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Marijuana: Amendment 64 causes problems for drug dogs with a nose for pot

Categories: Marijuana

Larimer County k9 Ryker.jpg
Ryker.
How useful is a drug dog trained to go after something that is now legal in two states? Since it's no longer a crime to carry up to an ounce of marijuana in Colorado, the mere fact that a drug dog has detected marijuana isn't reason enough to search someone.

And because a dog is trained to detect not just marijuana but other drugs, such as meth, it might be tough to prove in court that a dog alerted the authorities to an illegal drug rather than the legal one.

"Basically, there is no way to un-train the dogs to not do marijuana," says John Schulz, spokesman for the Larimer County Sheriff's office. "So it really hamstrings the use of the dogs. What it boils down to is, we can't use the dog sniff anymore as a reason for probable cause."

That doesn't mean Larimer County's dogs -- Oso, Grendel, Ryker and Arco -- are getting lazy, though. Schulz says the dogs are used when law enforcement has the legal right to search somewhere based on other factors. "If we find marijuana [in that instance], we can ignore it," he notes, "but they may find other things as well."

Loveland police are thinking ahead, and training their latest pup -- a Dutch shepherd named Shadow -- to ignore the scent of cannabis completely; she'll still be schooled to sniff out still-illicit drugs, as well as how to drag a fleeing suspect to the ground. The dog is the third for the department, but the first to be trained in this way. When the department gets a fourth dog, it will be trained like Shadow.

Schulz says that when Larimer County adds more K-9 unit dogs, they will be trained to ignore marijuana, too. In the meantime, he notes, county authorities can always call on Shadow if they need an extra hand -- or, more specifically, a nose.

Interestingly, Seattle police have come to a different conclusion regarding their canines. After Washington voters approved Initiative 502 in November, legalizing small amounts of marijuana for personal use, the Seattle Police Department started retraining its dogs. And after two months of training, according to KOMO News in Seattle, a "general tracking dog" now ignores marijuana.

More from our Marijuana archive: "4/20 at CU-Boulder: Rob Corry explains why he won't challenge campus closure" and "Marijuana retailers may not have to grow their own -- and that's great, attorney says."


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7 comments
Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Start training new dogs which will ignore marijuana .

Duh !?!!!!!!

Send the veteran police canines to the Commerce City Police Dept . 

They're EXCELLENT w/ dogs !

Georgie
Georgie

YO-HO...........ROOF!!!
DOIN' IT DOGGY STYLE
U.S. Custom Coast Guard Dope Dog, nicknamed "BUST EM"
Like most dope sniffin' dogs, he's got a habit, trained to have to have it.
Pick up the tracks of the trafficker, and track em' like a rabbit up the coastline.
Canine controlled substance retriever.
Receiver of the "Golden Nose" award, for leadin' em' to the cash, cashin' in on the stash.
Now he's in line for his issue of the booty.
Never do a line in the line of duty, he's a dope dog.
U.S. Custom Coast Guard Dope Dog
Keen sense of smell trackin the tell-tale trails of Cartels,
Dope Boats, Big Dope
Never a gram or O.Z.. kilo too low key.
Gotta be tons a "P" blow, bales of lumbo.
When other dogs sniff at other dog's tails, he can track the profits from a dope sale straight to the stank account.
Big banks, bankin' on laundering, the dirty money no stinkin' he follows his nose.
And as the wind blows, he get a whiff, he take a sniff.
A Dope Dog
A Dope Dog
Old Mac Uncle had some drugs, C.I.A. I-O
And with those drugs he bought some arms,
C.I.A. I-O
It was a bang, bang here and a snort, snort there.
Bangs and snorts everywhere.
Old Mac Uncle starts a war, C.I.A. I-O
But the war on drugs is hell on Dope Dogs nose.
It smells where the nose goes when the doors close and the dealer want to hide the dope.
in the booty, in the twat.
Then they squat and make the dog sniff their bowel.
Foul, as they fart in his face.
DAMN for a shitty half gram.
A DOPE DOG.
U.S. Custom Coast Guard Dope Dog, nicknamed "Bust em"
Like most dope sniffin' dogs, he's got a habit, trained to have to have it.
Pick up the tracks of the trafficker, and track em' like a rabbit up the coastline.
Canine controlled substance retriever.
Receiver of the "Golden Nose" award
Dope Dog-A Dope Dog.
Out of the toxic waste comes a fox that wastes no time.
A genetically improved smell capability, the long and dragging tales of the possibilities of "clone canine."
Conceived under the influence of toxic wasted doctors.
Computer bugs debuggin' devices and vice verses and various viruses.
And until his retirement don't mention, no requirement nowhere in his pension for the upkeep, the keeping up of the habit.
The system have a habit of making sure you get, a habit that can't be kept up with unless you're a dope dog.

