A Level 4, he said, is the equivalent of a neighbor’s freshly cut grass. “It could still be a nuisance, but it wouldn’t drive you away from your front porch,” Mr. McGinley said.
“We opened the door and the smell kicked us in the face,” Ms. Christiansen said. Her neighbors banded together in October and sued the operators of the pot business; the case is ongoing.
Mike Wondolowski often finds himself in the middle of it. He may be on the chaise longue on his patio, at his computer in the house, or tending to his orange and lemon trees in the garden when the powerful, nauseating stench descends on him.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of tension in the community,” said Ms. Hopkins, the Sonoma supervisor. “If I had to name an ice-cream flavor for cannabis implementation it would definitely be rocky road.”
“If someone is saying, ‘Is it really that bad?’ I’ll go find a bunch of skunks and every evening I’ll put them outside your window,” Mr. Wondolowski said. “It’s just brutal.”
Britt Christiansen, a registered nurse who lives among the dairy farms of Sonoma County, acknowledges that her neighborhood smells of manure, known locally as the Sonoma aroma.
“It’s as if a skunk, or multiple skunks in a family, were living under our house,” said Grace Guthrie, whose home sits on the site of a former apple orchard outside the town of Sebastopol. Her neighbors grow pot commercially. “It doesn’t dissipate,” Ms. Guthrie said. “It’s beyond anything you would imagine.”
One problem for local governments trying to legislate cannabis odors is that there is no objective standard for smells. A company in Minnesota, St. Croix Sensory, has developed a device called the Nasal Ranger, which looks like a cross between a hair dryer and a radar gun. Users place the instrument on their nose and turn a filter dial to rate the potency on a numerical scale. Charles McGinley, the inventor of the device, says a Level 7 is the equivalent of “sniffing someone’s armpit without the deodorant — or maybe someone’s feet — a nuisance certainly.”
Ever-Bloom in Carpinteria is one of a number of marijuana businesses that have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to mitigate the stink. Two previous systems failed, but the current one, modeled on devices used to mask the smell of garbage dumps, sprays a curtain of vapor around the perimeter of the greenhouses. The vapor, which is made up of essential oils, gives off a menthol smell resembling Bengay.
A: Hemp is basically a cultivated variety of sativa. For several thousand years, it has been bred for tall growth, fibrous stems and low THC levels. It still has the medicinal cannabinoids, but you need so many hemp plants to get valuable cannabinoid content — more than 100 — that it wouldn’t be worth growing at home.
One thing is certain: Legalization is changing the landscape of our state. Maybe not our yards, but surely our headspace, our parties, our neighborhoods and our lives. If we understand the plant, it will help us talk about that change using facts rather than fear or naive enthusiasm.
A light system and building materials will run $350 to $1,000, and electricity costs per harvest are $100 to $200.
Ruderalis is a ditch weed found in Europe with low THC content. The marijuana we’re familiar with is indica and sativa. Indica has higher CBN (a type of cannabinoid) content, which relieves pain and makes you lethargic. Sativa has the highest psychoactive content, is energizing and provides lucid thought. Most everything available today is a hybrid (and) carries the characteristics of both indica and sativa.
Indica-dominant hybrids are good for growing indoors, because they only get 2 to 3 feet tall from the top of the pot, with a diameter of 12 to 18 inches.
A: Start with clones that are 4 to 5 inches tall, and give them 24-hour light until they reach 9 to 15 inches. If you keep temperatures below 80 degrees, this takes four to five weeks — less if you’re growing hydroponically.
Care, air and food