The pungent smell of marijuana plants is one that is becoming a little too familiar to some residents in Sooke.
RCMP Staff Sergeant Steve Wright said an issue has recently emerged in the community where people with medicinal marijuana licenses, issued by Health Canada, have been growing the plants and venting the smell outside—and neighbours have been complaining.
“They have the fans going for a certain period of time to vent all that moisture and heat in the house (into the atmosphere),” said Wright.
“If they vented late at night where there weren’t people outside, it might be a viable option. But to just vent on a warm summer day, people can’t sit outside and enjoy their property.”
Wright likened the act to a band practicing in a residential neighbourhood with loud instruments. He said residents have been looking to the RCMP for enforcement, but there is currently nothing to enforce.
Medea Mills is the bylaw enforcement officer for the District of Sooke, and said “the only bylaw that we have right now is the nuisance property bylaw.”
“Basically it covers any property that has been altered for (an illegal) marijuana grow up).”
The only thing that they can do now when a complaint is received is verify that the offending site is operating legally, and then offer suggestions to the grower.
“I mean it’s a licensed operation—we will give them ideas on how to better filter the odour, make sure that the building is (up to code). Other than that there’s not anything we can do,” said Mills.
Wright said he is going to make a recommendation “that the District of Sooke look at enacting a bylaw that makes people use filters and that sort of thing,” adding that there will be more cases popping up as more and more medical licenses are granted.
“If they don’t use a filter I’m asking them to be fined under the bylaw for not doing anything about it.”