AP is reporting that marijuana sniffing dogs in Washington State are being retrained to ignore marijuana, now that it’s legal to possess pot in that state.
The fear was that these pooches would be unemployed after decriminalization, on the erroneous theory that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” The same fear of obsolescence runs through human law enforcement as well, again unfounded. Police can fight other crimes. Right now, marijuana, with its tell-tale odor, is the go-to arrestable offense for DC cops, with over 6,000 arrests per year in the District. Police troll in the alleys behind the U Street bars and other hangouts. When they smell weed, it’s curtains.
But decriminalization won’t necessarily put cops out of business. DC has seen spikes in reported sexual assault, snatch-n-grabs, and vehicle break-ins. Instead of wasting time on harmless potheads, police could focus on crimes with real victims.