British Sugar cannabis farm 'weed' smell investigated

Medicinal cannabis at British Sugar plant in Norfolk Image copyright British Sugar
Image caption The company said harvesting the cannabis could produce "intermittent smells"

A sugar producer is investigating whether its cannabis farm is responsible for a smell which has been baffling Norfolk residents for a week.

British Sugar began growing a non‐psychoactive variety of cannabis at its Wissington plant this year for use in children's epilepsy medicine.

Following its harvest, people began complaining about the smell of "weed", the Eastern Daily Press reported.

The company said it is taking comments "seriously" and investigating.

British Sugar began cultivating the cannabis - which produces the active medicinal chemical cannabidiol - after phasing out its tomato production at the site.

The company finished harvesting it on Friday, a spokeswoman said.

Follow your nose and sniff out more news from Norfolk

However, the whiff had travelled to a number of nearby towns and villages, causing people to take to social media to ask: "Why does it smell of weed in Dereham?"

Another resident wrote: "Extra smelly this morning... everyone was smiling though."

Image copyright Google
Image caption British Sugar has a horticultural business close to its Wissington sugar beet plant

A British Sugar spokeswoman said harvesting could produce "intermittent smells" and added the company was now "investigating the recent reports to understand the distance any smells could travel from our operations".

"We've been aware in recent days of the concerns... about unusual smells across a wide area of Norfolk," she said.

"As part of our investigation we will look at any measures we can implement during our operations to reduce the intensity and impact of any smell this could cause."

British Sugar's horticultural business, which has been near its Wissington plant for about 16 years, uses heat and waste carbon dioxide generated by its sugar beet factory.

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