Cannabis sniffing: Dutch citizens asked to help
Around 30,000 households in Rotterdam and The Hague are being asked to help sniff out cannabis 'plantations' in their cities. The two city councils are going to distribute 15,000 scented cards smelling of marijuana plants to help people recognise what a plantation smells like. The idea to involve the community in uncovering cannabis plantations is based on one from energy company Eneco. In 2006 and 2007, Eneco distributed gas-scented scratch cards to 1.8 million customers to enable them to recognise the smell of a gas leak. The initiative for the new cannabis cards was taken by the national taskforce which combats organised cannabis cultivation.
”Cannabis plantations are a hazard,” said a spokesperson from Rotterdam city council. “They can cause fires or flooding. We want to warn people about this.” Each year, around 200 plantations are discovered in the city of Rotterdam alone. In The Hague, 250 cannabis plantations were dismantled last year. By the end of August this year, 132 had been discovered.
The 'cannabis scratch card' also provides other information on how to discover plantations. These include things such as being aware of the buzzing sound of ventilators, houses and flats where the curtains are permanently closed, and unusual activitity in 'uninhabited' buildings.
For the time being these projects are being run on a trial basis, but if they are successful, all Dutch households could receive scented cards. The first cards will be distributed in The Hague and Rotterdam in November.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide