Michigan town ‘stinks:’ Council buys marijuana odor device

Michigan’s 2018 law cleared the way for homegrown pot for recreational use, which has brought a big challenge to a small town – and it stinks.

Bessemer City residents have since been plagued by the unpleasant smell of blooming marijuana plants leading officials to employ an odor-detection device and draft an ordinance to crack down on the foul scent.

The town is purchasing a $3,400 Nasal Ranger device, which measures the concentration of stinky particulate matter in the air to determine the strength of a given odor.


The odor problem in Bessemer, which is home to 1,905 people, occurs when marijuana plants are in bloom, especially during warmer months.

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

“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 bloom period lasts six to eight weeks,” Loper said Thursday. “A lot of people describe it as a skunk-like odor. It can be strong.

“We’re treading very softly in this area,” she 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.”

Bessemer is 6 miles (9.5 kilometers ) from the Wisconsin border. The Michigan law has attracted people from Wisconsin and Minnesota who are buying houses and growing marijuana indoors, Loper said.

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It’s possible that some Bessemer residents might require an air-filtration system in their homes, she said.

“Somebody’s got to take a stand. This is a piece of equipment we need,” council member Terry Kryshak said of the Nasal Ranger.

The council voted 4-1 in favor of the device

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