Legalized marijuana producers must ensure they have sufficient air filtration systems, says Health Canada, responding to odour complaints about Sundial Cannabis of Olds.
But the federal regulator won’t tell producers which of the many available smell reduction technologies to use.
“All buildings or parts of buildings where cannabis is produced, packaged, labelled and stored need to be equipped with a system that filters air to prevent the escape of odours,” states Tammy Jarbeau, senior media relations adviser for Health Canada.
While the federal agency is aware of several technologies that can be used by licence holders, it does not prescribe which solutions must be implemented, said Jarbeau.
She added that Health Canada has “a range of enforcement tools” to verify producers’ compliance with cannabis regulations — including the regular inspection of licence holders.
She encouraged anyone with concerns about Sundial’s odours to get in touch with the company — or report them to Health Canada.
Calgary-based Sundial released a statement last week, apologizing for the pot odour that “might be unpleasant for some people.”
“We want to assure you that we are working on it,” said a release that stressed the company has already installed some odour-reducing technologies, and is trying to find more efficient ones in an evolving industry.
Sundial is the biggest employer in Olds, with a workforce of more than 500 people and 1,000 positions expected to be created in total when the company’s plant operations are fully rolled out.
Among several strategies implemented at Sundial Cannabis was the installation of additional odour-control carbon filters on various parts of the operation, as well as external air vents.
A ducting solution for odour control within rooms has been tried, as well as a new filtration system that could be installed as an upgrade to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and equipment.
While the odour might be “inconvenient for some,” there’s no health risk to employees or residents, states the company’s release,which added Sundial will continue “to address community concerns related to odour.”
“My only comment on that, is that, yes, there is an odour from some of these plants, absolutely,” said John Carle, executive director of the Alberta Cannabis Council, which represents about two dozen cannbis producers and related businesses.
It is not unusual for there to be smell from industrial plants in Alberta communities, said Carle.
“Industry creates odour. We’re not unique in the fact there is an odour created. Pass any manufacturing facility and you will catch a smell.”
Carle believes the unique odour from cannabis, which many people are not yet used to, is a factor in the concerns raised.
“There’s a stigma to the smell and that’s what people are attaching to.”