ASHLAND, Ore. (AP) — Annoyed residents in a southern Oregon community are holding their noses. They say the odor from a pot patch fouled their neighborhoods for months last year — and they want City Council to do something about it.
Council members have been asked to require that marijuana gardens in Ashland be 75 feet from property lines, a move that would severely limit the number of pot plants in a city with pricey real estate and small lots.
Ashland resident Eliza Kauder told the the Ashland Daily Tidings that she supports the rule because she says she had to endure overpowering odors from her neighbor's medical marijuana garden from June through October last year.
"It was like having a family of skunks living in our backyard," Kauder said. "It's my understanding that marijuana that's growing has a very distinctive odor. It's sometimes referred to as 'skunk weed.' "
After multiple complaints to city of Ashland officials, Kauder's neighbor was eventually cited under an Ashland law that prohibits odor nuisances.
Lori Duckworth, executive director of the Southern Oregon chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said pot plants vary in smell, from fruity to sweet, pungent to sour. Some, she said, smell like skunks.
NORML offers growing classes, but also tries to mediate disputes between growers and neighbors.
Duckworth said a 75-foot buffer zone might not be enough to keep odors from reaching neighbors. She said if the city adopted such a law, it should enact similar protections for other activities that create a stink, such as cigarette smoking.
In nearby Rogue River, officials have looked at proposals to restrict marijuana growing to interior spaces or greenhouses, or to industrial zones.
Regardless of the number of plants a grower has, Ashland Police Chief Terry Holderness said odor from marijuana gardens is a common problem affecting many communities, especially as marijuana buds begin maturing in September and October.
To avoid odor nuisance citations in Ashland, growers usually need to eliminate the odor problem, and that means reducing the number of plants or harvesting them, Holderness said.
Ashland City Administrator Dave Kanner said officials haven't had time to investigate the marijuana issue and consider new regulations in time for this growing season.