Odorous emissions from pot operations sought for air regulation by Metro Vancouver

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Do you know where the strong odour of pot comes from? 

It’s from the volatile organic compounds or VOC released by the plant, explains a discussion paper prepared by staff of the Metro Vancouver Regional District.

The paper was written as part of a proposed move to regulate air emissions from weed operations, mainly cultivation and processing.

Going back to pot, a single plant gives off 57 grams of VOC per kilogram mass each year, according to the paper.

That’s about 50 times greater than what a tomato plant produces at 1.5 grams.

It’s also five times more than the excretion of a Douglas Fir used as Christmas trees at 11 grams.

Julie Saxton is an air quality planner with Metro Vancouver, and she is asking the regional district government’s approval for staff to hold public consultations on the regulation of air emissions from pot operations.

“The VOC emissions from cannabis production can be odorous,” Saxton wrote in her report. “Metro Vancouver and member municipalities have received complaints about odorous emissions from cannabis production.”

Saxton’s report is included in the agenda Friday (March 15) of Metro Vancouver’s climate action committee.

According to the air quality planner, many weed production facilities are “operating in greenhouses formerly used for the production of food crops, which do not have adequate controls designed for emissions from cannabis production and processing”.

“The proposed regulation seeks to authorize controlled emissions from operations conducting indoor cultivation, outdoor cultivation, cultivation by several individuals in cooperatives, cannabis processing operations such as drying and harvesting of cannabis plant material, extraction of oils, and manufacturing of derived products,” Saxton wrote.

She added that the “priority is on controlling discharges during periods of high VOC emissions from cannabis production and processing, which occur during plant flowering, harvesting, drying and curing, and potentially during packaging or handling of products”.

Metro Vancouver is responsible for managing and regulating air quality in the Lower Mainland.

According to the discussion paper, the proposed regulation could require a “comprehensive odour and VOC emission management plan” that will be “certified by an appropriately qualified professional”, and approved by Metro Vancouver.

The plan would be required to include, among others, an “odour mitigation system”.

Saxton wrote in the report that the public consultation can be held between April and May this year. 

Discuss