County Mayor takes a sniff but doesn’t get a whiff at Changhua’s biggest marijuana bust display

Changhua County Mayor Wang Huei-mei said she still doesn’t know what marijuana smells like because she was wearing a mask while visiting a police exhibit displaying evidence of the largest cannabis growing operation uncovered in the county in recent years.

Changhua County prosecutors have charged four men in relation to the case after police investigators found 275 marijuana plants being grown in a rented apartment in Xizhou Township.

Investigators conducted a 24-hour surveillance on the operation, and finally swooped a few days ago, after the men were seen loading plants into a truck in an apparent attempt to move the operation to another location.

marijuana plants
Cannabis plants grown in an apartment in Changhua County. Picture: Changhua County Police.

Police who raided the apartment said the property was filled with a strong smell of marijuana. However, Mayor Wang was unable to get a whiff of the odor, despite getting close and taking a sniff at today’s press conference.

Mayor Wang attended the conference to award a bonus to police, as the bust was the largest seen in the county in recent years. The mayor said that it was the first time in her life that she had seen marijuana, and that she was very curious.

One of the police officers described the characteristics of the marijuana plant to the mayor. The officer pointed out that the cannabis leaves are often used, but the flowers are the most valuable part of the plant and can fetch NT$1,200 to NT$1,500 per gram.

The marijuana plant has a strong smell, the officer explained, making it necessary to install equipment when growing indoors, to disperse the odor and avoid detection.

The mayor then leaned towards one of the plants at stem-level, pinched her purple mask a few millimeters from her face, and took a sniff.

Changhua County Mayor Wang Huimei sniffs a marijuana plant

“What does it smell like?” a reporter later inquired.

“I couldn’t tell because I was wearing a mask,” Mayor Wang replied.

The mayor said that police had told her that marijuana had a very pungent smell, but her nose was numb and she couldn’t smell it.

Beidou police sub-director Wang Guofeng said that there have been many cannabis production cases uncovered in Taiwan recently, but the number of cases involving cannabis use has not increased. This indicated that there may be a hidden user population, which is a big challenge to the police, the sub-director said.

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