Scratch-And-Sniff Marijuana Cards Used In Dutch Drug Campaign

In a government effort to curb what is perhaps their nation's best-known vice, Dutch households will soon receive marijuana-scented scratch-and-sniff cards to help them detect illegal urban cannabis plantations in their vicinity, the BBC is reporting.

According to Rotterdam authorities, over 30,000 cards are being distributed this week to help citizens identify marijuana's pungent odor. Each of the 8-by-4 inch cards, which bear the slogan "Assist in combatting cannabis plantations," contain two boxes which can be scratched to release the cannabis scent, along with the telephone number of a local police precinct.

"Citizens must be alerted to the dangers they face as a result of these plantations, and if they become aware of any suspect situations, they must report them," Arnie Loos, spokesman for a government-appointed working group on cannabis cultivation, is quoted by the AFP as saying. "If people do in fact call the number listed on the card, we could make this a national operation."

Despite many tourists' belief, marijuana use in the Netherlands is not technically legal, but possession and consumption of under five grams was decriminalized in 1976 under a "tolerance" policy, and citizens are allowed to grow up to five plants for personal use. According to the Telegraph, about 6,000 plantations are busted every year.

The Washington Post also notes the sniff card campaign has been backed by energy network company Stedin, because most cannabis plantations illegally syphon off electricity to power lights used to make plants grow.