By Alyssa Schnugg
The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors sent a strong message Monday to Good Day Farm, a medical marijuana cultivation plant, threatening legal action over the facility not controlling the smell of marijuana from drifting into nearby neighborhoods.
According to the Lafayette County Medical Cannabis Ordinance, “No medical cannabis use may operate in a manner whereby cannabis odors are detectable from adjacent and nearby properties. All cannabis uses must install a ventilation system that adequately controls odor, humidity and mold.”
The Board of Supervisors voted to inform Good Day Farm that if the number of complaints about the smell of marijuana does not decrease by May 15, the county will file a lawsuit against the cannabis growing company and seek an injunction to halt operations.
In March, Building Official Joel Hollowell told the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors during a regular meeting that his office had received more than 20 complaints from people living in neighborhoods around the Lafayette County Max D. Hipp Industrial Park where Good Day Farm is located.
The Board instructed Nate Steel, chief compliance and state governmental affairs officer with Good Day Farm, to begin working on what was causing the odor and to install at least 10 air scrubbers that the company had purchased but had not yet hooked up.
At a subsequent meeting on April 3, Hollowell reported that the air scrubbers seemed to be helping a little and that Good Day had hired an odor expert to gather data.
However, on Monday, Hollowell reported to the Board that Good Day did not appear to be taking the requests seriously and doing their “due diligence” into solving the ordor issue.
“We trusted (Good Day) would do a really thorough and unbias job in collecting this data and unfortunately, I don’t think that’s been the case,” he said.
The data collection started more than two weeks ago, March 24 through April the 10th.
Up until April 3, Good Day was collecting data three times a day; however, the morning readings were taken around 8 a.m. Since many of the complaints claimed the smell was strongest around sunrise, Hollowell asked Good Day to collect data around 6 a.m.
“Unfortunately, since then, there was only one time they collected data before 8 a.m. and that was at 7:45 a.m.,” he said.
Hollowell said there were several days data wasn’t collected due to rain.
“Inclement weather is one of those times we get a lot of complaints,” Hollowell said.
Hollowell said the county received several complaints over Easter weekend.
“They did not collect any data that weekend,” he said.
The Board also voted to hire its own odor expert to collect data in regard to where and when the smell of cannabis was most prevalent in neighborhoods.
No one from Good Day Farm was present at Monday’s meeting.
Good Day Farm produces about 300 pounds of medical marijuana a week and distributes to dispensaries around Mississippi, including Oxford’s three local dispensaries.
Tony Barragan, the owner of Hybrid Relief, has been selling Good Day Farm’s products since it opened in January. He said if Good Day winds up having to half distribution, his business won’t be affected since they sell medical cannabis from several farms and is also soon opening his own cultivation farm.
However, he said he has worked closely with Good Day and believes the company is taking the issue seriously.
“They’re working diligently to get this matter resolved,” Barragan said.
Controlling the odor from cannabis is not just something cultivation facilities need to worry about – dispensaries in the county and the city of Oxford are required to provide plans on how they will mitigate the smell.
Barragan said he had to install a $7,000 deodorizer in his store located off West Jackson Avenue.