More than two cannabis factories are being uncovered every week in the North, a senior police commander has said.
They are generating millions of pounds for organised criminals and being used to fund even more criminality, PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris said.
He said: “They are illegal and they are dangerous.”
From April this year to the end of August, police arrested more than 1,000 people for drugs offences and removed almost £4m (€5.1m) worth of substances from the streets.
Over that same period officers uncovered 49 cannabis factories across the North.
Police will be distributing information cards to the public so they can recognise the signs and smells of cannabis factories in local communities.
Mr Harris added: “We know that people may not realise that the empty, run-down house or flat on their street with people coming and going may actually be a cannabis factory.
“It’s not just the stereotype of the remote rural dwelling or disused industrial unit.”
The North's Justice Minister, David Ford, said the information, in the form of a “scratch and sniff” card, was a novel approach to a growing problem.
“The new cards will enable members of the community to help tackle the drug problem in our society, by identifying criminal activity either near their own homes or in the areas where they work.”