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Friday, 31 May 2013

Police dogs trained not to sniff out marijuana in Washington State.

The Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop.

If You Carry Marijuana in Washington State, Police Dogs Will Sniff Right Past You

Small amounts of pot are now legal in the state, so drug-sniffing dogs are being trained to ignore it.

Washington's Bremerton Police Department will no longer be training their drug-sniffing dogs to detect marijuana, according to the Columbian. And law enforcement agencies around the state are doing the same, after voters approved an initiative legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana in November.

A police officer and his dog by Shutterstock.

One of the first of those dogs is Dusty, an 18-month-old black Lab. After her training is completed, she'll be the first drug-sniffing dog who is as clueless around pot as a 1950s grandmother. Dusty, who was bred at North Bend Retriever Kennel to be a champion birding dog, switched gears after her restless nature proved incompatible with birding.
Her partner, Bremerton Police Officer Dahle "Duke" Roessel, called Dusty's insatiable drive to look for things "perfect for what we need."
And what they don't need is a dog busting people for pot.
"It's problematic because the dogs could alert on a legal amount of marijuana," said Washington State Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins. "And then we're violating someone's privacy."
Also, let's say Dusty scores a truckload of illegal meth alongside a tiny, legal amount of pot -- all of it could get thrown out in court. Calkins says that even a gun used in a murder could be thrown out if the dog found it while going after a joint.
"It will just complicate things so much in doing the search and trying to get a warrant," he said.

Airport canine by Shutterstock.

If the laws change, don't worry. While it's difficult to remove pot sniffing from a dog's repertoire, it's easy to add.
"We can train them on marijuana in a weekend," said Roessel
The practice is becoming widespread among law-enforcement agencies in Washington, including the Seattle Police Department and Washington State Patrol. In December, the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys sent out a memo advising the state's law-enforcement agencies that narcotics dogs are no longer required to be trained to alert for marijuana, according to In January, the drug was removed from the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission's Canine Performance Standards test.
The issue is affecting other states around the country who are grappling with their new marijuana laws, such as Colorado.
"Basically, there is no way to untrain the dogs to not do marijuana," John Schulz, spokesman for the Larimer County Sheriff's Office, told Denver Westword last month. "So it really hamstrings the use of the dogs. What it boils down to is, we can't use the dog sniff any more as a reason for probable cause."


  1. LOL how confusing. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. poor dawgs iz prob ab lee like what de pick sures oh this pup rock by de's gram paw all ways had shepards.... !!! hope ewe N cody haza grate week oh end !!

  3. That's gotta be so hard for these pups but I gotta say I really don't want pot smokers clogging up the judicial system and think drinking is a more serious issue to others welfare than pot.

  4. How confusing! Glad to hear they can be re-trained to sniff out pot so quickly (if need be). :)

  5. Wonder if any dogs will end up having to retire as a result....

  6. I wish they would hurry up and do that in Texas. I got pulled over after a long day of work one year and they actually called a canine to sniff my car. Their dog "alerted" at my car even though nothing was in it. They sure did make her circle my car a lot... I think they made her do it so much that she finally just gave in and alerted. The cops here are VERY bad in my county...

  7. Never heard of this must be hard to teach a negative...

  8. That is interesting. Although I do hope they also find the time to teach dogs to sniff cancers too.