What Good Is a Pot-Sniffing Dog When Pot Is Legal?

Marijuana legalization complicates the use of drug-detecting canines.



Yesterday the Associated Press reported that a rug ordered by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in Florida arrived emblazoned with the motto "In Dog We Trust." The sheriff's office said it was a mistake, but it also could be read as an expression of faith in a superhuman being that miraculously and mysteriously generates probable cause for searches. As I explain in my latest Forbes column, the legalization of marijuana is casting new doubts on that faith. Here is how the column starts:

Testifying before a House subcommittee last year, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration warned that marijuana legalization is bad for dogs. DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart was talking about pets that inadvertently eat cannabis-infused snacks. But she could have been referring to marijuana-detecting police dogs, which face an uncertain future in jurisdictions where a whiff of pot is no longer evidence of a crime.

As legalization takes effect in two more states this year, police and prosecutors in Oregon and Alaska are confronting the same canine conundrum that their counterparts in Colorado and Washington have been dealing with since 2012: What good is a dog trained to find marijuana when marijuana is legal?

Read the whole thing.

[Thanks to Mark Sletten for the A.P. link.]