Denver Police Are Using a Nose Telescope to Sniff Out People’s Weed
Can you smell the sweet, pungent perfume of legalized marijuana over the horizon? On November 6, 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington passed Amendment 64 and Initiative 502, respectively, which allowed marijuana to be produced, sold, and consumed by adults 21 and older, regulated like alcohol and tobacco. For pot smokers across the country, this was a huge get, paving the way for an increase in legalization across the country, and now that the related legislation has been reviewed and implemented, hundreds of dispensaries across both states are scheduled to open on January 1, 2014. However, one of the new mandates being upheld in Denver, Colorado, is aimed at the unexpected, yet most identifiable part of the process: the sticky-icky, funky-skunky smell of some dank-ass weed.
Denver is one of a handful of cities with a new odor ordinance, which ACLU lawyer Mark Silverstein called a “tremendous overreach, ill-advised, unnecessary and unconstitutional,” carrying a hefty $2,000 fine for smelly violators. The number of marijuana-based odor complaints in Colorado doubled from 7 in 2010 to 16 in 2012, and that number will undoubtedly continue to climb next year when retail marijuana becomes widely available, although the current crop of complaints comes from the wafting scent of grow-ops and not from smokers themselves. The regulatory concept is still tricky; I mean, how do you qualify the stink of any given area? Hot-box a station wagon in the middle of the summer and to the participants, the smell becomes undetectable after a few minutes, but get into your car the next morning and it smells like one of Wiz Khalifa’s dumps. To help with detection, the Denver police department bought themselves the awkwardly named, high-tech, futuristic, “Nasal Ranger” scent-o-scope, designed to help the user detect odor amounts.