Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Madysen McLain
Gazette Reporter 

Letter outlines concerns for airborne cannabis


July 25, 2019

Whitman County Commissioners received a July 16 letter from David Gang, assistant director of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University, addressing concerns about the impact of emissions from cannabis plants in Whitman County.

The letter requests the county’s six-month moratorium on any new marijuana-related production to be extended until research about the impact is complete.

“Research is now underway that will take several months to conduct and analyze, but that should provide important data needed to make rational and reasonable regulations and rules,” he stated in the letter.

The letter illustrated that in the wine industry during wildfire season grapes can absorb smoke compounds that cannot be washed off. The WSU research will examine if it is the same for cannabis air-borne compounds.

“We must move forward with the assumption that new volatiles in the area could be bad for our milk and therefore our Cougar Gold cheese,” the letter stated.

The letter brought up that in an Oregon elementary school children could not go outside for recess or open the school windows when a neighboring hemp field was in bloom for several weeks. The fumes were causing students to have headaches and to become nauseous.

The letter provided four suggestions for commissioners as they proceed in the decision-making process.

The first suggestion was to not allow grow operations to be outside areas where it could be a public nuisance.

The second states setbacks should be implemented to protect “the quality of life” of county residents.

The third states odor eliminating air filters should be required on all indoor grow facilities in the county.

The final suggestion is that hemp fields should also have restrictions due to odor reasons.

County commissioners will conduct a public hearing on extending the marijuana moratorium Sept. 3. The deadline for the current moratorium, which evolved from the Selway Holdings proposal for marijuana production and processing on County Club Road southwest of Pullman, is Sept. 11.


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