Drug-sniffing dogs have been an invaluable asset to law enforcement agencies across the country, but legal cannabis is beginning to change the way that these dogs are trained. The key problem with this method of drug detection is that dogs cannot inform you of what drugs they smell, or how much of the drugs they smell. In Colorado, it has been deemed that if a search is conducted in these cases and only yields the legal amount of adult-use cannabis, the citizen has had their right to privacy violated. This, unsurprisingly, has become a real topic of concern in states where cannabis has been legalized on some level-either medicinally or recreationally.
On July 14th, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a Moffat County motorist who had been searched after a drug-sniffing dog detected the smell of cannabis in his truck in 2015. No drugs were found, and the case has prompted Colorado law enforcement to reevaluate how their canine units are trained.
Legalized recreational cannabis for adults twenty-one years of age and older is changing how police conduct day-to-day matters in 420-friendly states like Colorado. In Greeley, drug-sniffing dogs are not taught how to sniff out cannabis. This means that when they do detect drugs in a vehicle, they are detecting actually illegal substances like heroin and cocaine.
Well, three of their dogs still have the training to detect cannabis. But Greeley PD’s two latest additions, Cairo and Rocko, do not.
Though this may sound like it might be more complicated of an issue than the police of Greeley might let on, Police Chief Jerry Gardner says that there really is nothing to fret over. “We could see that decision coming for a long time. It won’t impact us at all,” he said confidently in a statement made to the Greeley Tribune.