BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Should an industrial hemp farm be growing next to a residential community?
The odor from the plants has some Baltimore County residents fuming.
Some residents said they want the farmers to start growing something else.
“Hemp fields stink like dead skunks,” one resident said. “From June through November last year, the stench from the hemp farm that abuts my property invaded our house, our clothes, our cars. We could not get out from under it.”
One resident, who did not want to be identified, said hemp farms affect everyone on the street.
“Many of my neighbors complained of allergic reactions, eye irritations, headaches and nausea,” they said.
Others said the smell isn’t so bad.
“I like when I get up in the morning and I come down to feed the animals, I like the smell,” Howard Katz, another resident said.
Baltimore County has three industrial hemp farms, but only one is surrounded by homes.
WJZ reached out to the farmer, Vincent Piccinini, who owns the Broadway Hemp Farm. He declined to comment.
Some residents took their concerns to Senator Shelly Hettleman, who introduced legislation that would prevent hemp growing within a two-mile radius of a group of residents.
“As we go down the road of expanding the program, which is a good program, and if we go down the road of legalizing marijuana, which also gives off a powerful smell when growing, then it’s really important for us as policymakers to take into consideration the effects of these policies on residents around these farms,” Hettleman said.
Mark Holland, a professor of biological sciences, said a two-mile radius is unrealistic.
“Can you think of a place where you can find a place to grow hemp where you’re more than two miles away from 10 residents,” Holland said.
A hearing is scheduled for February 25 on a bill that would prohibit growing industrial hemp within two miles of any residential community with 10 or more houses.