KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s something in the air near E. 23rd Street and Indiana Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri.
A marijuana grow facility moved in last year, but a nearby drug addiction recovery center said there’s been one big problem.
“You smell it. It’s got a very strong smell,” said Ken Vick, the executive director of Benilde Hall.
He’s talking about the stench of pot filling the air.
The organization’s spent the last 30 years helping men overcome drug, alcohol, and behavioral health issues. About 100 men live there for a few months, taking a nearby bus to get to work.
However, the bus stop is just across the street from the grow operation, meaning the men are smelling marijuana as they wait to go to work.
“That’s actually activating their urges,” added Vick. “This activates the part of the brain that causes an urge, which tends to make it harder for them to focus and want to return to use.”
Vick said even on a breezy day, they can smell it from the grounds at Benilde Hall. Part of the men’s recovery involves being outside with goats, dogs, and cats, but the smell is hindering how Benilde Hall does its job.
Some of the men are avoiding the bus stop now, which means they’re avoiding public transportation. That creates another problem: finding or hiring people to take them to work.
Benilde Hall says it doesn’t have the funds to provide for that position right now.
With marijuana legal in Missouri, Vick admits the men are going to smell it when going about their lives, but the problem is that it’s happening during their recovery, not after.
He doesn’t have an issue with the grow facility itself, stating they have just as much a right to be there as him.
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The city of Kansas City and the state of Missouri have rules on how close pot operations can be from schools, churches, and daycares — but not addiction recovery centers. In Missouri, part of the application process for getting a cultivation license involves submitting an odor control plan.
Elevate Missouri claims to operate the grow facility on E. 23rd and told FOX4 it is following the rules. Its CEO, Chuck Cuda, wasn’t available for an in-person interview but sent FOX4 a written statement, saying:
- We are fully compliant with all applicable regulations for the operation of the facility.
- We go above and beyond what is required to minimize any odors emanating from the facility, including but not limited to; bipolar ionization units, state of the art air purification systems, UV purification systems, and self-contained cure units.
- There is a risk of addiction in connection with many industries that provide legal products and services (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, gambling), and we support and encourage anyone on a road to recovery from addiction.
Still, FOX4 drove by the facility and could smell marijuana.
Benilde Hall understands cannabis is a part of Missouri’s future, but Vick hopes something changes, whether that be a new bus stop in the opposite direction or new state/local statues put into place regarding how close operations can be from recovery centers.
“I would just love to find a way that I can continue to support the men that we serve and the community without causing chaos,” he said.