'Nasal Ranger' device helps track down smelly offenders - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

'Nasal Ranger' device helps track down smelly offenders

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It looks like a radar gun - pressed against a nose, but this device is actually being used to sniff out marijuana grow operations in Colorado that have become too stinky for residents.

It's a growing industry in certain parts of the country and cultivating marijuana can bring in a lot of money.

But even sophisticated operations like this -- involving special filtration systems, can emit a skunky smell that can spread for blocks.

"When medical marijuana first started, that was some of the calls we were getting is these facilities were coming in to places and they never had that odor before," said Ben Siller.

But when the city of Denver gets several odor complaints all at once, they call in a certified odor observer like Siller.

"Call me Nasal Ranger or the smeller dude ha ha," he said.

His radar gun looking device can actually measure the exact ratio of clean, non odorous air to the amount that's coming in from the smell.

"Click click and then I'll turn the dial to increase the diameter size of the hole so see if I get an odor read at that point."

Officials in Denver are in a tough spot. Now that voters have legalized pot officials must decide how and when someone can light up -- which is important for families like Karyn Wingard-Manuel's.

"If someone is doing it out on the front porch and my kids are around and it would definitely bother me and after a while I would maybe call it in," she said.

But even with this sensitive device, it's been rare to record a violation in most neighborhoods.

"If need be, we'll go out and contact the party, let them know that a complaint has been filed, even though there isn't a violation and we'll let them know that perhaps there's some way they can work it out," said Siller.

That hasn't been a problem, yet. But with more and more people able to light up now, Siller expects complaints to come pouring in.

"When medical marijuana first started, I wouldn't have anticipated this odor from the growth facilities, so it's hard to say.. it's hard to predict what the amount of use is going to be," he said.

In case your wondering, for someone to violate the law, the "Nasal Ranger" would have to register a pretty pungent smell -- exceeding a 7-to-1 ratio.

Read more at FOX 31 Denver: ‘Nasal Ranger' patrols for pot smells in Denver

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