“We had been smelling it; it was very strong over there and we knew it wasn’t coming from us”
The owners of legal cannabis businesses in Palm Springs, CA were let off the hook for the pungent weed odour permeating the neighborhood when an illicit cultivation facility down the street was busted for growing hundreds of plants without a licence and stinking up the town.
“We had been smelling it; it was very strong over there and we knew it wasn’t coming from us,” Joy Meredith, president of Joy Industries, told KESQ News.
Meredith’s licensed dispensary is just a few metres away from the illicit grow concealed in an industrial park where authorities discovered approximately 1,400 plants this week.
Another licensed cannabis business — 10,000 square-foot cannabis cultivation facility Kings Garden — grows in the same industrial park as the illicit grow. Despite installing pricey air filtration and purification systems, Kings Garden’s owner Julie Montante says she was cited by the city for the odour that now looks like it did not originate from her facility.
“We’ve gone to city councils where the homeowners around the area could’ve swore it was us,” Montante said.
In 2019, city council gave the green light to a zero-tolerance cannabis odour policy — and business caught on the wrong side of the law risk loss of permit and a fine of up to US$10,000 if found to be in violation of the rule.
In order to be effective, the origin of the odour must be correctly determined — and Meredith says that in this instance that may not have been the case.
“The odors might very well have been coming from this unlicensed facility that was creating all the problems,” Meredith explained. “Instead everybody now is faced with these very, very stringent rules that are making things very difficult for licensed people.”
Two people were arrested and charged for their participation in the illicit facility.
Written by Emma Spears