NORMAN, Okla (KFOR) — An interesting smell is causing concern for neighbors in Cleveland County. It’s coming from “WhataWaste“, a business that deals with trash from medical marijuana companies. Neighbors in the area said sometimes the smell is so bad in the air, it’s not even pleasant to walk outside.

“If you go out on your back porch, if they happen to be burning or whatever they’re doing at that time, you can’t stay out there. It’s that bad. It’s just a very disturbing odor,” said John Garrison, a concerned neighbor.

WhataWaste is fewer than two miles away from the neighborhood and neighbors said they can smell a strong odor blowing in the air multiple times a day.

“We get home from work about four and we’re smelling it from that time all the way through the evening and we’ll go to bed nine or ten at night. We let the dog out before we go to bed, and you’re smelling it,” said Janet, another concerned neighbor.

Neighbors said the smell started a couple months ago and they’re now concerned for the health of others.

“I started seeing posts on our neighborhood site, and a lot of people were complaining about it, saying they were having headaches, dry eyes, burning nose, things like that,” said Vickie Reissig, a concerned neighbor.

According to the website, WhataWaste helps with the “waste handling of cannabis”.

The business sent News 4 a statement:

We’ve only been made aware of the complaints in the last week. Since receiving those complaints, we have examined our process and are working to eliminate all potential smells and smoke while also trying to move away from incineration only to an incineration and compost waste facility. You can’t get high. Just because you can smell it, that doesn’t mean it’s going to have any type of effect. At the temperatures in which we incinerate and at the distance in which people are smelling it, that would be completely impossible. Cannabinoids at that temperature, they’re likely to last 3 seconds.


Though, neighbors still want answers.

“We would just like to know if there’s any hazardous material in there that could be harmful to the kids or adults in our neighborhood,” said Reissig.

“What can be done to better regulate this, to eliminate the terrible odor that’s that’s invading both of our neighborhoods and and then address the health issue and the potential health issues as well,” said Garrison.

News 4 also reached out to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. A joint statement with the Department of Environmental Quality was sent.

“DEQ and OMMA are aware of this matter and are actively working together to address it. Teams from both agencies will collaborate to look further into the issue and conduct an air quality test in the area tomorrow.”