Illinois Police Claim If Marijuana Is Legalized, They Will Have To Kill Their Police Dogs
A training director of a police K-9 academy in Illinois has claimed that if marijuana is legalized, the police force will have to euthanize a number of cannabis-sniffing police dogs.
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Illinois' K-9 force sits at approximately 275 dogs, each trained to sniff out weed and narcotic drugs. Police dogs cost the Illinois police department thousands of dollars and replacing them would be at a huge cost.
Chad Larner, the director of Maron County's K-9 Training Academy, said "retraining" the dogs would be "extreme abuse."
Steve Petrilli, a former K-9 handler, and now the Police Department's Assistant Chief explained to The Pantagraph, "At this point, they're trained on five different odors. Once they're programmed with that, you can't just deprogram them."
Police dogs are usually trained to avoid social interaction in order for them to fulfill their duties accordingly, another reason Illinois police have cited as making it difficult to retrain the dogs.
However, cannabis advocates and enthusiasts aren't convinced by the threat. Dan Linn, Executive Director of the cannabis advocacy group NORML told The Pantagraph, "The idea that legalizing for adults to have an ounce on the, will equal... all these dogs being euthanized, that seems kind of ridiculous and hyperbolic."
Police dogs in other states where marijuana has been legalized have successfully been retrained to ignore the smell of pot against other narcotics. In other cases, dogs have simply been retired from the force and live out the rest of their lives with their handlers.