Police have been left red-faced in the central North Island town of Turangi after inadvertently treating locals to a free high.
Billowing clouds of cannabis-scented smoke were wafting across from the town's police station, over the road and into the car park outside the New World supermarket.
Police bosses have apologised to the townsfolk for the accidental inundation of cannabis smoke, which were emanating from a furnace at the police station where a recently-acquired haul of the harvest was being incinerated.
However their fuming faux pas won't be forgotten for a while, thanks to video footage shot by a bemused passer-by.
New Plymouth man Adam Green posted a video on Instagram and Facebook of the cannabis clouds drifting past him.
"Man, does it smell like the old ganja over there," he remarked. "Here comes a good cloud wafting past now. I might just stand here for a moment."
News that the police had made a hash of the disposal operation quickly spread through social media.
Green's post was quickly picked up by the Turangi Facebook page, with many chipping in with their own quips and observations.
"Couldn't believe it when I walked right by the police station and into the heavy smoke with my three-year-old son," Maria Borum commented. "Maybe that's why he slept so well last night."
Rangi Perewi said: "Someone should of rang the fire brigade and ambulance so all the services get a taste of Turangi hospitality."
And Raewyn Eru suggested: "They could of advertised - Get stoned free in the car park."
Police chiefs were not so thrilled about the gaffe.
"Unfortunately...given the conditions [and] the wind I understand the smoke did drift further than anticipated," Taupo Area Commander Warwick Morehu said.
"I apologise on my staff's behalf to the community and we have already taken measures to change our practice and procedures going forward into the future.
"It is certainly not our intention to cause harm or alarm to our people in Turangi."
- Waikato Times