by David Downs
Five months ago we wrote about weed trading cards making their way out of Berkeley Patients Care Collective into the wild. BPCC manager David Bowers had said the dispensary was looking into next-generation scratch and sniff cards, but it looks like the Netherlands got there first. The Wall Street Journal reports Monday on Dutch utility Stedin Netbeheer BV, which has created the skunky cards to aid a crackdown on illegal indoor pot farms. [Picture after the jump.]
"Last month, it launched an anonymous hot line and mailed out 30,000 scratch-and-sniff cards that smell like fresh cannabis. 'People have this image of a nice hippie smoking,' says Wolter Meijer, the company's top antifraud official. 'The reality is danger and crime.'"
"It's all part of the country's dissonant attitude toward marijuana. On paper, it's illegal to smoke, buy, sell or grow pot. But the ban on smoking hasn't been enforced since 1976, and coffee shops are licensed to sell small quantities. The paradox puzzles even Dutch law enforcement. 'You can smoke it, but you can't grow it,' says Erik de Borst, the nation's top anticannabis official. 'Where are you supposed to get it?'
Indeed, it's a question Californians wake up to as possession of small amounts of pot is now an infraction, but growing can mean jail. Such risk jacks up the street cost 500 percent, spurring more grows with attendant fires and robberies.