SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Spokane Clean Air agency approved a set of rules that protect air quality in Spokane County by requiring that marijuana producers and processors meet standards to minimize the release of air contaminants. This is required of other commercial and industrial operations in Spokane County.

The production and processing of marijuana began in Spokane County in 2014. From July 1, 2014 through August 31, 2017, odor complaints filed with Spokane Clean Air more than doubled from the previous three year period. During this period, 322 complaints were filed with Spokane Clean Air regarding odor impacts from marijuana operations.

Spokane Clean Air's Board of Directors determined that an industry-specific program, one not solely based on odor complaints, was needed to address air contaminants and odors from this industry and to create a mechanism to pay for such a program. This is similar to work the agency has done with other operations that are extremely odorous, such as coffee roasting and surface coating.

According to the Washington Liquor Cannabis Board (LCB) as of October 10, 2017, there are approximately 18 producers, 22 processors and 120 producer/processors licensed in Spokane County.

The rule requires all production and most processing operations to register annually with Spokane Clean Air which includes reporting, fees, periodic inspections and compliance assistance. Under the rule, no permits will be required.

It also specifies that outdoor producers operate only during the regional customary growing season and cannot control environmental conditions other than watering and short-term covering of plants for a portion of each day as needed for frost protection.

The rule requires all processing of marijuana to be indoors with controls in place to minimize the release of air contaminants including odors and VOCs.

By establishing standards to minimize air contaminants from marijuana production and processing operations, odors should be reduced.

For more detailed information of Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency's rules for marijuana production & processing click here.