pungent smell emitted by local cannabis cultivators.

Changers were also implemented with regards to the city’s zoning code that will limit cultivation of the plant to what is reported to be a relatively undeveloped area by the Interstate 10 highway.

The odour control plan, noted Mayor Pro Tem Geoff Kors, puts the needs of residents first. “No one, whether you live across the street or three miles away, should be subject to cannabis odour where you live,” Kors stated. “That has to stop.”

While residents lauded the move, cannabis cultivators and other related business owners have complained the motion is stifling the burgeoning industry, inhibiting the local economy from being bolstered by cannabis profits, hindering the creation of new jobs and start-ups and failing to “grandfather” those who have already involved themselves in the application process.

Jocelyn Kane, who is responsible for government affairs on behalf of the Coachella Valley Cannabis Alliance Network, said the city must work with applicants who have already invested in the process. Kane further argued the new zoning changes will prevent vertical integration and small business.

“You will be hobbling a nascent industry, reducing the city’s ability to earn valuable tax money and eliminate good paying jobs for local residents,” she said.

Neighbourhood association board member Alanne Turina said that locals are less than enthused about the abundance of cannabis-related businesses in the area thanks to concerns about potential odours permeating the area. “We all know that addressing the problem once it exists is a red-tape mess,” Turina said. “It makes much more sense to preclude the problem in the first place.”

If the problem sounds familiar to Canadians, it’s because cultivators here have faced similar struggles when it comes to odour control and residents’ complaints.

As in Canada, the Palm Springs community has not complained about the odour emitted by local cattle and pig farms that also dot the area, suggesting the stigma surrounding cannabis may play a part in residents’ complaints.

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