Palm Springs city council approved a zero-tolerance policy this week when it comes to the pungent smell of pot. The city also established establish a central zone for cultivation facilities — away from residential areas.
"It's very important to respect our neighbors, very important to have the proper odor control," said Julie Montante, owner of 420 Lounge in Palm Springs, the first cannabis business in the city licensed for customers to consume pot onsite.
But when it comes to weed, where there's smoke, there's a stench — one the city is cracking down on.
Palm Springs code compliance received nearly 80 cannabis odor complaints from January through October this year.
Of those, code compliance officers found 95 percent were unsubstantiated. 4 percent were found with faint odors but didn't warrant a violation. And 1 percent accounted for a strong odor that turned out to be residents using cannabis on their property.
For the better part of an hour at this week's city council meeting, residents voiced their concerns about nearby cannabis businesses.
"When they're bringing product in and bringing product out, all the odors go out of the building," one woman said to the council. "No matter how you air leak-proof it, it doesn't happen."
On the new zero-tolerance policy for odors, Councilmember J.R. Roberts said, "There will be no odor allowed to leave the property line of any facility."
The council also approved a change to city zoning to limit cultivation to a "Cannabis Overlay Zone" near the I-10, and away from residential areas.
Changes from the city are coming to the fines cannabis businesses will face: up to $10,000 with a citation. Violators will have 30 days to correct the problem, but after that, additional monthly fines will apply. If a business receives three citations, it will lose its permit.