The Nose: Injustice in the air? Tacoma tells dopers to keep smells to themselves

TheNose@thenewstribune.comNovember 15, 2013 

Heads up, pot-loving dudes and dudettes. The city of Tacoma is ready to harsh your mellow.

What the voters of Washington giveth (by passing an initiative allowing recreational hippy lettuce), the buzzkillers at Tacoma City Hall taketh away (by micromanaging where, when and how you can exercise your recreational rights).

The City Council recently passed a public nuisance ordinance that won’t let you grow, process or sell ganja — and certainly not smoke it — within 1,000 feet of a library, church, park, school, video arcade, playground, petting zoo, puppet show or Chuck E. Cheese.

Mind you, T-Town honchos are mostly just adopting precautions already laid out under Initiative 502. And they say this is nothing new; Tacoma’s nuisance code already bans things that are “unreasonably offensive to the senses,” whether it’s loud music or an ugly pile of scrap metal.

Under the new cannabis code, you can’t have bongs, blunts or baggies anywhere “directly visible from the adjacent public right of way.”

But sight isn’t the sense you should be worried about, bro.

The Nose knows that with wacky weed, it’s all about the smell — and The Man is trying to snatch that pungent pleasure away from you.

Tacoma city code now declares your marijuana operation a nuisance if someone catches a whiff of spliff from a nearby street corner.

So it’s OK to fire up a joint as long as it makes no scents? Sorry, but that makes no sense.

Leave it to the nanny state/nanny city to take the funky, skunky fun out of legalized pot.

For a moment, we thought Tacoma finally had a chance to become famous for a different aroma.

Tacoma’s not alone: Meanwhile, in the other state that approved recreational marijuana last year, the smell police already have been called to duty. And Denver authorities have an impressive tool at their disposal.

The Nasal Ranger is a handheld device that helps code enforcement officers investigate odor complaints and measure stink levels. Think of it as a radar gun for the sniffer.

Made by a company called St. Croix Sensory, it is “a nasal organoleptic instrument (that) provides field olfactometry with a scientific method for dependable ambient odor quantification.”

Don’t know exactly what that means, but it gives us an inferiority complex.

So mind your manners, Colorado stoners. And maybe just stick with pot brownies for awhile.

Only human smell power for us: Tacoma will keep its surveillance low-tech for now, assistant city manager Tansy Hayward told The Nose.

“While we do use a sound meter in some cases to measure noise, we do not have and have no current plans to acquire a similar device for odor,” Hayward said in an email. “If we receive a complaint, the assigned Code Compliance Officer will record their observations and send a notice if appropriate.”

That’s a relief. We were afraid the city might buy a couple organoleptic super-schnozzles and use them to unfairly target certain demographics. Like, Evergreen State College students.

Nasal profiling, in other words.

Don’t jinx it, governor: Fresh off his victory helping keep Boeing in our state, Gov. Jay “Building a Working Washington” Inslee has moved on to his next conquest: He’s joined a trade delegation to China, in part to promote Almond Roca.

It’s a nice gesture, sir, but can you please get out before it’s too late? The last thing we want is for Roca to move its plant from Tacoma to Shanghai.

Of butterflies and gophers: Last summer we told you about a Fox News report that scolded the Army for spending millions to protect animals at JBLM at the same time it was furloughing humans.

Well, a top officer told a ballroom full of local leaders in Tacoma on Thursday that the Mazama pocket gopher and two other threatened species remain the biggest threat to the military’s longevity in the South Sound.

“I cannot say when I joined the Army in 1985 that my goal was to stand in front of you all talking about butterflies and gophers,” Col. Charles Hodges said.

Incidentally, Hodges said that ever since the Fox story, his peers like to call him Colonel Gopher.

Laugh it up, gents, but in a few years you might have to call him something else.

General Gopher.

Got news for The Nose? Write to TheNose@thenewstribune.com. Twitter: @thenosetribune

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