California School Smells Like Weed

It's not unusual to walk through the halls in high school and catch a whiff of some burnt marijuana.  Maybe even walk by the bathroom and smell the sweet scent of it being burned by rebels cutting class.  But California, the first state to legalize medical marijuana, is facing another problem which faculty members think is bigger than the occasional sesh or two.

As the state readies to launch its fully legal recreational market late next year, school officials are complaining that all their school smells like weed.  Some are worried about the general health of their student population always having to smell the cannabis plants growing in nearby greenhouses.  Others worry that the aroma will become such the norm that teenagers will be more encouraged to try what they think is familiar.  

David Pennington is a member of Carpinteria High School's after-hours support staff.  The Santa Barbara County school has attracted the attention of KCOY-TV, which suggested that that the pungent, “skunk” odor of the marijuana has consumed much of the surrounding atmosphere.  “To have [marijuana] come and be a temptation for them, and it could be a trigger for them, and it is unfortunate that that is something we have to worry about,” Pennington said.  The high school has it worse than others, being that the grow houses are so close.

When the staff arrives in the morning, the building is just filled with the odor,” said Mike Wondolowski, president of the Carpinteria Valley Association (CVA).  “It’s very overwhelming. They have to air out the building before the students arrive, so they can concentrate at school. And that’s just crazy. We have no idea where the odors are coming from."

The problem lies within the regulations of the county which do pertain to the development of greenhouses in the valley.   However, there is no regulation of cannabis operations. But the problem arises if canna-farmers installed filtration systems, older county regulations prevent them from making necessary upgrades like electrical systems strong enough to operate the technology.

The Cannabis Business Council of Santa Barbara County, which represents area cannabis farmers, says it is in favor of cleaning up the air by getting its growers to install filtration systems. “We have worked closely with the County in developing an ordinance that will require odor abatement in proximity to special sensitive facilities such as schools,” Mollie Culver, a consultant to the Council, told High Times. “As an industry, we look forward to being good neighbors and working with our community to implement best management practices in agriculture.”