Devices used to detect illegal grow-ops are also smuggling contraband into correctional facilities.
Norfolk County in Ontario is the latest community putting an eye in the sky to help enforce cannabis regulations.
The county is purchasing a $3,000 drone to help enforce minimum distance separation rules that require businesses growing cannabis to be at least 150 metres away from residential areas, schools and other sensitive land areas.
The hope is the expensive new drone will be able to detect offending plants on private property that county staff might not otherwise be able to access.
In addition to cost of the drone itself, the Simcoe Reformer noted that Norfolk has set aside another $12,000 for training, insurance costs and the computer systems required to operate the technology.
Despite moving forward with the new security too, not everyone is sold on it.
“I have a hard time with the drone,” Norfolk mayor Kristal Chopp said last week. “Sometimes, you can buy one for a couple hundred bucks,” Chopp pointed out.
Communities across Canada and the U.S. have been struggling with the cannabis odour that some say in generated by the large grow operations that are becoming increasingly common. The small town of Bessemer, Mich., has gone so far as to approve the purchase of an odour-detecting device — called the Nasal Ranger — in response to residents’ complaints about the overpowering smell of pot.
“The city of Bessemer stinks,” council member Linda Nelson said, according to Your Daily Globe. “You can smell marijuana everywhere. We’ve got people who can’t sit in their backyard because the smell from their neighbour is so bad.”
Drones may be able to help enforcement efforts in Norfolk, but they are causing problems of their own elsewhere as the devices have also been used to smuggle drugs into correctional institutions.
Charges were just laid for the first time last week after two men used a drone to drop contraband off at a Collins Bay institution in Ontario, according to the Kingston Whig Standard.
“This is just one drone, said Det. Insp. Jim Gorry of the Ontario Provincial Police, who added the contraband that was dropped off had an institutional value of $75,000. “We have seized many others, but not until now have we been able to apprehend those operating the drones. It certainly is an issue that concerns me regularly and we try our best to suppress it,” Gorry said.
Written by David Yasvinski