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Know your weed by smell: UK police want public to sniff out cannabis farms

British police are handing out “scratch and sniff” cannabis cards to inform the public of the smell of illegal weed farms. While some have been busy sniffing out their neighbors, dozens of UK celebrities have spoken out against the rampant “war on drugs.”

Police forces in England and Wales have been distributing A5-sized cards that emit the smell of growing cannabis when rubbed, urging people to report on similar suspicious smells in their neighborhood, UK media reports.

The educational campaign targets illegal growing hotspots and is said to be part of a publicity drive against drugs that was launched last spring.

Campaign posters are also warning the public that cannabis is not a “harmless drug,” but instead is a magnet for organized crime gangs that “bring crime, violence and intimidation into your area.”

Police now want the public to be instrumental in their fight against drugs, according to the national police lead for Cannabis, Chief Superintendent Bill Jephson.

“Ordinary people who come forward and share their concerns will be our best source of information. The campaign explains the tell-tale signs that a cannabis farm exists and how people can ensure the information they have gets to the police in confidence. I would urge everyone to act as our eyes and ears or, in this case, our noses to sniff out the criminals,” Jephson was quoted as saying by the Mirror.

According to UK law enforcement, human trafficking and energy theft are also centered around cannabis growing. In 2012, around one-fifth of human trafficking victims in the UK – most of them children – were forcefully involved in growing cannabis, according to the UK Human Trafficking Centre. Around one-third of all stolen energy in the country last summer was related to cannabis farms, UK energy watchdog OFGEM said.

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