Hemp is known for healing, but some struggle with the smell

Hemp is known for healing, but some struggle with the smell

As industrial hemp has grown in popularity as a common crop in the U.S., American farmers are actually relearning a centuries-old cultivation technique, rather than attempting a brand new experiment.

Still, one side effect of the new hemp growth and harvests that has not been well-accepted is the smell of the process. Despite people’s love of the finished products industrial hemp creates, including CBD oil, reporting indicates that neighbors of hemp farms may need a bit more adjustment to the aroma.

“[Hemp] has a distinctive odor,” Mark Holland, a biology professor at Salisbury University, told the Baltimore Sun. “So does chicken manure on the Eastern Shore, by the way.” [1]

Holland said it can be described as “kind of a skunky marijuana smell,” the Sun reports. [1]

The smell was enough to cause multiple complaints from residents of Baltimore County, who seek some remedy or remuneration for the newfound smell at their windows in the summer. [1]

Ironically, the new nuisance of hemp odor is probably an old grip New Englanders are rediscovering since the legalization of hemp in 2018.

That federal legalization was followed by a flurry of state measures, but before the 20th Century hemp was widely accepted and used in textiles and especially in rope-making and ship-building. Sails, ropes and lines were historically made of hemp.

In the more modern context, people use CBD oil and products that contain it for their chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, inflammation, types of rare epilepsy and other problems. Legislation has been proposed to schedule CBD as a dietary supplement so people can more readily experiment with it across the U.S.

However promising the wonder uses of hemp are, they may do little to help out those near the farms in the near term.

Baltimore County Council Member Izzy Patoka told the Sun, “If I had a magic wand, it would be to create some level of separation, perhaps extending a space between ... where we have residents and where we have farming.” [1]

The issue has come up elsewhere in the country as well. Portland CBS affiliate KOIN 6 reports that citizens of Molalla, Oregon have recently brought a court case against Columbia Hemp Trading Company for its allegedly-stinky farming practices. [2]

Whereas Massachusetts residents interviewed by the Sun were wary of sweeping regulatory changes and harsh penalties for farmers, the Molalla natives expressed a deep desire to fix the problem. [1] [2]

“I can’t go outside or I will get physically ill,” Molalla resident Jody Berg told KOIN 6. [2]


[1] https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/baltimore-county/cng-co-to-industrial-hemp-20200217-offz6gi6rrhmfjcqmzqhcdnl5a-story.html

[2] https://www.koin.com/local/clackamas-county/putrid-odor-brings-molalla-hemp-facility-to-court/