Police Dogs

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on email

For cannabis consumers still living under prohibition, just the sight of a drug-sniffing dog is enough to send pulses pounding. But in New Jersey, that’s about to change. Fielding questions from lawmakers during an Assembly budget hearing, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal confirmed that police would no longer train K9 dogs to detect the smell of marijuana. The decision follows a national trend toward training police canines to ignore marijuana and focus on the detection of other substances.

New Jersey Police Won’t Train New K9s to Detect Marijuana

During Wednesday’s Assembly budget hearing, a New Jersey lawmaker asked Attorney General Grewal how cannabis legalization would impact police dogs. According to the AP, Grewal saidthat the currently pending measure to legalize cannabis for adult use prompted police departments to halt marijuana detection training.

The absence of a clear majority supporting that measure, however, has delayed a decision until later this year. Lawmakers had originally scheduled a vote on the bill for April 1. But with Senate President Stephen Sweeney citing “substantial progress” on the plan, Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy are continuing their push.

With legalization still a strong possibility, police departments aren’t committing resources to train weed-sniffing dogs unless there’s a demand. “It’s possible to train dogs to detect marijuana in the future if needed,” Grewal told lawmakers. 

For critics of the police’s use of drug-sniffing dogs, the policy shift is a welcome one. Since the late 1960s, dogs that sniff for drugs have faced controversy. Since dogs don’t know the law, they can and often do violate due process by conducting “searches” without a warrant. Furthermore, a 2011 Chicago Tribune exposé revealed how drug K9s pick up on and follow the biases and prejudices of their handlers.

The fact is that drug dogs constantly get it wrong and trigger false alerts. This lack of reliability has led judges to throw out many cases due to inadmissible police-dog evidence. Others have ruled that drug-sniffing dogs violate individuals’ right to privacy.

Police Will Reassign Weed-Sniffing Dogs to Schools and Jails

An end to the training of dogs to detect marijuana odors is a welcome change from a cannabis reform perspective. But changes to K9 training protocols often raise concerns about what happens to police pooches when they exit service. As Grewal told lawmakers, it’s not possible to “un-train” a K9 that’s knows how to detect cannabis.

But even if New Jersey legalizes an adult-use industry, state police will still have assignments for weed-sniffing dogs. Marijuana will still be prohibited in places like schools and jails, and New Jersey police plan to reassign qualified K9s to those duties.

The decision to end cannabis detection training for K9s is part of a broader winding down of marijuana law enforcement across the state. In August 2018, for example, Grewal instructed all municipal prosecutors to adjourn any marijuana-related cases.

Related Articles

You might be interested in that too

Ohio Marijuana Expo

The expo provides a fantastic opportunity to interact with hundreds of vendors ready to discuss and offer their business, products, and mission. You can expect a unique blend of medical marijuana cultivators, processors, dispensaries, advocates, and experts.

Read More »

Delivery sales launch in Denver, Colorado

Strawberry Fields and Doobba are kicking off delivery sales for the public today in Denver, much to the joy of stoners. The companies completed their first six legal pot deliveries on August 19 during a soft launch test round.

Read More »

Eddy Lepp passes away

Another iconic representative of the cannabis community, Charles Edward “Eddy” Lepp, has passed away after a battle with cancer. Lepp served in the U.S. Army’s military intelligence unit in the Vietnam War from 1969–1972, and shortly after, became a lifelong fighter for cannabis rights.

Read More »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *