ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — What is that smell in St. Johns County? You might get different responses if you ask someone that question.
A viewer named Kathleen emailed the "Ask Anthony" team about one particularly pungent odor. She lives in a neighborhood in Northern St. Johns County off of Longleaf Pine Parkway.
After doing some research, we discovered she's not the only person who smells something in the air.
"I emailed you because of the horrific smell that we get around here on occasion. It's not all the time, and it smells like a really bad skunk...but it's not a skunk," Kathleen explained.
Nope, it's not a skunk. It's actually not an animal at all.
"We have a pot farm around us," Kathleen added.
This pot farm, as Kathleen calls it, is about four miles away from her house off of Racetrack Road, not too far from the Durbin Park Shopping Center.
"I don't even know how this came to be or was allowed to be permitted so close to our homes and businesses and schools."
The smell is coming from Loop's Nursery and Greenhouses, which encompasses 650,000 square feet in two facilities. For decades, the nursery has supplied upscale potted plants, flowers and shrubs, and now, medical marijuana.
In August 2017, Loop's Nursery was authorized to become a medical marijuana treatment center. According to our prior reporting, the nursery had been in a legal battle with the Florida Department of Health to grow Charlotte's Web, a strain of marijuana that's used to help treat seizures in children with epilepsy and patients with severe muscle spasms or cancer.
"If you want to grow marijuana, that's fine. But, maybe do it somewhere where it's not so close to businesses, schools, and where people live and work and play."
According to state law, a medical marijuana treatment center can't be located within 500 feet of a school. The closest school to Loop's Nursery is about three miles away. So, they're not breaking any rules. Kathleen says even with that distance, if the wind blows a certain way, she can smell the marijuana plants at her child's school.
Others we spoke with off camera verified her statement.
"It's hard to teach a drug-free lifestyle when that's all you can smell some days," Kathleen added.
So, what about the smell? Loop's Nursery and Greenhouses told the "Ask Anthony" team that they have completed odor control on one of the greenhouses, and they are in the process of adding it to their other four houses.
No timeline was given on when that project would be completed.