BEND, Ore. – Hemp production in Deschutes County is causing a smell that’s upsetting neighbors. Specifically, there’s a small field off of Cooley Road in Bend where, right now, pounds of hemp are out drying in the High Desert sun.
Stan Stone lives right next to that field. He is not happy about it.
“The smell is terrible, it gives (me and my wife) headaches and dry throats,” Stone said Monday.
Stone said the hemp appeared on that field just last week. At first, he said, he thought the strong smell was coming from a skunk.
“I was astonished to find this pile of, I thought, marijuana,” Stone said. “So I called the (Deschutes County) Sheriff’s (Office).” Deputies later confirmed that the field was hemp, not marijuana, and was legally allowed to be there.
Legal or not, Stone wants it gone from his neighborhood.
“I hope they remove it — the smell is terrible,” Stone said. “I think we should have some right whether or not we’re subjected to this ugly smell.”
Stone is actively pursuing the field’s removal.
He thinks if a company wants to dry hemp in a residential neighborhood, it should have to be approved by the people who live there.
The hemp in question belongs to the USA Hemp Company, based out of Molalla.
Rafael Redwood, the company’s co-founder and director of operations, said hemp is already strictly regulated and giving veto power to neighborhoods is a slippery slope.
“The problem with allowing neighbors to regulate us is, essentially, it says they’re going to control whether or not we make a living.” Redwood said.
“The solution,” he proposed, “would be more on the side of educating the public — understanding the benefits of hemp and the deep historical ties it has to us as a civilization.”
If you’re asking why a Molalla company is drying out their hemp in Deschutes County, the answer is simple.
Redwood explained that drying hemp in the Willamette Valley is difficult because it rains too much.
Here on the High Desert, that’s not a problem.
“I can’t comment for sure on whether or not the odor causes any headaches,” Redwood said. “However, those plants had to stay out in the field for months before we harvested them, and we’ve never had a complaint to this day.”
The field used to be a pasture for horse hay. Redwood said their goal is not to upset anybody and they are just trying to grow their crop and live off of the land.
He also said the hemp is only there temporarily. It’ll be gone in a few weeks.