When the newest crop on the block carries with it a distinctly pungent odor, a few complaints are expected. However, when a community is enveloped in the smell for months on end, with the stench wafting in through any open window, clinging to clothes, and causing headaches, it might be more than a routine problem.
The farm in question bothered residents last year from late July until almost November when the hemp was harvested and dried. After making it through the first year, residents are already dreading next years’ harvest. Some residents are worried about the health risks of inhaling hemp fumes for such an extended period.
The group bringing the problem to light wanted to stay anonymous, but they wanted to make it clear that it wasn’t that they were opposed to hemp outright. It was simply the hope of the group that the state or county would step in to keep the new crop a little farther from residents. The number they are hoping for is a 2-mile radius from any residential area.
The group has reached out to state officials about the matter, and their cries may have been heard. Senator Shelley Hettleman, who represents the district that contains the farm, has introduced legislation that would put that two-mile buffer into place, covering residential areas with more than ten homes.
“I think some sort of accommodation to address the unintended consequences of our earlier action is warranted,” Hettleman told the press.
The farm that caused these complaints is located off Broadway Road between Greenspring Avenue and Falls Road, just north of Stevenson. It is surrounded by residential dwellings. The farm was one of 67 that grew industrial hemp during the 2019 season in Maryland.
Part of the worry for the group stems from concerns that this problem will get worse and not better as more farmers are lured into trying the crop in the coming years. They want to set a precedent now to help keep their communities out of harm’s way.