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Nasal Ranger' Sniffs Out Pot Smoking and Odor Violations
Image source: Nasal Ranger/X

Nasal Ranger' Sniffs Out Pot Smoking and Odor Violations

"It's hard to legislate odor."

It's similar in size to a radar gun -- and it too is meant to hunt down offenders. This telescopic-shaped device in the hands of investigators isn't held at eye level though, but at their noses.

nasal ranger Image source: Nasal Ranger/St. Croix Sensory

The "Nasal Ranger," as it's called, is being used by authorities in Denver to investigate odor complaints, including marijuana-related scents.

According to the Denver Post, Ben Siller, an investigator with the Denver Department of Environmental Health, uses the device to help track down odor law violators.

In a city where backyard marijuana smoking is now legal and state where pot stores and legal growing will be allowed by 2014, such devices might come in handy. But Siller said its unlikely pot will result in any official code violations.

In order to actually violate the law, the smell needs to be pretty strong. The Nasal Ranger would need to register the offensive smell as exceeding a 7-to-1 ratio.

The Nasal Ranger, made by St. Croix Sensory, is described as a device that can be used for "proactive monitoring " or as an "enforcement tool":

A Nasal Ranger Field Olfactometer creates a calibrated series of discrete dilutions by mixing the odorous ambient air with odor-free (carbon) filtered air. Field olfactometry defines each discrete dilution level as a “Dilution-to-Threshold,” D/T, ratio. The “Dilution-to-Threshold” ratio is a measure of the number of dilutions needed to make the odorous ambient air “non-detectable”.

Siller said smoking and growing pot won't set off the alarm. Even if the herbal smell of marijuana smoking or growing doesn't violate a law though, Siller told The Denver Post it's a good practice to make an effort to reduce odors.

ben siller Ben Siller investigates odor complaints with the Nasal Ranger, seeing if they amount to a violation of city laws. (Image source: KMGH-TV)

"If I was hosting a birthday party for 7-year-olds in my backyard and the neighbors' marijuana smoke was drifting over the fence, I would be concerned," Councilman Charlie Brown told The Post. "The best way to prevent that is to communicate with your neighbor. The truth is creating an ordinance to prevent it is very difficult, but the council is looking at a variety of options."

The Post noted that several odor complaints within a specific time period could result in citations.

According to KMGH-TV, odor complaints related to marijuana more than doubled from seven to 16 between 2010 and 2012. The smell of pot accounts, on average, for one out of every eight complaints.

Gary Lasswell, the city's manager of environmental operations, told KMGH they developed a best management guide for marijuana operators to mitigate certain effects, such as the smell associated with cultivating the drug.

Watch the local news station's report about the device:

When a complaint comes in, Siller is on the scene with the Nasal Ranger to evaluate if it would count as a violation or not.

According to the Post, there hasn't been a legitimate violation since 1994.

Denver's city council is evaluating odor laws further Tuesday.

"Odor can be subjective," Council President Mary Beth Susman told the Post. "It's hard to legislate odor. The strength that is required to register on the Nasal Ranger is something we need to look at. I also wonder if people will get used to the smell and the dislike of it now may change over time."

(H/T: Huffington Post)



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