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Douglas Capraro Douglas Capraro

UK Cops Hand Out Scratch-and-Sniff Marijuana Cards

The scented cards are part of an initiative to encourage members of the public in Northern Ireland to identify and report marijuana grow houses.

5 Substance

The cards do not contain ACTUAL drugs.

The nose knows. Photo via

In a new strategy to combat rising numbers of marijuana grow operations, police in Northern Ireland are distributing “scratch-and-sniff” cards in an effort to help the public recognize the scent of weed.

If you think, “duh!” well, it might not be as easy as you suspect. Even people who recognize the smell of pot when it’s smoked might not be familiar with the scent of it being grown, which is apparently very different. This is the scent that the cards replicate.

“The new cards will enable members of the community to help tackle the drug problem in our society, by identifying criminal activity either near their own homes or in the areas where they work,” says Justice Minister David Ford, optimistically. ”The distinctive smell is a tell-tale sign which the public should report.”

In 2014 so far, authorities in Northern Ireland have already discovered 49 marijuana factories. And 130 total factories were discovered last year, which represents a 44% increase from the previous year. And the country’s police force is not willing to sit idly by and let this happen.

In addition to the tell-tale scent, the cards also list other signs that can indicate a building may contain a pot factory, such as covered or blacked-out windows, constant lighting visible day and night, high levels of heat and condensation,  the constant buzz of ventilation and excessive amount of cables.

But lest the “helpful” public get too excited about the free cards, the police want to make it very clear that they don’t contain actual pot: “There are no drugs in the card, it’s just the smell of the plant.”