This is the second part of a two-part article on eliminating the smell of marijuana.

With different rules or restrictions in different states, one thing is consistent with marijuana — the need to eliminate odors.

“Like it or not, there are some negative connotations with marijuana odor out there,” says Coffey.

Already the smell of cannabis is creating problems. According to an article in The Oregonian, police were called to a Philomath, Oregon, apartment because the repeated smell of marijuana was bothering neighbors. However, in this case, a court ruled that, unlike rotten eggs and raw sewage, pot is not legally offensive.

This is just one example of potential odor problems caused by the legalization of marijuana. When it comes to the smell of pot, businesses aren’t looking to just hide or cover up the smell — they want it removed.

The problem, however, is that a lot of products on the market mask the odor with a fragrance instead of removing it.

“They are able to tackle the odor for a limited amount of time, but it comes right back,” says Coffey. “Everything in our line is made up of essential oils and water. When you put that blend of essential oils into contact with an odor molecule, it breaks it down and eliminates it.”

Marijuana smoke odor can be a different challenge compared to other smells.

“Really, when you’re talking about marijuana odors, you’re talking about smoke or some residue from a plant,” says Coffey. 

Aerosols and gels are common ways to neutralize the odor. Manufacturers also make water-soluble additives to be used with mopping solutions, says Sauser.

For larger jobs that need deep penetration to remove odors from carpet, upholstery and walls, distributors may need to offer a machine that emits dry vapor particles.
 
“The [hotel staff] rolls that machine in, turn it on and it puts out our product at a very small particle size,” says Coffey.

The vapor then penetrates the odor molecules, breaks them down at the particle level and dissipates the odor.

Even though public marijuana use is legal in only a handful of states, manufacturers have seen demand for marijuana odor control products grow during the last three years — and expect interest to increase.

“As long as the states keep legalizing marijuana, I think there will be a demand just like anything else,” says Sauser. “It’s getting into the public sector, and not everybody is on board with it, so you need something to help control [the odors] or you’re going to have a lot of angry and upset customers or people.”

Ohio is attempting to pass legislation allowing recreational and medicinal use of marijuana, while Pennsylvania is proposing legislation for medicinal use. Measures failed in 17 states in 2015.

What could help the market expand for distributors is that it is not simply an odor problem for marijuana growers or dispensers. It can be a problem in every facility in a given state — and anywhere in that facility.

“When you think about where these odors are going to be, it’s not in one [area]. When most people think about odors, they think about the bathroom or restrooms,” says Coffey. “This is a different kind of problem, because it is everywhere: it’s in hallways; it’s in hotel rooms; it’s in rental cars.”

Jonathan DePaolis is a freelance writer based in Frankfort, Illinois.