Towns Are Using Robo-Noses To Hunt Potheads

To quote your middle school's dated anti-drugs PSA Betamax, "Weed stinks (but not like the cool menthol rush of Virginia Slims)." And while the finished product is definitely no bed of roses, cannabis farms themselves smell more like a bed of roses that a group of skunks used to have violent, sweaty sex on. So to sniff out those who violate the olfactory rules, local governments are building to a new kind of lawman, one with a robot nose.

Part man. Part machine. All narc.
St. Croix SensoryPart man. Part machine. All narc.

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The dopey city of Bessemer, Michigan has a weed problem, in that the entire town reeks of weed. This has become an unexpected problem in states where now-legal hobbyist pot growers are turning their neighborhoods into enclaves of sticky icky stench. But there's still a limit to how much grass one is allowed to sow. So in order to sniff out violators, small towns like Bessemer are investing in a gizmo called the Nasal Ranger, the name of a state-of-the-art field olfactometer and not a Daredevil-esque anosmic superhero who fights crime by hearing smells.

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The device is made by a company called St. Croix Sensory Inc. (which only intensifies its specialist sex shop vibe) and allows the user to identify and quantify smell strengths which could help them determine if an illegal amount of pungent pot plants have been gathered together. But a price must be paid to wield such robotic powers. Specifically $3,400, which is a lot of bake sales, but there's also a human cost. A select few must sacrifice themselves to bond to the machine, having their noses molded to make a seal. In addition, teaching in the ways of smell must be completed at St. Croix Sensory's trademark Odor School, so Bessemer will send a code and law officer to be trained in smell sensitivity -- exactly the kind of sensitivity training the American people want from their cops.

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Will it work? Some, including the mayor of Bessemer, have expressed concern that quantifying legal limits with a nose-telescope might not "hold up in court," fearing that the Nasal Hunters won't actually scare the town's pot hobbyists straight. But even if it won't lead to actual law enforcement, we're sure that having a bunch of steampunk elephant men straight out of an H.R. Giger fever dream prowling the streets will definitely scare potheads into cutting down on their kush.

For more weird tangents and steampunk snout stories, do follow Cedric on Twitter.

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