Stinky Michigan City Makes Moves To Battle Marijuana Smell

WWJ News
January 09, 2020 - 5:20 pm

BESSEMER, Mich. (WWJ/AP)  - Residents of a community in Michigan's Upper Peninsula say their city stinks — and marijuana plants are to blame.

In Bessemer, home to fewer than 2,000 people near the Wisconsin border, citizens have been complaining about an unpleasant odor coming from plants being grown in neighborhood homes.

Bessemer City Manager Charly Loper says the smell has become especially prominent since the legalization of recreational pot.

"We've been receiving numerous complaints from residents who aren't able to use their backyards because the odors are making them ill," she told WWJ Newsradio 950's Michael Cohen. "Many people have described it as 'skunky.'"

In search of solutions, Loper said officials are now working on buying an odor-detection device, and drafting an ordinance to help them identify the source of the smells.

Loper said the Nasal Range could be used to check a variety of bad-air complaints, but she acknowledged that marijuana appears to be the key target.

"The ordinance would allow us to quantify the odor, and request people to address the issue," Loper said. "In many cases, it may be as simple as putting a filtration system on their house to address the issue." 

The odor problem in Bessemer occurs when marijuana plants are in bloom, especially during warmer months. 

“The city of Bessemer stinks,” council member Linda Nelson said Monday as the council voted to buy the device, which will cost $3,400 with training. "You can smell marijuana everywhere. We've got people who can't sit in their backyard because the smell from their neighbor is so bad.”

Medical marijuana has been around since 2008. But Michigan's 2018 law, which cleared the way for homegrown pot for recreational use, has brought challenges to communities.

The Michigan law has attracted people from Wisconsin and Minnesota who are buying houses and growing marijuana indoors, Loper said.

“We're treading very softly in this area,” Loper said. “People have a right to grow marijuana in their house, but everyone needs to be considerate of their neighbors so the odor isn’t affecting their enjoyment of the outdoors.”