Does this smell like pot to you?
October 6, 2014 2:34 AM   Subscribe

A mate used to keep vials of marijuana and possibly other drugs in a backpack that I would like to use. I can't smell anything. Will I be stopped by k9 units?

When the backpack was given to me, I went through the pockets and found two small vials that had clearly been used for drugs. My mate didn't deny it but it was several years ago, and the backpack hasn't been used since then. I can't smell anything on the backpack but I worry that dogs might be able to. Can I wash the bag and be sure to get rid of any lingering smell? Or am I worried about nothing?
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I had to do some searching to double check i was right on the way this works, but you want an ozone generator. It will actually neutralize any smell of the residue, even if you can't smell it.

You don't need a huge one they'd use on like a hotel room, just a small one and a closet to lock the bag in upside-down with it.

I have never encountered a smell that a real ozone generator can't completely nuke(my friend who owns a fairly large one has used it on everything from musty, leaky cars to basements and furniture or even chemical residue smells), and the science backs it up that it actually neutralizes the smells, not just covers them up.
posted by emptythought at 2:47 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

If it was several years ago that the bag last had anything illegal in it, a friend of mine tells me that in their airport experience you will be fine. Ymmv of course.
posted by deadwax at 2:57 AM on October 6, 2014

Unless you are carrying something else that you are worried about, I wouldn't think it should be an issue. Say you bought the bag in a thrift store. You wouldn't be the first.
posted by tim_in_oz at 3:18 AM on October 6, 2014 [19 favorites]

You're worrying about nothing. A few years ago there was a report about 10% of UK banknotes having detectable traces of cocaine on them. People weren't detained at airports for carrying money.

There's a big difference between a backpack that once contained a sealed container that once contained drugs and a backpack that actually contains drugs. Even a dog's nose is unlikely to pick up any smell, and if it did, it's a secondhand backpack without any obvious traces of anything in it that might be illegal.
posted by pipeski at 3:20 AM on October 6, 2014

I have been stopped at airports by dogs alerting on backpacks that absolutely never had drugs in them. The handler usually does a thorough search, and then waves me on. Dogs do produce false positives sometimes and if there are no drugs in the backpack now, the handler can't tell whether the dog's behaviour is due to traces, or a false alarm. But I would make double and triple sure there are no hidden pockets or linings that anything could have accidentally ended up in. That would really suck.
posted by lollusc at 4:54 AM on October 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

I wouldn't worry about this in the slightest. Just clean it thoroughly (no stems or seeds in the bottom of a pocket someplace) and enjoy the pack.
posted by grudgebgon at 5:10 AM on October 6, 2014

It's not actually illegal to carry a bag that smells vaguely of weed.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:38 AM on October 6, 2014

The dogs in airports are looking for explosives, not drugs.
posted by bradbane at 8:52 AM on October 6, 2014

I would just wash the bag and move on.
posted by Sara C. at 9:09 AM on October 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Some airports actually do have drug dogs--jfk for instance though they mostly look for food and not drugs. I agree with the general sentiment that this is not something to worry about though.
posted by phoenixy at 9:21 AM on October 6, 2014

The dogs in airports are looking for explosives, not drugs.

Wrong, at least in Australian international airports.
posted by GeeEmm at 3:02 PM on October 6, 2014

A friend of mine has carried bags that once carried pot on international flights without incident.
posted by bunderful at 3:58 PM on October 6, 2014

Use the bag. Be proud of the bag. Be proud of the smell. Help us end the war on drugs.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:07 PM on October 6, 2014

If drug dogs were that sensitive, potheads would get stopped every time they went outside.

Run it through the washer. You'll be fine.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:33 PM on October 8, 2014

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