City of Phoenix gives marijuana operation 6 months to stop skunky smell

A neighbor tells Arizona's Family that the air around the facility smells like "skunk weed," a strain of marijuana said to smell like a spray from a skunk.
Published: Jul. 13, 2023 at 8:02 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Representatives from a marijuana company say they’ve made solid progress in reducing the skunk smell that’s plagued an area south of Sky Harbor Airport. But as of Wednesday, City of Phoenix officials say the smell was still there.

“It was overpowering,” said Betsy Cable, a Phoenix code compliance manager, at a hearing on Thursday.

In April, Arizona’s Family Investigates tracked a pungent skunk smell to the Truelieve grow facility on East Magnolia Street. Truelieve operates Harvest dispensaries. Soon afterward, six neighboring businesses complained about the odor to the City’s neighborhood services department.

“This is a matter of asking this multi-billion dollar company to meet the same legal standards that all the small businesses in Phoenix have to meet,” said Corey Foley, an attorney who represents two of the complaining businesses. The standard, according to Foley, is that a business will not “emit any odor at any level exceeding that of ambient conditions.”

A zoning adjustment hearing officer listened to Foley, two city investigators and a representative of Truelieve. The company stated that it had made significant improvements since the complaints came in, adding air scrubbers, charcoal filters and repairing holes in the facility’s ceiling.

“My opinion is that the odor escapes when the doors are open. But when the doors are shut, they’ve done a pretty good job to contain the odor inside the building,” Cable said.

A spokesperson for the City of Phoenix told Arizona’s Family the marijuana businesses at issue are required to have odor control systems in place

Larry Lazarus, who represents Truelieve, asked the hearing officer to give the company more time to finish its work. “We want to be able to resolve this problem, and the problem has been significantly resolved,” Lazarus said.

The hearing officer gave Truelieve six months to develop and implement the rest of its odor control measures.

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