On the sunny day in October, Mike Arnold swings open the door to his barn storehouse outside of Eugene, Oregon, and takes a big whiff. The odor hits him immediately, a sweet and skunky wall of cool air. “Smells like money,” Arnold says in the Missouri drawl, gazing out at row after row of make shift wood-and-mesh shelving, where 12,000 pounds of marijuana were lying to dry.
Following close behind, in colorful glasses along with a tweed jacket, is definitely the cannabis engineering virtuoso responsible for keeping that pungent odor safely inside the confines of the building: 39-year-old Daniel Gustafik. Gustafik continues to be building out pot grow rooms for 20 years, designing novel solutions for anything from irrigation to lighting to humidity control in hidden sub-basements as well as on off-grid homesteads well before anyone could even conceive of Bob Marley-branded weed sold openly in sleek boutiques. He and his awesome company, Hybrid Tech, are actually regarded as being the best within the game in terms of assembling industrial-scale legal cannabis operations. In the past four years, they’ve completed over a hundred projects in 37 states and two countries.
Even while marijuana odor control plan becomes increasingly mainstream, few are feeling chill about legalization. Pot reeks, and pot being grown or processed at commercial scale reeks much more. Some states and municipalities have included specifications about odor control within their medical and recreational marijuana regulations.
But cannabis’s federally illegal status creates all sorts of thorny problems. Last June, a 10th-circuit court in Colorado decided which a family who complained concerning the “noxious odors” coming from a cannabis venture next door had sufficient grounds to argue the aroma had hurt their property values, and may therefore sue for triple damages under federal racketeering law. The ruling sent shockwaves from the legal weed industry, triggering similar lawsuits in Oregon and Massachusetts, and potentially establishing a precedent through which private citizens can use federal law to topple locally licensed pot businesses. That means that marijuana’s distinctive stink could sometimes be worse for the legalization movement than anything Attorney General Jeff Sessions has done, and also the continued success of state-legal weed is determined by rigorous odor-proofing.
Take Arnold’s cavernous drying barn, nestled among rolling hills and maple trees. This, Gustafik says, is his magnum olfactory opus: a 5,000 square foot facility, outfitted in a mere 21 days, and operating in a county dmdwjs the strictest marijuana scent control rules in the world. Before Oregon legalized recreational weed, a significantly looser medical cannabis law had been set up for several years, attracting inconsiderate growers used to the black market. The noise, traffic and stink annoyed locals who, subsequently, annoyed officials using their complaints. So when it came time to regulate adult use, some counties preemptively took a tough line. With a meeting to determine which these rules would look like in Clackamas County, one community member compared the smell to “skunk dipped in turpentine and gym socks.” As a result, the Clackamas ordinance ultimately specified anything from the angle of exhaust vents to the effectiveness of the fans utilized to circulate air. Lane County, where Arnold’s barn is found, ultimately made a decision to use the same language within their ordinance.