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Last Word: We Should Love the Smell of Cannabis in the Morning – It Smells Like Freedom

This is NOT one of the major issues of our time — but it is pretty amusing.

You know what I’m talking about: People complaining about the increasing smell of marijuana now that it has become legal (in some form, anyway) in so many states and other places.

The Christian Science Monitor recently detailed some of the minor aggravations that people find come with marijuana legalization, and after reading it, I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.

Here’s the crux of what the story had to say:

With pot out of the shadows in some states, the direct exposure to smoke has led to conflicts. Colorado, which in 2012 was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, has seen odor complaints rise, with 30 percent of such complaints now regarding pot in Denver. …

Many critics predicted a rise in public intoxication, buzzed driving and crime after Colorado legalized pot, and concerns about children’s exposure to the drug. But one of the biggest complaints so far has been odor issues as grow operations expand. When pot was illegal, those operations often took measures to contain the smell, including carbon-filtering the air. With the threat of prosecution gone, some cultivators are no longer worried.

That can cause problems. High Valley Farms in Pitkin County has been the focus of a county commission probe as neighbors complain about a skunky aroma floating out of the facility.”

Yes, it DOES smell like freedom

Now, I completely understand what it’s like to be inundated with terrible odors, especially where you live.

When my wife and I were first married, we rented an apartment near a dairy in Cerritos, California. The landlord and a lot of other people around there warned us about the dairy, but the warnings always came with this caveat — it’s only bad when the wind blows a certain way, and that doesn’t happen very often.

Well, perhaps we simply hit a bad wind year because it seemed to be blowing our way pretty regularly, and that meant we had pretty awful odors from that dairy to enjoy pretty much all the time.

So, I understand the odor problems those who live around marijuana facilities are experiencing.

But really, is this a huge problem we should be worried about?

It all reminds me of the scene in the movie Apocalypse Now where the crazy Colonel (played by the great Robert Duvall) declares that the smell of napalm in the morning “smells like victory.”

In that spirit, shouldn’t we consider that the smell of cannabis in the morning smells like freedom — the freedom to finally break free of the government’s over-the-top prohibition of marijuana?

A Denver code enforcement officer sort of thinks so.

Part of the battle for hearts and minds

According to The Monitor story, “Denver code enforcement officer Ben Siller uses a device called a “Nasal Ranger” to sniff out potential illegal emanators. As part of its law, Denver bans any smells that exceed 1 part odor to 7 parts filtered air, or if at least five people complain.  Under those rules, however, no one has been cited for excessive odor so far in the Mile High City.”

So, cannabis may be in the air in places like Denver, but not excessively so, at least so far.

And Mr. Siller says that “he expects complaints to subside as legal marijuana becomes more and more common.

“You do have people who just object to the whole idea,” Mr. Siller, Denver’s code enforcement officer, told USA Today. “[The smell] is discernible. It’s there but you get used to it, just like any odor.”

Yes, you can get used to just about any odor, but this shows one of the many minor problems that the Cannabis Industry is going to need to address if they are to continue to win the battle for the hearts and minds of the American public.

A minor inconvenience? Yes, of course, but it is one of those things that can sway public opinion in a flash.

So, let’s be thankful this Thanksgiving for the great strides the Cannabis Industry has made over the past year, but, let’s also remember that things like excessive smell and stubborn banking regulations still show we have a long way to go.

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