The Creek County Board of Adjustment approved two separate variances on agricultural land for two new marijuana processing facilities Tuesday evening. The approval comes with dismay for some residents and neighbors who harbor concerns regarding waste management, smell, and noise from the facilities. Despite the public concern, the County BOA pushed forward and approved both processing variance requests.
The first of these variance requests was presented by Derek Smith who plans to have his medical marijuana processing take place off Highway 33 in Sapulpa. The land is approximately ten acres, and Smith plans to set up privacy fences to bolster the security of the facility. Smith claims the facility is a safe and secure building, and the only traffic or noise from workers will be him and his wife. Their process, according to Smith, is a non-hazardous form of extraction that uses only water for an ice bath for the flower and leaves before they’re pressed. He assures the amount of water the facility would use on a weekly basis is no more than a household’s showers – just a few gallons.
A few concerned neighbors voiced their anxiety of the ecological effects the facility could bring with waste and the possible strain on the well water system the residents rely on. Smith responded that the facility will only use a few gallons of water a week for their processing, and a licensed professional will come and remove any waste per state regulations. The Board also corroborated that waste is highly regulated, with Smith adding, “We’re tracked from seed to sale.” He assures he plans to keep the processing small, even building a home on the same land, and filing for a variance rather than a re-zoning means if the processing facility leaves, so does the allowance for a marijuana processing plant. If a new facility wanted to take residence on the land, they would also have to appear before the board to be approved to do so, and neighbors would have a chance to once again be heard. Another concerned resident spoke out against marijuana as a whole, stating he doesn’t agree with allowing more of these facilities to pop up and “the children will pay for it”. The resident continued to say the plant would affect his property values, which the board argued that property values are historically the highest they’ve ever been because of marijuana grow operations and processing facilities. The board informed the disgruntled citizen that this variance is merely an allowance for the facility, and any issues with marijuana legalization in total is an issue for the State, not the BOA. The resident stormed out of the meeting room in response. Derek Smith’s processing facility was unanimously approved to move forward.
The second medical marijuana processing facility will be in Kellyville off 257th W Ave, and was presented by father and son duo 420 Craft Growers. Rickey Thompson, the father, says their processing facility will also be small and not intrusive, as it’s just a “1.5 person team” since his son also works somewhere else. The land is just above 17 acres, and also claims an organic process. Rather than ice baths, the Thompson’s will use cryo freezing techniques combined with heat and pressure, and also no use of chemicals. Just like Smith’s facility, waste management is highly regulated and tracked. There were no neighbors of the facility present to either speak against or for, as Thompson had already spoken with them and eased their concerns and questions. The duo were also unanimously approved for their variance by the Board of Adjustment.