Drug Dog Retraining Due To Marijuana Legalization

Apr 19, 2013

With the passage of legalized marijuana, police departments around Washington are re-training their canine units to be desensitized to the smell of pot.

Seattle Police Department spokesman Sean Whitcomb says times are changing and police are simply trying to change with them.

“We’re still looking for heroin, we’re still looking for cocaine, we’re still looking for methamphetamine… what we are not looking for is marijuana," Whitcomb says.

Whitcomb explains the dogs are trained to search and signal for drugs based on a rewards system. Once rewards for finding marijuana are taken away, the dogs stop looking for it.

However, the Tacoma Police Department is an exception, opting not to retrain their canine unit. They say they haven’t been charging for marijuana offenses for years, but they’d still like to keep their dog sharp to the smell since possessing over an ounce is still illegal.

Copyright 2013 KPLU