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US (AR): Leafology’s neighbors unhappy with facility’s cannabis odors

Phil Higdon is tired of smelling the cannabis odor that wafts over the rolling hills of his scenic property in Garland County. Higdon, 67, doesn't oppose cannabis and even admits to having smoked it in the past. But he's tired of smelling it. "Do you like smelling a skunk?" he asked.

Higdon's family has been in the area for generations, and his great-grandfather once drove the ferry that crossed the Ouachita River (now Lake Hamilton) and gave nearby Higdon Ferry Road its name. But things haven't been the same since a new business joined the neighborhood in 2021. New Day Cultivation, a family-owned cannabis cultivator now known as Leafology, set up shop a couple hundred yards away from Higdon's house. Since then, the smells of Arkansas's $1 billion cannabis industry have reached different parts of the neighborhood, depending on the direction of the wind.

In August, the ABC hit Leafology with $15,500 in fines and a 15-day suspension — the agency's first and only suspension of a cannabis business — for a variety of issues, including a failure "to ensure cannabis odors were not perceptible from outside your licensed facility." The cultivator appealed the penalties to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which later reduced the fine to $10,500 and waived the suspension.

At the end of the meeting, board members told the neighbors to contact the ABC if the smells continued. To mitigate the smells, the company has installed an odor-mitigation system that involves a series of circular sprayers that dispense a fine mist outside the facility. Ecosorb, the liquid emitted by the misters, is non-toxic and can help remove "nuisance smells" in many settings, including cannabis cultivation, solid waste, wastewater, and more. The company estimated he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the misting system and another $500 a gallon on the odor-eliminating liquid that the system emits. "I'm doing everything I can to make everybody happy," he said.


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