SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A marijuana manufacturing company is appealing a citation issued against them, as officials claim they aren’t controlling the “noxious” smell coming from their plants.
Marijuana DocHouse LLC began its operation of legally growing marijuana in 2020 on Ann Street in Norwegian Township, where it harvested its first plants in June 2021. However, during this time, several residents attended meetings in Norwegian Township to complain about the smell of marijuana in the air, says Norwegian Township Solicitor Albert Evans.
According to Evans, the board of supervisors sent the marijuana processing plant a letter and held a township meeting to try and resolve the issue, to which the company replied they were working on ways to minimize the smell.
Evans says the issue was ongoing and complaints from residents continued, therefore township supervisors created the “Marijuana Odor Nuisance Ordinance.”
The ordinance states “offensive marijuana odors are prohibited and any unreasonably noxious, unpleasant, or strong odor resulting from activities related to growing, manufacturing, or processing marijuana within the township that causes distress, discomfort, or injury, and extends beyond the property where the odor originates is declared a nuisance, is prohibited and declared unlawful.”
According to the ordinance, if supervisors receive a complaint, it’s up to the township code enforcement officer to visit the property and decide whether or not the odor is a nuisance and if there are any violations of the ordinance.
Evans says code enforcement officer John Bowman was in the area of Marijuana DocHouse LLC in December 2022 and wrote them a letter asking the company to fix the odor problem. Bowman visited the company again on January 6 and issued them a citation of $598.85 for failing to contain noxious, unpleasant, or strong odors from extending beyond the property line.
The ordinance states that after a citation is issued, each day the “nuisance” continues after the offender is notified, constitutes a separate offense and another citation may be issued.
Neighborhood residents testified in court Thursday, March 30, that they can smell the odor every single day and it prevents them from going outside.
After receiving the citation, Marijuana DocHouse LLC responded to the township saying the company took measures to mitigate the smell. However, residents and township code enforcement say the smell is still present.
The lawyer for Marijuana DocHouse LLC said in court on Thursday, he will be filing an appeal of the citation, Evans said.