Canada, May 27, 2020 (TheGrowthOP)- So what if cannabis is legal? Some residents of West Nipissing in northern Ontario argue weed stinks and they don’t want the smell in their town.
As a result, town council is examining an odour bylaw that would restrict what some say is pungent smells emanating from legal weed operations.
Any such move could cement the community’s apparent view of pot. Currently, the municipality does not allow smoking cannabis on sidewalks, but smoking cigarettes is fine and dandy.
“It’s something that was demonized for so many years and legally it switched over, but I don’t think psychologically everyone was ready for the switchover,” said councillor Jeremy Seguin, according to CBC News.
But councillor Lise Senecal, who has received complaints from several residents, said something must be done. There was no need to hunt for the skunky scent, Senecal suggested when visiting residents who had complained about the smell. “I just rolled down my window.”
People have the right to enjoy their property, she said, but added that the smell of cannabis should be classified as a nuisance, similar to what was considered in Hamilton, Ont.
In the opinion of Hamilton city council, notes bylaw 20-077, odours and lighting from the cultivation of cannabis plants are among the things that are or could become a public nuisance.
Some people may find nearby farm smells to be as offensive as weed odour. / Photo: Jevtic / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Photo: Jevtic / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Although it’s unclear exactly how it would work in West Nipissing, Senecal said possible restrictions on odour would only apply in residential areas.
Seguin pointed out that regulating smells is a tough ask. For instance, some people may find nearby farm smells to be as offensive as weed odour.
“It’s a little bit dangerous to regulate smells — there’s no scale,” councillor Chris Fisher said, according to Bay Today. “If cannabis can’t smell, does that mean we have to shut down the sewage plant? Does that mean that chip stands — you know, they smell greasy — and that upsets some people, as well,” Fisher noted.
Unwanted odours from cannabis operations has been an oft-repeated criticism in both Canada and the U.S. Concerns voiced for locals have included everything from adverse health impacts to traffic issues and effects on property values.
West Nipissing council is expected to debate the malodorous issue at its next meeting in early June.