The foul side of Cannabis CRE: Sonoma County residents irate over pot farm odor

Legalized cannabis has created a growing commercial real estate market, but some neighbors are suing to shutter pot growing operations

(Credit: iStock)
(Credit: iStock)

Walk along the Venice Beach Boardwalk and you’ll smell a pungent aroma of marijuana wafting through the ocean breeze. Now multiply that by thousands of acres, and you’ll get a sense of what it’s like to live near a marijuana operation and cultivation farm.

Pot is legal in California, but not everyone is happy. Residents in neighborhoods near cannabis growers are hoping to halt some of those operations because of the smell that has overwhelmed their homes, according to the New York Times.

In Northern California, residents in Sonoma County are suing cannabis growers in hopes they will shutter the facilities. In Mendocino County, lawmakers have created new zones where cannabis cultivation is banned.

Roughly 65 percent of the 730 complaints in Sonoma are related to odor, according to the county’s cannabis program manager.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

“It’s as if a skunk, or multiple skunks in a family, were living under our house,” California resident Grace Guthrie told the Times.

Some have even taken to wearing respirator masks during peak hours.

The smell is likely to worsen as underground growers go through the lengthy paperwork process needed to become legal growers. Only about 5 percent of marijuana farmers in California now have their license. [NYT] — Natalie Hoberman