A Dope Dog
A Dope Dog
An undercover NARC with a bark.
He took a bite out of crime.
Posin' as a seein: eye dog he bit the blind,
the man with the cane in the coke.
Soon as the dope boat float, the media goes comatose.
Unrelated over-the-counter overdose now becomes drug-related.
Aided and abetted by alot of apprehension and indifference.
the bigger the headache the bigger the pill.
Take your medicine cause you gonna be ill when I tell you the deal on dope.
There's more profit in pretending that we're stopping it, then selling it.
Selling out, we're in for the shock of a lifetime.
Stop and we might find faces in primetime.
The faces of yours and mine.
Over the counter, under the counter.
On account of the drugs:
it's not the drugs that drag you through the mud.
It's the money. It ain't funny.
A Dope Dog.
A Dope Dog.
Old MacUncle has a bank: drugs are sure to flow.
BCC-I-CIA-DEA-IOU.S.
U.S. Custom Coast Guard Dope Dog, nicknamed "Bust em"
Like most dope sniffin' dogs, he's got a habit, trained to have to have it.
Pick up the tracks of the trafficker and track em' like a rabbit up the coastline.
Canine controlled substance retriever.
Receiver of the "Golden Nose" award, for leadin' em' to the cash, cashin' in on the stash.
Now he's in line for his issue of the booty.
Never do a line in the line of duty.
He's a dope dog.
A DOPE DOG.

He can smell the cargo on the boats and planes and trains and thangs
(dope dog)
He can smell the cargo on the boats and planes and trains and thangs
(dope dog)
A DOPE DOG

stuka1
stuka1

Two words: Tough Shit.

Monkey
Monkey

This is great news! The smell of weed, no matter how strong, is not a lawful reason to violate a persons rights and search them or their property. I'm so happy notorious weed haters like Larimer County is going along with this, I thought for sure they would claim the smell is still probable cause because they have to verify how much you have. Technically, weed isn't legal, an ounce and/or 6 plants of weed is legal. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Canine generated PC has always been a scam.

There is no way of deposing a K9 to determine which type of  "contraband" it smelled, or what "quantity", or if the odor was old residual trace, indicating that no current crime was in progress.

Worse, K9 handlers are notorious for faking false-positive indicators, either by manipulating their dogs or simply lying about the indication. Once again, you can't cross-examine a K9 in court to determine the veracity of the events, so they've been used and abused by law enforcement as a "free probable cause" tool for decades.

The bigger problem exists with K9 units in non-marijuana States, who can hit on the residual odor of your otherwise empty Colorado car -- odor from activity which was legal in Colorado and did not continue across state lines -- resulting in a lawful search of the car/contents and any evidence of other crimes found as a consequence of that search would be admissible, such as a gun, or large amounts of $$$ money.




DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Monkey "I thought for sure they would claim the smell is still probable cause because they have to verify how much you have."

They still might, for the very quantitative reason you mentioned. Are the really going to give the Mexican Cartels with 300lbs of brick weed in their SUV a free pass up the I-25 corridor ?


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