Washington Bill Seeks Task Force to Address Cannabis Odors

A Washington state Senator is aiming to tackle the issue of regulating strong cannabis odors with a specialized state task force.

Full story after the jump.

A Washington State Senator has introduced a bill to create a state task force that would look at the problem of strong smells associated with cannabis production and processing. SB 6089, proposed by Sen. Judy Warnick (R), would create a seven-member task force with representatives from various state agencies, County and City Association members, and a representative from the adult-use cannabis industry.

Led by the state Liquor and Cannabis Board, the task force would look at ways to “mitigate or mask” strong cannabis smell and the negative impact the smell may have on people working or living near cannabis producers and processors.

The task force will have until December 31, 2020 to present their findings to the legislature and governor.

Cannabis is renowned for its strong smell — these strong odors may cause allergic reactions for some people, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Symptoms are similar to other plant allergies, such as nose and eye inflammation, sneezing, coughing and asthma, researchers say. The study highlighted the need for protections for cannabis workers exposed to the strong smell and proper diagnosis of cannabis allergies by doctors; researchers also point out that people living close to large cannabis farms may be at risk due to the large amount of cannabis grown.

Cannabis odor is not just a problem in Washington; the strong smell has prompted many cities and states to add odor control requirements for new producers and processors.  Last year, racketeering laws were used to go after a cannabis farm in Colorado. Earlier this year in California, the “Santa Barbara Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Cultivation” formed to address community complaints about the “noxious smell.” Other lawsuits have been filed in Massachusetts and Oregon, complaining the strong smell reduces property values.

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