Scratch-and-Sniff Pot Program


Marijuana, either growing or being smoked, has a distinctive odor. It’s not an exaggeration to say that anyone with a working nose who has smelled it will recognize it.

Those who know the smell and report it serve as a useful adjunct to police forces, especially when weed is being grown in a remote area police may not regularly visit.

Scratch-and-Sniff Postcards

In England, a new program seeks to enhance the ability of the public to sniff out marijuana “in the wild” so that they can tell police of their suspicions.

But how do you educate the noses of that portion of the public who have never knowingly smelled pot? The creative solution is to send out postcards with a scratch-and-sniff spot that mimics the smell of marijuana.

The postcards, being sent to thousands of homes in areas where marijuana farms have been found in the past, have a small spot to scratch and the headline, “Scratch and sniff to see if you recognize the smell of a cannabis farm near you.”

Response to increase in marijuana farms

The program, according to a BBC report, is being run by Crimestoppers and comes as a response to an increase in the number of marijuana farms discovered between 2011 and 2012.

These “farms” aren’t necessarily outdoor or rural grows either. Some of the cards will be sent to urban areas, like London, with the expectation citizens will notice abandon houses or flats where marijuana is being cultivated. More than 1,600 such farms have been discovered in the London area and police suspect this is just the tip of a much larger iceberg.

Spot smells like budding plant, not smoke

Because the intent of the cards it to generate tips about growing plants, the cards do not smell like marijuana smoke, but the scent given off during the pungent budding stage of marijuana growth.

About 210,000 of the scratch-and-sniff cards are to be mailed out, and the program has already seen some success in Holland.


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