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Isn’t there a plant in some people’s gardens that smells like marijuana but isn’t? Or is it that several of my neighbors really are smoking weed all the time?

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Catnip (seriously) but the cats eat and roll in it

I’m going to hazard a guess that it IS weed – which smells very strong when the buds are ripening. You don’t have to be smoking it to smell it!

Now that using cannabis is legal for adults, I’d say that yes, what you are smelling is weed. It’s unfortunate that your neighbors are still actually smoking it; there are many other, less noxious ways to administer it. As someone who uses it for a legit medical reason, may I ask that you inquire of your neighbors before concluding that they are simply stoners? Without cannabis I’d be unable to walk. Thanks

You live in Oakland, right? For sure it’s weed. Your neighbors are growing and/or smoking weed.

Plectranthus neochilus (succulent-ish plant with purple flowers) smells pretty skunky – but I think you’re probably actually just smelling weed. I notice it everywhere since it was legalized. I don’t particularly care if people get high or not, but I can’t stand the smell!

Some Euphorbia varieties have a skunk-like smell that could smell like weed. Euphorbia Characias wulfenii is one that I know can be stinky but I imagine there are others. Or maybe your neighbors are smoking weed all the time. I have one that does!

Lantania can but I am not sure if it would be strong enough.

Are you sure it isn’t a skunk? (They don’t call it “skunk weed” for nothing – the two smells are very similar and they are both very strong.) Skunks are nocturnal, so if you are mainly smelling this smell at night, especially in the middle of the night, there’s a good chance it’s your little skunk neighbor, not your pot-smoking neighbor. We have skunks walking through our Berkeley backyard all the time, and if they feel threatened, such as by a barking dog, they will let loose their smell. One of our neighbors found that a skunk was living under their house. They used Critter Control which trapped the skunk and then they sealed up their crawl space so it never came back.

OP here, and the winner is Plectranthus neochilus! It’s noted on Annie’s Annuals website to have a “ganja” scent and sure enough there’s a large patch of it in my neighbor’s yard. When I pulled a leaf off, there was an instant strong skunky smell. Thanks for all of the interesting suggestions!

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Couple robbed by drugs gang because plant in their garden smelt like cannabis

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T he distinct smell emanating from the house at the end of the cul-de-sac had been familiar to the neighbours for years. But when masked gangsters forced their way into the property, demanding its occupants hand over their cannabis stash, the middle-aged couple were understandably bewildered.

The couple, it emerged, had a plant growing in their front garden commonly called Caucasian Crosswort, which gives off a smell resembling cannabis, and which the bungling burglars appear to have mistaken for the drug.

On discovering that the house was not, in fact, a cannabis factory, the gang made off instead with cash and other personal items.

B ut the pair were left traumatised and utterly baffled about what had led to the mistake. Police officers called to the property, in Winford, Bristol, were equally confused.

They could smell the strong scent of cannabis outside the house but were unable to identify the source.

Eventually, one of the officers contacted Alan Down, a local horticulture expert, asking for help.

“The police officer who came to see me said he specialised in drugs,” Mr Down said.

“He knew of several plants that smelled like cannabis but he couldn’t see them in the garden.”

Mr Down told the officer to take cuttings of the smelliest plants in the couple’s garden and he soon identified the culprit as Phuopsis stylosa, known as Caucasian Crosswort.

“The smell is so distinct, it really does smell like cannabis,” he told the Telegraph.

“It’s more intense when it’s hot and dry.

“It’s an uncommon garden plant that makes good ground cover and is easy to grow but it comes from Iran and is an unusual plant to find in the UK.”

M r Down said he was able to identify the plant, which has delicate pink flowers, because he had spotted it once on a farmyard in Cornwall and taken a photograph.

“I like a challenge,” he added. “I knew roughly what it was but it took me a little while. The police were very grateful. I assume this couple will dig it up now.”

Neighbours said the smell had emitted from the garden for at least ten years but most thought it was foxes.

One neighbour said: “The smell is quite strong. It always smelt as if it was where foxes had been.

“The couple who live there didn’t plant it, it’s been there for many, many years.

“But I’m not sure how anyone would even know about it. Unless you were looking for it, you couldn’t possibly know it was there. No one would have cause to walk past that house.”

T he previous owner of the house, who did not wish to be identified, had lived there from 1999 and said she believed it was already in the well-established garden when she purchased the house and had no idea where it had come from.

“It was by the front door,” she said. “We could sometimes smell quite a strong scent but we thought it was foxes as there are a lot around there.”

A n Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said they were still investigating the aggravated burglary that occurred in the early hours of August 15.

“Masked men went into the property and threatened the occupants, before making off with cash and other personal items,” he added.

“Officers with the local neighbourhood team have been providing support to the victims and recently identified a plant growing in the victims’ garden commonly called Caucasian Crosswort, which gives off a smell resembling cannabis.

“We believe this smell may have led to a case of mistaken identity, with the offenders believing cannabis was being grown at the property.

“We’ve advised the victims to remove the plants and would appeal to anyone with information about this incident to come forward.”

The distinct smell emanating from the house at the end of the cul-de-sac had been familiar to the neighbours for years.